A New Era of Smarter Home Care
While the advances in science and technology have been the catalysts of the current global population aging crisis, these are the very same solutions we will have to consider finding a path forward. Carefully considered technology, developed specifically for older adults, with a human orientation will increasingly be the beacon to which we turn.
Many challenges need to be the bulwarks when developing any technology for older adults—fiercely guarding privacy and not replacing human touch and connection with impersonal tools, but rather enabling those caring for older adults to extend and perfect their services through technological tools.
Despite this, the use of technology for older adults and those who care for them has been on the rise. Home care agencies have begun to integrate simple management software to help run their back end, train their staff, and manage certifications. Companies have started developing phones and tablets adapted to the needs and abilities of older adults, and panic buttons or wearables for fall detection have circled the market for a while. However, perhaps the true watershed moment that announced with a boom and a bang that there is no way forward in this conundrum without technology was the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today’s age-tech industry presents diverse, innovative solutions that enable older adults to confidently age in place and enjoy the comfort and independence that comes with precise and timely support. Entering the third stage of life no longer has to mean choosing between safety and independence.
The time is ripe for revolutionizing care and improving the quality of life of older adults. This change will occur within the framework of aging at home enabled by quality in-home health care and nonmedical care. Companies are continuing to push the boundaries of what is possible to achieve in senior care. From early detection medical and clinical artificial intelligence-based software, fall detection systems that are working toward removing the necessity of wearable life-saving devices, robots that help with companionship and medication reminders, and even virtual reality glasses that allow families to understand the experience of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, it seems as if the sky is no longer the limit.
Older adults are also being recognized as an important marketing sector for technology. By 2030, the consumer class is expected to increase from 3.9 billion to 5.6 billion, with nearly similar contributions from each age group. Older adults, however, will be the only group of this class whose contribution will increase significantly faster from 459 million to 760 million, reflecting a 66% increase. Companies are waking up to this reality and beginning to design their products with older adults in mind, at times even including them in the process of research and development.
Today, we are using artificial intelligence to create a layer of virtual care at home using algorithms to analyze audio data that are sensitive enough to detect a urinary tract infection, determine when falls are most likely, or inform protective measures at the onset of dementia. Technology is a vital partner to home care agencies grappling with staffing shortages, providing a window into the home environment during and after care hours, predicting factors in rehospitalizations and injuries so that adequate steps may be taken well in advance. Human caregivers will not be replaced by technology, but rather supported and enhanced by sophisticated, real-time data and technological tools that will make home care agencies smarter, more proactive, and better able to navigate risk while optimizing the aging-in-place experience .
While it is easy to see the aging of the global population as an insurmountable challenge, this is also an opportunity for visionaries and entrepreneurs to change the world. This trend can be harnessed to create revolutionary technologies that will not only make bearing the brunt of the aging population feasible but will actually lead to economic growth and flourishing and help people age better and lead longer happier lives.
Written by Romi Gubes, Co-Founder and CEO of Sensi.Ai