The internet. Ipads. Flat-screen televisions. Electric vehicles.
Technology has improved so much that everywhere we look, there are signs that the world is a very, very different place than it was just 30 or 40 years ago. Advancements in the treatment of chronic illnesses have also made it so that life can be lived longer, and it also means that people can have more of the meaningful, fulfilling experiences they desire to have as they get older.
It’s clear that technology for aging populations will continue to be a part of all of our lives. We’re seeing it already with companies like Uber and Lyft using their ridesharing platforms to provide seniors with easier, more accessible transportation.
And, companies like Samsung and Google have released smartphones with large, easy-to-read screens seniors love. These devices are helping aging people stay connected with their loved ones, keeping their social lives vibrant and their involvement with family consistent and reliable.
But, did you know that there are even more ways that modern technology is empowering the aging population? Below are three amazing examples of how the ‘smart’ products of today are helping to make seniors’ lives better in many ways.
#1: Discrete, Real-Time Monitoring
What if a single system could monitor the activity of a retirement home resident, down to their location, the amount of time that has passed since their last trip to the bathroom, and many other metrics? Thanks to the Elsi Smart Floor, all of this is possible.
It works like this: a network of pressure-sensitive floor tiles are installed into the living area of the senior. These floor tiles sense the activity of the senior, and if there is ever a fall, the abrupt change in pressure on the floor tiles signals an alarm. This alarm can be sent directly to the medical staff on-hand so that prompt medical aid can be delivered quickly if needed.
Smart Floors are often integrated with other technologies to provide caregivers with a much clearer picture of exactly where their patients are and how they’re doing.
Even though these smart floors are mostly installed into places like hospices and retirement homes, they are available for individual residences.
#2: Smart Locks
One of the most common frustrations for many seniors is remembering where they put their keys. And, for those with arthritis or other inflammatory diseases, actually operating a deadbolt or other door lock can be a trying process. That’s why smart locks are becoming so popular for seniors.
These modern feats of engineering work just like traditional door locks, but they use a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone in order to operate. So, instead of needing a physical key to open a door, a tap on a phone screen is all that is required to lock or unlock any door.
Igloo Home, one of the up-and-coming manufacturers of smart locks, is poised to be a go-to resource for seniors as they explore the idea of nixing their keys and using their smartphones as a way to get in and out of their homes, instead.
#3: Voice Activation and Artificial Intelligence
Have you heard someone use the phrase “Hey, Siri”, recently? If so, you already know the basics of how voice activation and artificial intelligence work.
Voice-activated computers aren’t necessarily new. The earliest example of voice recognition technology dates back to at least the 1950’s. But, today, using your voice to control your environment is becoming more and more plausible for seniors in specific.
Why? Well, anything that reduces the amount of physical activity required to get something done is going to benefit the life of someone living in a retirement home or in hospice. So, if the temperature of a room could be changed by simply saying, “Turn on the heat”, instead of requiring a trip to the thermostat to make an adjustment, the benefit is huge for the senior.
Voice recognition and artificial intelligence can also be used to operate household appliances and even to order groceries when supplies are low.
When you add up the many benefits that are afforded to seniors by the above-listed technologies, the future looks pretty good! As we all age, it will be interesting to see what other technological developments will make our lives easier.
Although technological advancements will continue to help the aging population, we believe there is no substitute for an actual human helping hand. Our volunteer programs help connect seniors with the assistance they need.
What technologies would you like to see come to fruition? Comment and let us know!
Blogs are written by ARDC staff members