Posted on Dec 29, 2023, 3 p.m.
As a whole, we face the challenges of an aging population, and this global demographic shift has multiple implications for our society and economy as older adults are more likely to develop chronic conditions and require frequent medical attention. However, we also live in a world that is changing as advances in digital technology are transforming society from what it was even 10 years ago, let alone what our grandparents grew up in. Older adults are now adopting digital technology at rates that are comparable to their younger counterparts in the form of AgeTech.
More older adults are choosing to age in place, which means that rather than moving to an adult community, nursing home, retirement community, or assisted living, they prefer to stay in their homes to remain as independent as they can for as long as they can. Technology and smart home products are being developed to help older adults with everything from staying active to managing medications which is also reducing the burden placed on caregivers and healthcare providers.
While some technologies are already helping in this area there is room for improvement. Many technology products are not designed to fully accommodate the needs/wants of older adults, but AgeTech is advancing rapidly to meet those needs and help tackle the challenges of aging to extend human capabilities.
While AgeTech is now the most common name, it has also been called ElderTech, GeroTech, GeriTech, SilverTech, AgingTech, and Gerontechnology, among others. AgeTech is a subsector of healthcare that is built around the needs and wants of older adults, and basically, it could be any type of technology that improves the lives of aging adults. AgeTech has a strong potential to transform the aging experience to help take better care of our aging loved ones.
For example, caregivers perform a lot of manual tasks, if more automated solutions were developed that would provide older adults more ability to age in place safely and comfortably with dignity and independence while allowing caregivers and healthcare providers to have more time to do other things like provide social support and companionship.
AgeTech could also be a wearable device that tracks movement, heart rate, medication adherence, and other vital signs, as well as falls and other health issues to send alerts to family members, physicians, and caregivers in case of emergency or changes of behavior/health status. Telemedicine services could also be considered an example of AgeTech.
AgeTech is not just limited to healthcare, assistance, and support, it can also help to improve housing, transportation, shopping, and entertainment as well as other features of daily life. This technology can also help to enable lifelong learning and training to keep the mind sharp and cognitive abilities fluid. This can also support older adults who may not want or afford retirement.
Older adults living in remote or rural areas face additional challenges, such as not having access to the same levels of care as those living in urban areas which could affect their health outcomes. AgeTech could present an innovative solution to this challenge with remote monitoring, telehealth services, sensors, and other technologies to provide better care for this extra-vulnerable population, enabling them to receive medical attention and support without the need for frequent hospital/clinic visits.
AgeTech assistive technologies such as smart homes equipped with sensors and other voice-activated technologies could help older people, those with mobility issues, and those with cognitive impairments carry out daily tasks more easily and safely. Robotic devices are also being developed to help assist with tasks like lifting, mobility, and reducing the risk of falls and injury.
Mental health is also an area that AgeTech can play a role in by helping to improve/maintain social connections and reducing feelings of loneliness among the aging population. Older people can stay connected with friends and family or participate in social activities with the help of video conferencing, which is especially important to those living in remote or rural areas and those who are physically unable to leave their homes.
AgeTech is making the move to the forefront of developing innovative solutions that may transform the way healthcare is delivered to the aging population and enable older people to remain independent for longer; helping them to live healthier lives, enabling them to stay socially connected for longer, and helping them to manage their healthcare needs more effectively. As the global demographic changes and the population continues to age, the importance of AgeTech providing high-quality and accessible healthcare will continue to increase.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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