The latest improvements in medical technology are helping to extend the human lifespan longer than ever before. These advances have also made great strides towards improving the quality of life of the elderly by streamlining caregiving services and by creating more effective treatments. Below you’ll learn about some of the most innovative ways that technology is making family caregiving for elderly loved ones easier with the help of assistive living technologies, fall detection services, and optimized medication delivery systems. With a little help from technology for older adults, today it’s possible to help ensure your loved ones will be able to live more independent and comfortable lives throughout their golden years.
Automatic Fall Detection Technology
One in three adults in the 65-or-older age group will suffer from a fall every year. These simple falls can become a full-blown medical crisis if nobody is around to help — particularly when combined with a heart attack or stroke. That’s why personal emergency response systems were invented, allowing the elderly to access emergency help with the press of a single button.
In the not-so-distant past, an older adult who fell may have had to rely on being able to reach their phone, or have a Medical Alert system in place to save them. These days, modern technology can make use of personal accelerometers and gyroscopes to automatically analyze and detect falls in real time. As almost every home in America is becoming increasingly wired, opportunities for cheap and highly futuristic remote senior monitoring continue to grow, enabling family caregivers to push the boundaries of access to more immediate health care.
Assistive Living Technologies
According to the AARP, slightly more than one-third of adults over the age of 65 have an impairment that limits some of their most basic activities. Assistive living technologies are designed to help compensate and mitigate these impairments while also being proactive about detecting and reporting potential hazards. They can be as simple as a cell phone made with large buttons, or as advanced as an electronically controlled “smart home” that can be made almost fully automated with the use of motion sensors. There are currently nearly 20,000 products available on the market for assistive living devices, many of which are billion dollar industries, and new assistive living technologies are being developed every year.
You’re likely to have heard of some of the most exciting recent developments, including cochlear implants, which can restore more than a decade’s worth of lost hearing. Others include smart wheelchairs that integrate GPS tracking to help provide disabled-access paths to riders as they navigate through the world, posture optimization devices that can ensure healthy and comfortable seating, and smart HVAC systems to help ensure your loved ones can remain comfortable at all times. In short, assistive living technologies are giving family caregivers all the tools they need to help provide more productive, healthy, independent lives for their loved ones and make the family caregiving process just a little easier.
Maintaining a rigorous medication timetable can be a challenging enough task on its own, but for anyone with a chronic illness or complicated regimen, adherence can often be difficult enough to warrant round-the-clock care. To make the problem worse, there are nearly 2 billion prescription medications dispensed every year in the United States alone, and almost half of them are estimated to be taken incorrectly.
To solve this problem, countless new medical optimization technologies have been developed over the past decade. These gadgets can be as simple as a weekly pill box, or advanced as a digital medical distribution system. Yet, what they call have in common is that these devices can help loved ones follow the instructions of their doctors and family caregivers.
Some of the most advanced digital pill organizers can help loved ones learn more about the drugs they’re taking, as well as provide audio and visual cues as reminders to take medications. These can be automatically dispensed on a regular interval and even ingestion and metabolism of those drugs can be monitored. This allows family caregivers to reliably and consistently report everything about their medication routine to their loved one’s physician.
A Bright Future
Along with the ever-increasing rise in life expectancy, we’ve seen drastic improvements to family caregiving technology for the elderly. Although old age can still take its toll, advances in elder care technology are making it easier than ever before for family caregivers and their loved ones to enjoy independent and comfortable lives.
Do you or a loved one have an assistive device that’s made a positive impact on your life or family caregiving experience? Please let us know about it in the comments and offer some recommendations to help others like you and your family!