Home Health Care Technology

New Advances in Home Care Technology for Seniors

As the population ages, older adults want to remain in their homes right up to the end of their lives. In the past, an older adult with health issues would need nursing care. Performing daily living activities and household chores become a more significant challenge as we age and many seniors stop driving after the age of 75, making it even more difficult to run errands like grocery shopping.

These days, seniors have so many choices that it’s hard to know where to begin. New advances in technology for seniors make it easy, convenient and stress-free to enhance their Golden Years.

In this article, we will explore:

Home Care Technology

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What Types of Tasks Can you Complete with a Computer or Smartphone?

First of all, you can look online and find someone to clean the house, mow the grass and attend to almost all everyday chores. Home nursing care is readily available as well. A nurse can stop by daily, weekly or as often as you request. With the explosion of online shopping, you can have practically anything delivered right to your door, including groceries.

Shopping is easier because you can do it while relaxing in your recliner. You can look at hundreds of items within just half an hour.

You can order a car to take you anywhere. You can order shoes from your favorite shoe store. You can order food from your favorite restaurant. You can pay your bills online and manage all your checking and savings accounts online. No more trips to the bank. You can even have shipments picked up at your door, so no more trips to the post office.

It is now possible to live a life complete with all the comforts without ever leaving your home. Of course, regular trips to the doctor’s office are necessary and most senior living professionals believe it’s a good idea to get out of the house and go to church each week or have dinner with friends.

Staying socially involved in life prevents depression and reclusiveness. [1] Even though it is possible to live without having to physically go out into the world each day, staying involved in life is important for our mental health, regardless of age.

Creating Senior Healthcare Technology that Works

Home healthcare technology is growing each year and now offers seniors numerous important features, yet there are still areas that must be addressed. Many companies are now seeking to identify senior healthcare gaps so they can address specific issues. One of the biggest problems with seniors is compliance.[2]

They are not taking medications as prescribed. They are not getting the exercise recommended by their doctors. Also, many seniors are not communicating regularly with clinicians and their family. These are all important factors for seniors wishing to live a long, healthy life.

As you introduce the new advances in home care technology to the seniors in your family, be sure to remind them that these things are meant to be helpful, not intrusive. It’s important that your older family members be able to stay connected to doctors and family members. The day-to-day chores of preparing meals or cleaning the kitchen are tasks that can be replaced with the right technology. For instance, most large cities have services that will bring food from any local restaurant right to your door.

That means it’s not necessary for your aging loved one to go in the kitchen and cook a meal. Though some do enjoy cooking, most will say it’s too much of a bother; they would prefer food delivered from a favorite restaurant.

What is Fueling the Rise in Senior Technology Adoption?

In the past, seniors were slow to adopt new technology. They felt that it was too hard or would require special skills or college courses. Sometimes, learning new things can be stressful for older adults. However, so many seniors now want to age in place.

They are beginning to see that the dream of growing old at home is completely possible if they learn how to use computers and smartphones.

These facts have contributed a great deal to the recent rise in technology adoption rates among older adults. Now that seniors know how useful computers and smartphones are, they have warmed up to the idea of technology for seniors and seem more willing than ever to learn.

They’ve realized that home care technology will allow them to live on their terms, perhaps right up to the end of their life.

As seniors have embraced these technological advances, this field has exploded. It is currently a $30 billion industry. Four out of ten seniors now own smartphones, and that’s more than double the number from 2013.[3] Although technology adoption rates among seniors are still lagging behind those of the overall population, experts believe this will gradually change over the next ten years.

As all seniors begin to realize how important technology is, many local community colleges are offering computer classes specifically for older Americans. These are easy to understand lessons that teach basic computer skills to older adults. The classes are formulated to be simple and avoid complex terms.

Many local churches also offer these same courses, and in most cases, they are free to church members. You can sign up and meet weekly for 4-6 weeks. These classes equip seniors to use their computers and smartphones for everyday needs. You can learn how to install and setup the Uber app, so transportation is always at your fingertips. You can learn how to do your banking online.

Though these may seem like simple tasks to younger people, they can be very daunting to seniors. These classes also provide a way for seniors to get out and meet other people their age.

Seniors and technology have always struggled, but with the ease and convenience of these classes, it is stress-free to master all the basic skills. And, the senior community is responding in a very positive way, causing entrepreneurs to offer even more products and services designed specifically for older adults.

Trends like this are forecast to continue for decades to come, as the average age of Americans increases.

Seniors and Technology: Providing a Social Network

One surprise for many is how quickly seniors were able to master social media. A large majority of seniors now have a Facebook and Twitter account. Many of them also enjoy Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. These are places where people can meet online and share the things they enjoy.

You can stay in touch and meet new people from all over the world. You can voice your opinion on important issues. Even exchange ideas with people from other cultures.

For instance, a senior who enjoys quilting might want to place photos on Pinterest of the various quilts they’ve made. Since most older adults have retired, they now have time to spend on their favorite hobbies such as painting, woodcrafts, sewing or puzzles.

It’s more fun when you can share your creations and hobbies with others. Plus, it’s a great way to stay connected to people who are likeminded.

The prolific nature of social media now makes it easy for seniors to stay in contact with their families, no matter where they live. You can easily check in daily and just say hello or ask how grandma is doing. It’s fast, easy and non-intrusive for both parties.

As older adults have learned how these social media programs work and how many new doors open to them, it is almost exhilarating. It’s like having a new world open up to you, a world where you can explore places, ideas and new inventions without ever leaving home.

Home Health Care for Seniors

With a computer and broadband connection, your grandparents can get local weather, find a good restaurant, buy birthday presents, refill prescriptions, or any number of things. They can also let their doctor know how they’re doing. With the latest at-home medical technology, your doctor or your family can monitor your health, including specifics like heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar. It is now even possible to take physical therapy in the comfort of your own home.[4]

The doctor or hospital will bring all the equipment out to your home and show you how it works. Once you’ve completed all your scheduled physical therapy, the clinic comes out and picks up the equipment. You are never inconvenienced.

Many seniors say that they feel more confident in their skills when they can master these types of advanced medical technology. The average person, including older adults, says they would at least try at-home medical technologies because it saves time and money. Also, if you’ve just injured your hip, leg or arm, it would be painful to get out each week to travel and see a physical therapist. But with in-home physical therapy, you can perform the stretching and routines in the comfort of your own home, and when you feel like it.

In the future, many experts predict that the general population will move more toward using at-home healthcare technology. It just makes sense when you think about it. Imagine waking up with a sore throat, but instead of having to dress and drive to the doctor’s office, you simply connect with the doctor online.

With innovative advancements in monitoring the human body, it is easy for the doctor to check your temperature, pulse rate, and blood pressure. Older adults may, in fact, lead the way for the rest of America in regards to at-home healthcare treatment options.

This has already occurred in the realm of shopping. Many people now buy everything online and have it shipped right to their door. Amazon has been the frontrunner in this area, but others are finally catching up. In the future, we may not need shopping malls, grocery stores, and doctor’s offices. We may be able to do everything important online, including taking care of our health.

Aging in Place Technology for Seniors

With aging in place technology, families can keep track of their elderly loved ones better. You can discreetly monitor where loved ones are and even get email notifications if something seems out of the ordinary. There are smartwatches that provide all types of information and can relay that to a doctor or family member.

There are devices to remind older adults when it’s time to take their pills or make appointments to see the doctor.

Best Buy has recently introduced an innovative smart home service called “Assured Living.”[5] This service makes it easy to check on your aging loved one. The service is installed by Best Buy’s Geek Squad and is fully customizable. It allows users to choose which services they want, ranging from monitoring the senior’s vital signs to monitoring sleep patterns.

You can even set up the service to turn lights off and on, change the temperature and lock all the doors using voice automation. This gives family members genuine peace of mind knowing that they can monitor and control some of the daily activities of their aging loved ones, even if they live in another city.

With devices like Alexa, Siri and Amazon Echo, seniors don’t even need to know how to type these days. This is very helpful to those with arthritis in their hands. These voice-activated devices are being used by millions of Americans now, and they have become even more efficient with each passing year.[6]

New companies open their doors each year that specializes in gadgets and devices to enable seniors to stay in their homes right up to the end of their lives. One day, nursing homes may well be obsolete.

How Baby Boomers have Changed the World of Technology for Seniors

Many experts believe that Baby Boomers are largely responsible for the fast adoption of smartphones and computers. Baby Boomers are the group of people born roughly between 1942 and 1964. This generation has traditionally set itself apart from previous generations with their out-of-the-box thinking and lifestyles.

Many who grew up in that period believed in love and peace. They spoke passionately about taking better care of the environment.

The Baby Boomers have never fit into the molds that society sets for each generation. They were always free thinkers and peace lovers. These facts may be strongly connected with why this generation have been more willing and accepting of technological advancements.

Baby Boomers had a tremendous economic impact in America and across the world. They have been the instigators of social change. They have had an impact on everything from music and food to space exploration. And today, they are changing the world for senior in-home care technology.

The Future of Seniors and Technology

According to the American Medical Student Association, the Baby Boomer population will increase by 73 percent over the next decade.[7] One in five Americans will be classified as a “senior.” This makes the drive to create new in-home care advancements even more crucial.

This type of technology is perfect for someone who is disabled and finds it difficult or even painful to get dressed and go out. There’s a definite saving in time and money. But there are many other considerations.

One man in New York whose 89-year-old father lived in Memphis was worried that his father wasn’t eating enough. The GrandCareSystem[8] tracks daily activities, from exercise to weight gains. It allows the family members to interact with their loved ones as well.

Together, you and your older family member can listen to music, read the news, chat or look at family photos. It’s almost like being there.

Reminder Rosie[9] is a voice-activated clock that reminds you to take your medications. It is very easy to use and requires almost no tech skills. You can set it to remind your loved one to take a walk. You can also pre-record messages, such as, “Mom, we love you and miss you!” This technology for seniors brings a new level of comfort to older adults.

MedMinder[10] is one of the many apps and software programs that reminds your elder loved one to take their medication at certain times each day. Some people have to take 20 or more pills per day. Even for a younger person, it can be hard to remember this many pills and the schedule for taking them.

Some of these apps require a bit more time to set up and program than others. But, with a little research, you can find the one that will work best in your situation.

Smartphone apps are very cheap and easy to download today. Many of them are free.

You can search for apps that will measure blood sugar, blood pressure or track food intake and exercise. There are so many of these apps now available that you shouldn’t have any problem finding something that is agreeable to both you and your elder loved one.

Assisted living facilities

Assisted Living facilities are a bit different than regular senior housing or retirement communities. In an assisted living facility, many nursing services are provided. These places are a good choice for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, cerebral palsy or some other medical condition that requires regular monitoring.

Many of these facilities provide home health care in addition to meals, transportation, and home maintenance. For those seniors who simply aren’t able to prepare meals or clean the house anymore, this is an excellent choice. Your loved one will have all the help they need to stay independent for as long as possible.

Many websites now offer comparisons of all the local assisted care facilities. They give you a full work-up of information including the types of services offered and the cost. You can often view a three-dimensional layout of the facility. Some have apartment layouts and sizes.

You can hand pick the facility that seems to most closely offer all the services that your elderly family member wants and needs.

In some cases, it’s a good idea to allow the aging family member to help choose the facility. In other cases, the family member might prefer if someone else did all the leg work and made the final decisions. Be sure to discuss this with your elderly loved one. Let them know that you’re working in their best interests.

They can be as involved as they want to be. Your goal is their safety, comfort, and happiness.

Tips for success

As with any new technology, seniors need the right perspective to accept it and begin integrating it into their lives. Instead of telling your grandparents that they need to learn to use a computer to stay in touch, present your argument in a different light. Talk about how technology for seniors has advanced.

Discuss the various types of home care technology. Be sure to stress that these new gadgets and devices will enable them to age in place. As they learn about these new gadgets and how they work, they will enjoy better health and more freedom.

Seniors and technology DO mix! The new smartwatches, smartphone apps, and in-home gadgets can make life so much easier for an older adult. When speaking about these matters to your loved ones, let them know that you would worry less about them.

Peace of mind is important for everyone. These new healthcare advances make it so easy for the doctor and the family to stay in touch and up to date with how the older adult is doing on a regular basis. It’s effortless, and it makes the entire family feel better. And, it’s the best way for an adult to remain independent.

Conclusion

Many of today’s senior communities have spacious apartments and loads of amenities. These include a state-of-the-art gym, a media room with comfy recliners and widescreen viewing, and recreational activities for both indoors and outdoors.

There are weekly bingo games, lunches and always a celebration of any holiday. These new senior living facilities are clean and well-maintained. There’s ample security so the residents can feel safe at all times.

Also, there are many opportunities to drink coffee with a neighbor or relax in the dining room and read the paper. With all the new medical technology for seniors, families can enjoy greater peace of mind.

Whether you feel the need to monitor your mom for falling events, or just check to make sure she’s eaten today, there’s software and hardware technology specifically made for that.

With all these gadgets and devices, there’s no reason not to allow your older adults to age in place. It’s safe and much less stressful for them. Almost 90 percent of all seniors say they feel more relaxed, comfortable and happy in their own home.[11] Also, it’s much less expensive for families.

Nursing home charges range from $100 per day in Texas to $275 a day in New Hampshire. That’s an average of $3,000 to $8,000 per month.[12] Many families simply don’t have the money for the best nursing home care.

In contrast, the average senior living facility offers lovely one-bedroom apartments ranging in price from $900 to $2,000 per month. With the more expensive complexes, you get additional amenities such as three meals each day.

Senior living facilities are springing up all over the place. In larger cities, there are usually numerous senior apartment complexes located across the city. Families can often find one near them if they want to be closer to their parents or grandparents.

These places are fairly priced and offer a long list of conveniences. But there is often a waiting list. In fact, in some of the more popular areas, you may have to wait two years to get an apartment, so it’s best to begin your search right away.

For many seniors, remaining independent is a big deal. They view this as an important personal choice and are fiercely opinionated about how and where they will live. In fact, older adults can often seem contrary, but sometimes this is simple fear. As people age, they become afraid of losing their independence.

They worry that family members will forget that they are real human beings with rights, desires, and needs.

Just like any other group in America, older adults don’t want to be treated differently. They don’t want to feel invisible. They have a strong desire to continue to make a difference even in their 70’s or 80’s. Many older adults volunteer at local hospitals and pet shelters.

As long as someone is healthy enough to continue their normal day-to-day activities, they should be allowed to do so.

Most doctors agree that remaining a valuable part of the community is important for older adults. It helps them stay healthy both mentally and physically. There’s less depression and social anxiety when older adults can continue to live their lives on their terms. And, with today’s new advances in home care technology for seniors, there’s no reason why they can’t do this.

Sources

[1] https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/major-depression/staying-socially-active-with-depression/
[2] https://homehealthcarenews.com/2017/10/amid-growth-efforts-griswold-looks-to-tech-to-solve-care-gaps/
[3] http://www.pewinternet.org/2017/05/17/technology-use-among-seniors/
[4] https://myptsolutions.com/home-health-therapist/
[5] http://www.startribune.com/best-buy-introduces-service-aimed-at-caretakers-needs/433697203/
[6] https://www.ageinplacetech.com/
[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Medical_Student_Association
[8] https://www.aarp.org/home-family/personal-technology/info-2014/is-this-the-end-of-the-nursing-home.html
[9] http://www.reminder-rosie.com/
[10] https://www.medminder.com/
[11] https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/info-2014/livable-communities-facts-and-figures.html
[12] https://health.usnews.com/health-news/best-nursing-homes/articles/2013/02/26/how-to-pay-for-nursing-home-costs