Senior Care in the Computer Age: On the Efficacy of Assistive Technology
The senior boom has inspired a rush of senior care innovation. Back in 2000, the percentage of older people worldwide was only around 10%. But by 2040, seniors are expected to account for 21% of the population, meaning that 1 in 5 people will be 65 or older (Khosravi & Ghapanchi, 2016, p. 17).
With a growing number of seniors in need of flexible, cost-effective care, new assistive technology is being developed at an incredible rate.
Today’s post looks at research by the International Journal of Medical Informatics to assess the state of assistive technologies, and explain how ABC Clinton Township makes it easier to buy and implement “senior care tech” in 2018.
Senior Care in the Computer Age
At their best, assistive technologies help seniors live independently for longer and reduce the cost of care.
Research and development on assistive technologies began in the 1990s. These early remote health monitoring and sensor technologies had a notable impact on senior care and safety by reducing their risk of falls and acting as “watchdogs” that would alert senior care takers, friends, and family of emergencies.
Modern assistive technologies have come a long way. Today, researchers are focusing on expanding technology’s role in treating various problems affecting seniors, such as dementia, social isolation, and chronic disease. Robotics, sensors, computer software, and the internet have all been adopted as senior care tools in 2018.
In particular, telemedicine has generated a lot of attention. Sometimes referred to as “telehealth,” this technology involves remote diagnosis and treatment via telecommunications like Skype, FaceTime, and other video chat apps.
Bruce Retterath, a licensed psychologist serving as clinical director at Michigan’s Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, says telemedicine is especially helpful for three types of seniors:
- seniors requiring behavioral health and psychiatric treatment;
- seniors requiring post-acute follow-up care;
- and seniors receiving chronic condition management.
Telemedicine not only makes it easier for patients and their senior care providers to keep in contact with clinicians (which in itself has been shown in various studies to positively impact recidivism rates); it also allows seniors to fit appointments in anytime, anywhere, without having to endure the commute.
Implementing Assistive Technology With Senior Care Services
Despite research by the International Journal of Medical Informatics highlighting the great potential that assistive technologies have to support seniors in their daily life, barriers to adoption persist. Some seniors cannot afford assistive technologies, while others are unskilled in the use of certain devices.
But your senior care provider can help!
For example, senior care workers can help elderly users get more comfortable with software and devices that they might otherwise find confusing or intimidating. Having a senior care worker sit in on a telemedicine conference not only helps overcome any technological obstacles, but also adds a second set of eyes and ears to take down notes, setup medication schedules, and otherwise assist with treatment adherence.
Not sure you can afford your new senior care gadget? Always Best Care Clinton Township can also help you determine whether assistive technologies are covered by your medical insurance. Moreover, we will work with your family to develop a care plan that makes the most of your senior care tech.
Learn More about Senior Care and Assistive Technology in Macomb County, Michigan
Khosravi, P., &Ghapanchi, A. H. (2016). Investigating the effectiveness of technologies applied to assist seniors: A systematic literature review. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 85(1), 17-26.