The proverbial “an apple a day will keep the doctor away” is today more likely “an app any time of day will keep the doctor away.” The latest in remote healthcare innovations can instantly connect a person with not just a doctor but an entire medical team, and all right in the comforts of home. The upsurge in health-monitoring technology is particularly beneficial to older adults as the world’s population over age 60 is expected to reach nearly 1.2 billion people by 2025.
To respond to an increasing demand in caring for these seniors, home-monitoring devices and systems are redefining the landscape of “aging in place,” the decision to continue living in one’s home of choice as independently and safely as possible. AARP reports that nearly 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age. Even with certain health challenges, older adults now have a number of more affordable and user-friendly advancements to help them live in their homes as long as they can.
From data-compiling motion sensors to Bluetooth connectivity, aging home dwellers and clinicians can stay in communication around the clock. Special apps also equip family caregivers with visual check-ins with their loved one or allow adjustment of home controls for their senior from thousands of miles away.
“Often family caregivers do not live close by their aging loved one, so personal at-home care coupled with high-tech remote health monitoring offers continued oversight of the senior and tremendous peace of mind to caregivers.”
There are several blended care solutions for older adults to keep elders safe while living on their own:
- Wearable health devices such as wristbands, biometric shirts, goggles and more measure and collect data on everything from blood pressure to vision.
- Mobile device apps remind older adults to take their medication or can measure on the spot vital signs such as glucose and skin temperature.
- Sensor mattress mat tracks air-pressure fluctuations to monitor a person’s sleep patterns, heart rate and breathing. The thin pad fits under a mattress.
- Telemedicine features in-home movable robotic devices to allow doctors to complete real-time medical appointments or track health conditions.
- Home automation auto-sets smart devices to simplify daily tasks such as opening or securing windows and doors, turning off appliances, adjusting the home’s temperature, and lowering countertops and shelves.
When hands-on care is not always possible for seniors who choose to age in place, assistive health technology may do more than keep the doctor away. In many cases, the “always on” remote care services prove to be life-saving measures.