Technology makes it simpler and safer to age in place, from applications changing your surroundings to telemedicine networks.
Americans live longer lives, and most of them would prefer to remain in their own homes and communities. However, there are difficulties and expenses connected with sustaining such independence. Healthcare technology allows more individuals to age in place, from applications to gadgets, medication reminders, and wearables.
Every day, about 11,000 people in the U.S. reach the age of 65. According to the Census Bureau, the yearly number will almost double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060.
If feasible, per AARP research, 9 out of 10 elderly people would wish to remain in the comfort of their places rather than go to a nursing facility or assisted living center.
According to a 2015 National Council on Aging research, the main motives individuals desire to age in place include:
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The CDC has a particular definition for aging in place. CDC’s definition is “the option to remain in one’s own home and neighborhood securely, autonomously, and pleasantly, irrespective of age, wealth, or ability level.”
Lin and her husband decided to stay in their huge Tampa, Florida, house for 40 years after her husband had a minor stroke.
“As well as preserving and expanding our current social networks, aging in place gives us the freedom to keep our pets, host friends with us, entertain our grandchildren, and continue to do the things we enjoy, rather than moving to a facility and being isolated and lonely. “
The psychological repercussions of abandoning one’s home or community might have significant health consequences.
Per the research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, those in their mid-fifties are at greater risk of death due to social isolation and loneliness. Loneliness has been linked to high blood pressure, an increase in the likelihood of cardiovascular issues, and a higher chance of death.
Aging in place isn’t always possible, as it depends on the physical and mental health of the individual, as well as their treatment needs and other factors.
Still, “multitudes of elderly individuals have been streaming into nursing facilities needlessly when they should indeed remain in their own house or apartment,” writes James J. Callahan, Jr., writer of Aging in Place.
Growing older in place is much safer now than it was even a generation ago, thanks to a variety of technology. Apps that assess your home environment and propose changes to make things safer, voice-enabled gadgets that give quick accessibility and services, and telemedicine that allows at-home patients to communicate with healthcare practitioners.
“All businesses and entrepreneurs must realize the increasing economic potential and power of the market and help generate creative solutions to enable us to live better lives as we grow older,” stated AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins.
The following are just a few instances of how technology may make aging at home more comfortable and secure.
When Bob, a 58-year-old Atlanta man, slipped fell off a ladder and shattered his femur and wrist, his doctor gave him two options:
“I’d never considered being unable to walk up to my front patio steps or some stairs in my home,” Bob explains. “This was a huge wake-up call that I wanted to make changes to live at home and grow old.”
What adaptations are required and are determined by the senior’s living environment and physical demands? “Many of my patients add a bedroom and bath on the first floor, while others make use of the downstairs kids’ playroom or garage for a bedroom,” explains Harris McIlwain, MD, who served as medical director of John Knox Village, a long-term assisted living and rehabilitation facility in Florida.
“I advise them to include safety mechanisms like bars and a shower chair to avoid falls, which happen more common as people age and contribute to independence loss,” Dr. McIlwain adds.
Medication adherence is a crucial challenge among elderly individuals. Per a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, almost half of all patients do not take their prescriptions as recommended.
Seniors frequently take many prescription medicines, which necessitates keeping track of doses and when certain prescriptions should be taken. It might get difficult for them to read labels and differentiate between medications if they have vision loss.
Some gadgets utilize speech recognition, real-time alarms, and video calls to remind patients when it’s time to take their prescriptions, ensuring that it’s taken on time and at the correct amount. So these gadgets can store and distribute up to four weeks’ worth of medicines and notify the patient when it’s time for a refill. These gadgets also enable family members and professional caregivers to remotely monitor and control someone’s health.
In the case of an accident, such as a fall, or a sudden medical issue, immediate medical attention is vital. In addition, a health alert system can be pretty helpful for the elderly who live at home.
For example, some watches give users the option of selecting between a professional protection plan or a friends and family plan. In the case of an emergency, the watch may alert loved ones or caregivers by smartphone or a 24-hour monitoring center, which can subsequently contact the EMS, police, or fire department if necessary. These watches also employ motion tracking sensors to determine whether or not the user has fallen.
Arranging to visit a doctor in the clinic can be extremely difficult for elderly patients and seniors for several reasons, such as limited mobility and transportation problems. This is where telemedicine (virtual meetings with healthcare providers) may help:
For example, on platforms that help virtual at-home medical appointments, patients receive answers from doctors and prescriptions for drugs, from simple problems to chronic diseases.
The MedWand was one of the most popular health-tech items at this year’s CES. The gadget, which is expected to be released later this year, combines numerous diagnostic instruments, such as an ECG and a pulse oximeter. The patient’s information can then be transmitted to a doctor.
New FDA-cleared technology from Omron Healthcare, Complete, offers blood pressure and EKG monitoring in one device. In addition, this device can transmit data to a doctor using an app.
Per the CDC, falls are the top cause of injury-related mortality among individuals 65 and older. By detecting and tracking bodily balance, the Zibrio SmartScale assists in determining an individual’s risk of falling. The gadget was chosen among technological entrepreneurs at the Consumer Technology Association Foundation Pitch event, which AARP Innovation Labs sponsored at CES.
Per the NHATS (National Health and Aging Trends Study), over 50% of the elderly have unpleasant pain, and %75 experience pain in more than one area of the body.
While there are several successful pain drugs, chronic pain patients can also benefit from technologies such as Sana Health, a wearable that relieves pain using pulsed light and sound.
Aging in place necessitates preparing for your immediate needs while acknowledging that they may change over time. Share any health issues or concerns you have with your doctor, and any assistive equipment and home adjustments would be beneficial.
“I advise my 50-plus patients to plan ahead for what they might require as they age in place,” McIlwain adds. It is also critical to start looking into the best Medicare plan for your needs.
Prescription reminders help seniors remember to take their medications at the appropriate time of day. Handling medicine, ensuring that the medicine is in good condition, making meals, hygiene, and companionship services are just some of the advantages of Home Assist.
Our highly experienced and certified caregivers can provide tailored care plans, protection, and peace of mind for your loved one. You’ll always have someone on your side with Health & Treatment Professional Network to ensure you’re getting the best treatment possible.
Call us at (702) 871-9917 for more information or schedule in-home services. You may also learn more about other Home Assist services.
If you have any more advice for helping seniors and the elderly remember their medication and prescriptions, please leave them in the comments below.