Technology has finally concentrated on the elderly – Thank God! As a caregiver to both parents for over 20 years – manually checking blood pressure, lungs, heart rate, respiration, and blood sugars was exhausting for my parents and myself. Congestive Heart Failure is a monitoring nightmare for the caregiver. Observing changes in walking and balance along with the fear of hearing the dreaded fall was an exercise in anxiety. There were few technological devices to help or affordable.
According to Tim Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Technologies “Our generation is about to be overwhelmed with caregiving tasks for the elderly, and we need some help. The role technology will play in health monitoring and self-treatment is already in great demand for eldercare and to anyone that needs to keep track of their health.” Continuing he states, “It will be one of the more important growth markets in tech in the next 20 years. Big companies are paying attention to the human side of technology, And it makes sense.” And about time!
Experience is the mother of technological inventions as most of the following products were the result of the sudden shift of technologists into the role of caregiver. Procter & Gamble developed a razor designed for a caregiver to shave an elderly person (extremely dangerous if the person is on a blood thinner). Apple Watch and iPhone products keep adding new capabilities for detecting health problems, such as atrial fibrillation (via ECG), a life-threatening and common condition caused by an irregular heart rate. Samsung has its Ballie rolling robot, which can detect a fall in a home and ask the person if it should call 911. MedWand, a handheld medical testing device was created after the technologist’s parent suffered a stroke. MedWand is a small connected device with a camera. It can perform 10 different tests, including heart rate, temperature, and electrocardiogram (ECG). It is targeted for people at home, in hospices, and eldercare facilities and enables them to share exam results remotely with their doctors in real time. LiveFreely created Buddy, a software-based system wearable to help detect falls and notify caregivers or 911 in an emergency. CarePredict has a wearable that tracks things like sleeping, walking, and vitals. Software extraordinaire Chris Stakutis developed “My Life” following the death of his father. My Life extends Alexa capability to help users stay easily connected to loved ones, caregivers and the outside world. My Life has the ability to monitor the elerly’s conditions which allows caregivers and loved ones to recognize potential health problems early and address any mental and emotional concerns such as depression and isolation.
Technology, once confusing to the elder society, is making life less stressful for the elders and their caregivers – Who knew the emotional and physical effect it obliges.