New Developments in Digital Health for Seniors - by Regina Woodard

Could This Be the Year of Digital Health (for seniors!)

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Regina Woodard

Summary: Regina attended the 46th annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to report on the wonderful new developments in digital technology to help seniors, assisted living residents, and just about everyone else!

Author: exclusively for Assisted Living Directory

Regina is a contributor for Assisted Living Directory

This year kicked off a year of surprises. First, the world didnt end before Christmas 2012, which meant many of us needed to rethink the decisions and plans we had made in case the clock actually ran out. Secondly, the 46th annual Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, was once again held in Las Vegas. The show itself is a consumer's (read: techie geek) dream, housing all of the new and improved gadgets from the big players, such as Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, Google, and more.

This year's show seemed to showcase a wide variety of different ways in which we can use technology to our advantage, not just being able to keep in contact, but perhaps being able to diagnose symptoms and keep track our health.

Great gadgets and apps for seniors from CES

For seniors, assisted living residents, and baby boomers, technology may hold the key in ensuring quick responses and quick connections.

CES had two hundred and ten booths that were devoted to digital health this year, a booming business that has attracted those in health technology. Among devices to help monitor our health and fitness, some very promising booths were there to show new technology to help those who are elderly. Chronic illnesses such as heart failure, diabetes, and Parkinson's had a variety of different apps in which seniors can take readings of their vitals at home and then transmit them to their doctors, thanks to the cloud. This helps to pinpoint any issues that may have been missed by an office visit.

Other companies had connected systems, those that help to monitor a senior's health, while also being able to alert their doctor or emergency services should something happen, like a fall. Using the established technologies of Wi-Fi, GPS, and cell tower triangulation, these systems help to pinpoint an exact location, helping both the system and emergency services find someone in the case of unconsciousness due to a fall or other issue. One company even offered a telephone system in which could be corded, cordless, as well as a cell phone like pendant for mobility.

Several companies have geared their tech to notify caregivers or family members if the normal daily routine of their loved has changed. Not in the sense that taking time to see a movie instead of going for a walk type of routine, but something out of the ordinary. These types of devices use sensors either from a health sensor or even a built in home system that can alert a caregiver or family member that perhaps mom or dad hasnt turned on a light or hasnt opened the fridge. This could be reason to check on them, to make sure that a fall hasnt occurred or something else.

Sensors are being used as reminders as well, such as to remind an individual to take a daily pill. These gadgets can use beeps, blinks, and even text messaging reminders for someone to make sure they take a pill and will notify their doctor or caregiver when a daily dose has been skipped and forgotten. For those with memory loss or dementia, if they had already taken their pill, the device wont allow them to take another, thus preventing any accidental overdosing.

Remote health management services are increasingly appealing to doctors, hospitals, independent and assisted livings, and other health facilities because it helps to cut costs in regards to catching illnesses earlier and stopping costly trips to the emergency room. The big word in technology today is that of big data and these programs help in gathering general information that can be used to tweak and otherwise improve current systems to be better and more responsive.

CES has always been known as the premiere event for the introduction of technology to the masses and in their several years, many things have been hit and miss. The emergence of more and more health directed devices, apps, and technology seems to have made a splash this year, combining with more awareness of other illnesses and health issues, such as diabetes and obesity.

The only issue with these new devices that are aimed at helping the elderly is whether the elderly will take to them. While more and more of the baby boomer generation and older are taken with social networking and mobile technology, the Internet is still pretty much a young generation game; many seniors either dont feel the need to discover this new digital world or they might be afraid to jump into something so vast and wide spreading. While CES showed many of the advances for digital health, those devices and gadgets that are aimed at seniors and the elderly wont mean anything unless you have people willing to utilize the tech.

2013 is just the continuation of the growth and imagination of merging technology and health, with many advances helping to prolong and even save lives; the learning curve may be slight, but the benefits can sometimes outweigh the negatives.

Copyright © 2012 by

- Article by Regina Woodard exclusively for Assisted Living Directory


Responses to this article:

Theodore Wrote:

It's both scary, and exciting to think what's coming down the pipe next for digital health, technology and gadgets. It always humbles me to be reminded how smart some people and companies are. Sometimes it's all I can do to set my alarm in the morning!

25 August 2014 at 11:24 am

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