Could This Be the Year of Digital Health (for seniors!)
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
Woodard exclusively for Assisted Living Directory
Regina is a contributor for
Assisted Living Directory
This year kicked off a year of surprises. First,
the world didn’t 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,
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.
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,
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 hasn’t turned on a light or hasn’t
opened the fridge. This could be reason to check on them, to
make sure that a fall hasn’t 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 won’t
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 don’t
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
won’t 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.
- Article by Regina Woodard
exclusively for Assisted Living Directory
to this article:
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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