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7 Technologies Redefining Elderly Care In 2022

February 8, 2022

The pandemic has impacted all of us but one place it has had a noticeably different effect is in elderly care. Depending on where you live in the country, care facilities have either been locked down or had severe restrictions in place. While these measures are meant to protect the vulnerable aged population, it has also led to segregation to where families were split apart. This can have a huge impact on the mental health of an elderly patient.

Add to this the difficulties in delivering healthcare to these patients, and you start to see a disconnect. However, new technology has always evolved and in that evolution have been innovative new tools that have helped to bridge the gap from the disconnect resulting from the pandemic. In this article, we will look deeper into a handful of technologies that have redefined elderly care for the future.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

When used to enhance and support in-person care instead of replacing it, AI is an effective tool. Working in concert with wearable monitoring devices, artificial intelligence can detect situations and conditions that may take a human medical professional longer to identify. This provides the data necessary to implement informed decisions that relate to the elderly patient’s care. For example, devices that monitor where the patient is at all times may note wandering behavior or more frequent trips to the bathroom than normal. These incidents may trigger an AI response giving the medical staff on-site evidence required to examine the situation further.

Wearable Monitoring Devices

Probably one of the most significant technological innovations to come out recently is wearable monitoring devices. These are small tools connected to the internet and provide medical professionals with real-time data. These devices can track just about anything to do with the average elderly patient whether living at home or in a care facility. Wearables are capable of tracking such things as heart rate, medication, movement, and location along with several other conditions. All of this data can be analyzed remotely and used to improve the treatment plan in place. All of this reduces in-person visits and streamlines care.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine is the combination of telehealth and e-medicine where telecommunications and IT solutions are used to provide health assessments and therapies to patients remotely. This brings medical care to anyone who either lives a long distance from the nearest medical facility or has mobility issues. Telemedicine is effective also in the lives of elderly patients as it brings healthcare to the palms of their hands. It began receiving widespread use when restrictions went in place reducing face-to-face contact during the pandemic. However, telemedicine has since streamlined the delivery of healthcare and permits access to it for more people than before.

Robotics

It may sound a bit odd that robots would fit into an elderly healthcare setting, but they do. Robots are capable of being programmed to perform seemingly simple tasks. However, the tasks that are sent to robotics are vital and greatly reduce human contact. While that may sound like a negative in healthcare, the fact that robotics fills a role where disease transmission is greatly reduced, it becomes a huge positive. Add to this that robots can perform tasks that would have otherwise required a human to complete and it makes sense that robotics is taking pressure off of the already stressed healthcare industry. Again, improving the delivery of services.

Full-Solution Providers

With technology spinning so fast into the future, devices and other tech instruments and software also evolve. This can sometimes produce a nightmare concerning compatibility. In the elderly healthcare world, all equipment and devices should communicate with each other to provide seamless streams of information. Fortunately, health tech providers have seen the potential issues and have become suppliers where all necessary components are available and integrated with ease. Full-solution providers speed up the process of upgrading equipment without the downtime of finding a compatible piece of the puzzle which can take time.

Virtual Assistants

One thing that is not normally dealt with through technology for elderly care is loneliness. Seniors are often living alone or do not have family nearby. Or, as was the case during the early stages of the pandemic, families were separated from their senior members. Technology has come to the rescue in the form of virtual assistants. There are tools like Siri and Alexa along with other devices such as eReaders that provide not just companionship or things to keep the mind occupied and active, but these virtual assistants can remind an elderly patient of when to take medications or that a medical appointment is coming up.

Cameras

Sure, cameras may not be new technology but they are an effective tool in the monitoring of an elderly patient. Cameras in specific rooms work along with detection devices to identify what may be causing excessive falls or where the patient tends to go when wandering. Additionally, for seniors living alone at home, cameras offer a layer of protection. With wireless connectivity, the new generation of cameras can be internet-enabled so that monitoring is possible from a remote location and if something serious occurs, help can be sent immediately. Cameras are still an effective tool to monitor and track an elderly patient.

Final Thoughts

As much as the pandemic has changed how healthcare is delivered, new technology has provided the advancements necessary to keep healthcare services available to those who need it regardless of restrictions, lockdowns, or other circumstances. In the care of the elderly, technology continues to play a major role.

Not only has it kept connections intact, but in some cases, it has provided the means to get health services to more people who did not have access to it before. Innovation has made elderly health care a comprehensive and all-inclusive service. Never before has anything made such a difference in the lives of patients. New technology has also improved medical outcomes by collecting more data so better informed decisions can be made. All of which has increased the credibility of healthcare across the board.

Pranjal Bora works as Head of Product Development at Digital Authority Partners, a Las Vegas custom software development company.

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