As a Certified Professional Consultant on Aging (CPCA), I get access to some interesting original articles. Here’s one from Rhonda Latreille, the founder and CEO of Age-Friendly Business which is the organization that runs CPCA. I thought this article would be of interest as we all try to get more comfortable with the use of technology in our everyday lives.
Do you line up the night before to buy the latest shiny new device being launched the next day? Perhaps you are a self-proclaimed “luddite” who opposes technological change.
More likely, you shun the two extremes and embrace technology that actually works, serves you, and makes your life easier, safer, and more convenient. New technologies are being introduced continually to help us maintain our independence and age more safely in place.
Monitors alert us to take specific medications at prescribed times of day and ensure the medications are accessible only then. Do you fear a loved one will miss taking meds? No problem. A pre-recorded reminder message can arrive to the loved one through the TV set and a text message can alert you or another caregiver that the meds were not taken.
Motion detectors can identify when routine activities of daily living fail to be carried out. Perhaps the fridge door was not opened throughout the day or the toilet was not flushed. Once again, caregivers can be alerted to the lack of activity.
In terms of your personal health, blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar can be monitored on a regular basis. Various vital biomarkers can be tracked, recorded, and uploaded to a cloud file for review by your healthcare practitioners. Is mobility a problem or do you live in a rural area? Telehealth connections allow you to engage directly with healthcare professionals through Skype and other technologies.
Robots are being developed to assume some of the caregiving tasks and Japan is leading the way. With an emerging aging population and an insufficient number of caregivers to meet the demand, Japan is developing “carebots” to do everything from lifting individuals from bed to a wheelchair, to noticing if someone has fallen. They monitor vital signs and recognize when something is inconsistent with a person’s regular routine. A camera attached to the carebot records in real-time; caregivers can log-in at any time to view the videos, especially when the caregivers are alerted through the program’s applications.
Want a pet companion without all the work? Meet adorable fluffy “robo-kitty” that purrs when petted and meows and nuzzles when you scratch behind its ears. As a lifetime pet owner and pet lover, the robo-kitty was a bit of a stretch for me until I thought about no more shedding, no claw marks on the floors or tears in the furniture, and no kitty-litter boxes!
Hmm . . . maybe I’ll line up for the next shiny new device launch.