Technology For the Elderly
As I looked through the catalog of all new high tech hardware and gizmos coming out soon in 2019 I thought to myself, is there anything that my 75-year-old grandfather can use? Making technology which caters to this demographic can be quite challenging.
In the past creating products for this age group was mainly done by startups but I was surprised that the likes of Intel and Samsung have taken an interest in this area. Maybe they do recognize this as a potential field and want to take a slice of the pie which up till now was largely dominated by the startup world.
The AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) said in “2019 Tech Trends and the 50+” that 115 million Americans i.e over 50 represent an enormous market for technology and that by the end of the next decade they’re projected to spend $84 billion on tech products. That’s just for themselves — the figure does not include all the gadgets they buy for their grandkids and others.
Right now, adults between 50 and 64 are just as likely to use smartphones as the average person in the U.S. (83 percent have a smartphone and 91 percent use computers). Over 94 percent of people above the age of 50 use technology to stay connected to friends and loved ones. Most of them text or email someone every day, with texting now more popular than email. In some cases, tech fondness rises with age: 43 percent of tech connectors in their 50s use social media daily, while half of those in their 60s do.
The AARP research found that more than one-third of the over-70 group use social media daily, and that percentage is apt to increase. In one year, the use of home assistants such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home almost doubled among people of the age 50 and older, from 7 to 13 percent. In 2018, virtual-reality devices became 44 percent more popular among those over 50.
Of course, there are 50 million people worldwide with dementia, and they’re not going to be as tech-savvy. For these individuals, a caregiver might be more likely to operate the technology for them. But there’s a wide range of technologies that could be useful for older people, from self-driving cars to fall detection monitors.
Last year, a scattering of startups were addressing tech for older people, among those was Hip’Air, which had airbags that could protect people from falls. This year seemed different. It was as if one of the obvious things about demographics — that the baby boomers are going to need a lot of techs to help them as they had finally sunk in.
Below are a few areas we think startups can target
Smart Home Technology For The Elderly?
The innovation of smart technology in recent years has just shot through the roof. There are virtually hundreds of actual uses now for the everyday homeowner. Let alone someone who is actually in need of any device that will help them live more independently.
Smart home devices also offer peace of mind for the caregiver that is of a much higher scale than that of just installing a medical alert bracelet and calling it a day. If you are researching this topic, then it really should be about the quality of life. Not about a virtual safety net.
What Are The Advantages To A Smart Home?
For the elderly, there are so many advantages that smart home products bring. I’m amazed that more people aren’t using them already. Again, I go back to discussing the quality of life.
Things are just not as easy as they used to be for the elderly. It seems that every day our bureaucracy makes it harder and harder for them. So, luckily smart home devices are changing that in some ways. There seems to be a huge misconception that these devices will make an older person's life harder because they involve technology.
While that may be true for some people at the onset if they are doing everything themselves, it’s the exception rather than the rule. If you are planning on setting everything up yourself and you are not technically savvy then yes, it will be harder at first.
I usually recommend that a younger person set this up initially anyway. It will take a lot of the headaches out of the equation. Some of the best advantages of using smart home devices are the following.
Comfort – Set it and forget it thermostats that can be monitored and controlled by a family member (or yourself) when you are away from home.
Entertainment – Smart TV’s were just the beginning. Now with the newer smart entertainment hubs and the addition of Firesticks and Alexa you can add on voice control for just about any of your home entertainment.
Safety – With smart home security, you can monitor everything, from who’s at the door, to whether or not the oven was left on by accident. Heck, you can even check to make sure the door is locked at night without even getting out of bed!
Smart Pill Dispensers
I’m a middle-aged man and there are days that I forget to take my pills. So the benefit of using a connected pill dispenser is not beyond me. The Tricella Liif 7 Smart Pillbox can help with that. It can detect if you forgot to take your pills or took the wrong ones.
It can connect to smartphones and tablets too. This makes it simple for families to stay connected and ensure that pills are taken on time. The Tricella has LED notifications and smart sensors in each pill drawer. It tracks when you took your pills and reminds you when it’s time to take your pills.
Smart EKG Monitors
AliveCor has pioneered the creation of mobile devices to enable proactive heart care. Their Kardia Mobile EKG monitor is recognized as the most clinically validated mobile EKG solution on the market.
It captures a medical-grade EKG in 30 seconds flat. You can detect atrial fibrillation or normal heart rhythm right away. I like that you can also set up automatic emails to yourself, your doctor or anyone else you so choose with no subscription required.
We hope to see more startups look into these are areas as there is a huge market place right now.