Products and Technologies That Are Changing the Face of Elderly Care
Getting older isn’t as difficult as it was 50 or so years ago. Medical advancements have improved substantially, there are more business opportunities for the aged, and new technologies are being designed every day to give elderly people a better quality of life.
Many of these designs are allowing older people to live out their years at home, rather than in a nursing care facility. These products and innovative technology make it easier for those taking care of the aged too. There are easier ways to monitor their conditions, care for their every need and provide a better level of comfort in their old age.
Robots with Intuition
Intuition Robotics was opened in 2016 which aided in assisting older people who were experiencing loneliness and felt isolated. This company released an intuitive robot called ElliQ which is meant to interact with a person when no one else is around. This nifty little robot is small enough to fit on a bedside table. It will strike up conversations with the senior person regularly and even alert them when it is time to take medication.
There is an additional video screen device that connects to a base next to ElliQ. Phone calls to friends and loved ones can be made. They can also stay up to date with the latest news. What is truly intuitive with ElliQ is its ability to anticipate what an elderly person needs. When the weather is pleasant outside, it will ask whether the person wants to go for a walk or read a book in the sun. When little interaction is present from the senior person’s side, it will display images of family and friends on the video screen. ElliQ has over 100 ways to say “hello”, on top of many other cool features. An intuitive robot can be picked up for a mere £25 per month and is a handy device to have for those elderly people living alone at home.
Automated Pet Robots
This one sounds a bit strange at first. The idea is that, even as we age, the joy of play is still very common as though we were children — almost as though that part of you never goes away. These robotic pets even look quite real. They have fur and will interact in the same way a live pet does. If its belly is rubbed, it will respond by rolling over. Did you know that a cat’s purr can promote healing in the human body? The robotic cat will purr in 32 different ways depending on how it is being touched. The initiative is called Joy for All, and these automated pets have been shown to promote happiness and provide a unique level of companionship for the aged population.
Equipped with sensors, these pets have heartbeats, they will make all the right sounds, and can sit on a person’s lap for hours. In the dog model, for example, when the elderly person places a hand on their back, the heart rate will start to slow down just as it would with a real pooch who is content and happy in its owner’s lap. Costing less than £100, more than 150, 000 models have been sold worldwide.
Virtual Doctor Services
If a senior member is quite ill or frail, then attending doctor’s appointments can be more of a mission than it is worth. Unless the person resides at a senior living facility, access to a doctor on demand isn’t always possible. Those with limited mobility find it takes even more effort and time for a half-hour appointment to go to a care facility to receive treatment. Virtual doctors are becoming more mainstream as the needs of the elderly population become more prevalent.
Now, a doctor’s appointment can be made online through a pay-as-you-go system. With most services, you can choose any doctor in the world for a consultation. This limits the waiting times for emergencies such as when a chronic medication has run out. All the person needs are a device with an internet connection, microphone, and viewing screen, so an ordinary smartphone will do.
Electric Profiling Beds for Limited Mobility
One of the hardest parts of aging is that one’s mobility decreases and it becomes more difficult to do simple everyday tasks like getting out of bed or sitting up to eat. Profiling beds are a great innovation in elderly care. Each bed is divided into different sections. These parts can each be moved independently to make it easier to move different parts of the body. Electric profiling beds have mostly been used in older care facilities, but they are ideal for home use as well.
For caretakers or even home use, this range of profiling beds can prevent a person from slipping out of bed and can be adjusted for maximum support. Profile beds have been shown to reduce overall injuries and are more cost-effective than adding support devices onto a normal bed. The height can be adjusted, and most models come with rails on the side to further prevent falls.
Possibly the most popular device for elderly care are wearables. Wearables for the elderly have impressive genius designs, made specifically to identify when a person has fallen or their heart rate drops, and much more. These devices come as watches, belts, wrist monitors, and even phones. The Lively Mobile device, for example, is a small pendant that clips onto clothing. It has a GPS and a voice recognition system that asks the person if they need any help.
The Apple Watch 4 model takes regular ECG readings and sends signals to various services in case of emergencies. The Airbag Smart Belt will deploy an airbag if a fall is detected to prevent injury to the hips. Most wearables also come equipped with GPS locations so that caretakers and loved ones can see a live location every second of the day.
The cost of medical treatment increases each year, and as we age. A big component of senior care is the average cost for treatment, whether at home or in a care facility. The average cost per year in the UK reaches billions. This equates to a couple thousand for a regular senior person. With artificial intelligence, machine learning, and sophisticated algorithms, data is now able to capture a medical file, and so much more. One such company developed a system that captures the person’s income and social status, interaction with loved ones, access to food and utilities, and even their general living conditions.