Many seniors want to hold on to their independence for as long as possible ─ allowing them to stay in their homes and take care of themselves ─ maintaining a sense of dignity and comfort. However, this desire is often impossible to turn into a reality, as injuries and illnesses create the need for a higher level of care. However, telehealth has the potential to transform the future of elder care.
Telehealth involves the use of emerging new technologies and telecommunications to offer seniors quality healthcare from a distance. Medical professionals and caregivers are able to check-up on patients in their homes, effectively allowing aging to cause as little disruption to their lives as possible.
6 New Technologies Keeping Seniors Independent
Six innovative telehealth products changing the lives of patients include:
- Virtual Caregiver: These innovative platforms help to keep in-home care organized, safe and efficient. Features vary by program, but typically include the ability to create a medicine schedule, tips to safety proof a home and include a variety of wellness resources.
- Smart Garments: Even the slightest fall can result in a major injury for seniors, so smart garments offer an added layer of protection. They contain 3D motion sensors designed to detect falls, automatically deploying a micro-airbag to pad the body. Smart garments also automatically issue a call for help to caregivers or family members when needed.
- Smart Pill Bottles: Seniors often have a hard time remembering when to take their medication. Smart pill bottles send online alerts, glow a different color and beep to alert the person to take their medicine on time.
- Mobile Physicians: Devices like the Scanadu Scout and Kinsa allow physicians to keep a close eye on patients from a distance. These tools measure heart rate, hemoglobin, temperature and other vitals and can be easily sent to a smartphone. Many of these medical gadgets also provide possible reasons for symptoms, allowing for a quick and easy diagnosis.
- Virtual Companions: Many senior citizens live alone, meaning it can take hours or even days to discover there’s been an emergency. Virtual companions ─ in the form of cameras, easy-access messaging devices and wireless sensors ─ closely monitor the activities of seniors, making it easy to deploy help if needed.
- Smartphone and Tablet Apps: Many families work together to care for elderly family members, making it easy to become confused on who is handling which needs. Apps like Jointly, serve as a seamless way for caregivers to coordinate tasks and easily facilitate communication.
Telehealth ─ Keeping Seniors Out of Nursing Homes
Traditionally, seniors no longer able to care for themselves were either forced to live with a relative, hire an around-the-clock caregiver or move into a nursing home. However, telehealth has made it possible for many elderly people to retain their independence without sacrificing their health.
Telehealth is significantly more cost-effective than hiring full-time care or moving into a nursing home, allowing increased access to high quality healthcare for everyone ─ not just wealthy individuals.
These advanced technologies are creating groundbreaking transformations in elder care. Not only does telehealth offer seniors a prolonged sense of independence, it also provides a higher level of care, leading to improved health outcomes.