The future of aged care has long been a crucial topic in many countries. On the one hand, people are living longer and staying active for longer. On the other hand, many older people find it helpful or even necessary to have help with everyday tasks, including personal care. Advances in technology have made it possible for seniors to enjoy life in their own home for longer, especially with the raise of home care services. Here are 3 key developments, which are setting exciting new standards for the future of aged care.
The Internet of Things
In today’s modern world, even adults in their prime may struggle to stay on top of everything they need to do each and every day and taking work out of the picture may not make it a great deal easier. That’s why much of the excitement around the Internet of Things relates to its potential to make home life easier for everyone. For example, smart fridges could keep track of their contents and either prompt the householder when stocks were running low or just order replacements, according to their instructions. The same principles could be applied to activities which are particularly challenging for older people. For example, smart light-fixtures could keep track of when light bulbs are due to be replaced. They could then alert a care assistant to come out at a convenient time to change the bulb for the older person before it actually runs out.
Robots have already transformed many areas of our lives and have become essential to providing high-quality, in-home care for the elderly in a cost-effective manner. People of all ages appreciate standard domestic robots, such as washing machines, dishwashers and vacuum cleaners and these are becoming smaller, smarter and more sophisticated all the time. The aged population particularly benefits from robots which assist with movement. Mainstream retailers already stock devices such as beds and chairs which are powered by electricity and can be operated by simple controls to assist users from a lying or sitting position into a sitting or standing position. Likewise, stair lifts are now a standard way of making homes more accessible to their occupants as they age. Going forward, the future of aged care may involve robots which are both smart and strong and therefore able to assist with the sort of heavy-lifting duties which human carers find difficult (for example, replacing the need for humans to use cumbersome and bulky hoists). This would free up carers to use their time in a more meaningful way.
Augmented and/or virtual reality
As people age, it becomes increasingly important to keep both mind and body stimulated. One of the challenges in the future of aged care is to manage this in a suitable way, since older people may be mentally and physically more delicate than their younger counterparts. Augmented and/or virtual reality could be one way to expand the boundaries within which the aged population live their lives and thus help to keep both mind and body active. Virtual reality goggles have already been shown to be helpful to dementia sufferers. The next step is to identify ways in which preventative care, ideally non-invasive care, can be used to stop the onset of such conditions.