Across the industrialized world, rapidly aging populations are creating not only unprecedented social and economic challenges, but also significant opportunities for organizations that can meet the demand for technology that safeguards senior citizens and enhances their quality of life.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that Big Tech has taken notice.
Some of the world’s leading innovators are seeking to tap into this growing market with solutions aimed at both older adults who wish to age in place and senior living communities that are looking for new ways to enhance health outcomes.
In doing so, these organizations are overcoming long-held assumptions concerning senior attitudes to technology. Established PERS dealers and community operators that are reluctant to innovate due to beliefs regarding older adults and technology should also pay close attention.
Increasingly tech-savvy seniors
There’s a common and enduring misconception that the elderly are not tech savvy. In fact, seniors are rapidly embracing the latest technologies, especially in light of COVID-19.
A recent survey shows that 61% of those aged 64 and above have made greater use of technology during the pandemic, while uptake of telemedicine services has increased by a massive 300%.
The likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are keenly aware of this trend and are moving rapidly to meet demand.
Big tech gets in on the action
Amazon’s Echo Alexa, for example, is proving to be a valuable asset for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia — an intelligent companion that never gets tired or frustrated by repetitive questions. It’s also being primed to play a key role in setting medication reminders and taking health readings.
Apple, meanwhile, has enhanced the capabilities of its smart watch to detect hard falls, call 911, and monitor heart conditions. Facebook’s Preventative Health product recommends health screenings based on user data, Google has partnered with leading healthcare provider Ascension to aggregate patient data, and Microsoft is working with top insurer Humana to use cloud computing, AI, and voice technologies to help seniors navigate care options.
However, all these solutions depend on some level of user action or input. Although seniors are increasingly empowered and highly engaged with technology, what they — like all consumers — want is effortless, intuitive experience.
Passive monitoring - the missing piece of the puzzle
Wearable tech is, of course, effective only if the user remembers to put it on. And even the most intelligent virtual assistant or smart home hub needs to be asked the right questions.
That’s why passive monitoring solutions hold the greatest promise in terms of enhancing well-being.
As David Frumkin of CDW Healthcare states, “it’s the ability to influence how my health is going on a passive basis that is immense and will truly move the needle for the wellbeing of seniors.”
Seniors, whether they choose to age in place or in a senior living community, need passive monitored well-being technology that safeguards them around the clock, without needing to be activated or instructed.
What’s more, it needs to respect their privacy completely, an area in which cameras - even HIPAA-compliant ones - and computer vision-based solutions inevitably fall short.
The role of radio frequency imaging
One solution type that is passive, protective and private is monitored well-being powered by radio frequency imaging. One wall-mounted sensor provides a wealth of information, including presence, movement, time spent in room and alerts that enable rapid response to emergencies.
This rich data not only immediately detects falls but also provides 24/7 monitored well-being, enabling positive caregiver interventions.
Because the technology does not rely on optics, it is robust in all lighting conditions, working in darkness and steam, and does not require line of sight. It also maintains user privacy at all times, since it simply collects data, with no cameras involved.
As Big Tech makes ever-greater inroads into the senior care market, technology such as this is likely to play an important role in the creation of holistic solutions that offer the ideal combination of advantages.
With over-65s representing an ever-expanding market, the world’s biggest companies are intensifying their efforts, competing to meet elderly people’s needs by integrating leading-edge technologies into their products and services. Senior living operators, PERS dealers and seniors themselves all stand to benefit from this latest chapter in the battle of Big Tech.
To see how Vayyar Home enables caregivers to enhance resident health outcomes, click here.