It’s 2020 and while it feels like we are a long way from flying cars, tele-transportation, and the other futuristic ideals of the past, the truth is that we have come a long way. While every generation has benefited from technology, this generation of seniors may experience the greatest benefit.
From virtual reality devices to robotic pets, the tech industry is focused on improving the lives of an active generation of seniors with no end in sight. In fact, the active aging industry in the United States, which includes safety and smart-living technology, fitness technology, and remote healthcare, is projected to triple over the next three years to a staggering $30 billion.
Take a closer look at some of the greatest technological developments improving the lives of seniors.
5 Technological Innovations for Seniors
It’s no secret that pet ownership has extensive health benefits. Engagement, play, physical exercise, and pure companionship are among the vast benefits of owning a pet. However, as we age, caring for a pet can become increasingly difficult. That’s where robotic pets can help. With sensors that allow the pet to interact with a human companion including sounds, tricks, and even a fake heart rate, these robotic pets can delight, soothe, and promote happiness in seniors without any of the responsibility of caring for a pet.
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Similar to robotic pets, companion robots can actually take on more of a caregiver role than a companion role. Realizing that there is no substitution for human interaction and nothing can replace a human caregiver, companion robots can support caregivers, helping them manage medication, schedules, and more. Providing companionship around the clock, companion robots can encourage seniors to develop and maintain healthy routines, stay connected with family and friends, and avoid social isolation.
Virtual reality is an emerging technology bringing positive change to the lives of seniors in a variety of ways. Virtual reality has the capacity to take seniors on trips, exploring far-flung parts of the world, long after the senior is no longer able to travel. For seniors living with Alzheimer’s or a related form of dementia, virtual reality can create meaningful experiences right from a memory care community. Seniors can take a trip back in time to watch Frank Sinatra in concert, take a walk through their hometown as it was when they were children, and so much more.
Virtual reality has been shown to help seniors combat loneliness, social isolation, and depression, providing a way to escape and revisit a happier time. It can also engage seniors, sparking new energy and new excitement as they venture to places they never thought they would see.
Wearable fitness technology benefits all generations by encouraging activity and movement throughout the day. For seniors, fitness technology can monitor heart activity, monitor sleep, improve mobility, and encourage physical activity. Additionally, fitness technology promotes accountability, can make fitness goals a social activity, and more effectively track progress towards those goals.
There may be no better technology for seniors than smartphones. 59% of seniors between the ages of 65 and 69 own smartphones and it’s no wonder why. Harnessing the power of the internet, smartphones help seniors avoid social isolation by connecting them across time zones to family and friends. Order groceries and have them delivered, message your doctor, check-in with the grandkids, manage medication, engage in the world all from the phone in your hand.
Additionally, smartphones are becoming increasingly aging friendly. With voice capabilities, seniors with arthritis can speak their commands, instead of typing and seniors with a visual disability have access to a larger screen and larger font sizes.
How has technology improved your life or the life of an aging loved one? Share your comments in the space below. We’d love to hear from you!
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