As people grow older, outside assistance is often necessary to address mounting health concerns and frailty. However, for many seniors, this loss of autonomy is a truly disheartening experience, especially when those who were formerly independent find themselves living in nursing facilities or elder care homes.
As with life’s many other complex problems, burgeoning technology proposes a solution. In recent years, a number of scientists have been studying the impact new technologies can have on aging populations, particularly those seniors who are living on their own. While some of these technologies may still be in the development phase, robotic health aides might one day be the wave of the future for seniors all over the world.
Drones Can Assist in Daily Household Chores
Although it sounds like something straight from the pages of science fiction, many are looking to drones as a means of offering seniors assistance with daily tasks and chores in the home. Of course, this goes against the current perception of drones as devices used in sensitive military operations as well as the role they play in leisure-time activities.
Researchers at the University of Illinois are currently looking into the impact of drones on the lives of seniors. These small-scale drones may one day be able to perform a variety of useful functions for the elderly, such as retrieving life-saving medication from another area in the home. Although this technology is still being developed, those at the heart of these projects predict that home drones could be as ubiquitous as mobile devices in just 20 years’ time.
Robot Health Aides Underway in Japan
Japan is leading the way in health aides for the aging thanks to the prototype Robear, which currently assists health workers in caring for patients. As technology progresses, it is hoped that this prototype and others like it will eventually be placed within the home, where they can then perform chores as well as offer physical assistance to the ailing.
It’s also projected that future robot aides may reduce some of the strain that isolation can have on one’s mental faculties, particularly when it comes to dementia. As people advance in age, satisfying social interactions often diminish a great deal. To this end, having an interactive robot in the home may be able to supplement this lack of social interaction, which some posit is a key factor in retaining mental awareness for a longer period of time.
Wireless Technology Makes Home Monitoring Possible
The home can be a dangerous place for the elderly, especially those who are beset with health problems or have trouble getting around. One false move could spell disaster for seniors living on their own, whether that has to do with slips and falls, the onset of a sudden health crisis, or fire and other home catastrophes.
Wireless monitoring technology in the home aims to alert emergency personnel in the event that a senior is incapable of getting help on his or her own. The technology can also perform life-saving feats such as continuously monitoring vital signs and warning caregivers should anything out of the ordinary occur. This technology will afford the elderly the ability to live on their own while also providing family members peace of mind that their loved ones’ most urgent needs will be met no matter what.
Existing Technology Is Just the Beginning
While the above concepts are surely impressive, existing technology also has much to offer the aging population. It’s easier than ever to keep in touch with friends and family these days, which is why so many are encouraging seniors to fully embrace the technological revolution. Things like smartphones and tablets afford seniors the ability to maintain rich and lasting connections with family all over the world, thereby ensuring they remain healthy and happy both inside and out.