By Brian VanHook
It’s a common misconception that individuals over the age of 60 are less interested in technology than those of other generations. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, America’s senior population is engaging with new technology every day and companies around the globe are increasingly enthusiastic about their presence in the marketplace, including the home health industry.
According to a Pew Research Center report, the number of people age 65 and older is projected to triple by mid-century, from 531 million in 2010 to 1.5 billion in 2050. A separate Pew study found that seniors own smart phones and regularly spend time online and engage with social media. Of those seniors who are online, three quarters of them go online daily—sometimes several times a day.
Do these statistics paint a picture of a stereotypical frail granny hobbling past a computer with minimal interest? No. Instead, we see a readily engaged senior interested in connecting to society through technology. There’s a real and valid reason why home health companies are innovating new products, reimagining exiting ones and creating unique services to help seniors age well.
Home health devices, for example, are incorporating wearable technology that uses voice activation to assist with senior safety. When individuals wearing the technology fall below a certain height, the device registers it as a fall and a live operator speaks directly to the individual. Other companies have developed automated, verbal reminders for medications. What’s more is that doctors around the nation are encouraging patients to use technology through online portals. A member of my own family was able to take a trip shortly after experiencing a heart attack all because of a WiFi device communicating with his heart. There’s no need to stay in town when a doctor can monitor a patient remotely, right? A deep dive into a senior’s involvement with technology reveals that, to them, technology equals freedom.
But what tech-based solutions exist when an individual does become home-bound or requires some level of assistance in the home? As we watch America’s massive Baby Boomer population age, a large percentage wants to retain that freedom. They hope to age in place and want—or need—to gain control of their own health care.
People, like technology, are ever-changing—always presenting new challenges, exposing their glitches and reinventing what once was the standard.
Brian VanHook is the co-founder and CEO of Home Care Assist, a compatibility matching service for in-home care. The online service connects care seekers with in-home based on personality and skill sets for mutual compatibility.