‘Technology is continuing to provide the best platform for engagement across the various players involved in the lives of the elderly’
SAN FRANCISCO – Val Ornoy believes that connected care is about more than health care—it needs to bring together health, family and community engagement to support seniors as they transition through life’s late stages.
Here’s what Ornoy, CEO of LifeAssist Technologies, which provides connected devices and platforms that promote active and independent living for seniors, had to say about the significant mind-shift that needs to take place in the way the U.S. thinks about the increasing number of adults who want to age in place.
HHTN: You have cited a recent briefing by AARP that reports almost 90% of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age, and that they are willing to engage in day-to-day health care assistance to do it. What does this statistic tell us in terms of healthy aging?
ORNOY: The impact of this statistic has significant ramifications across senior/family/community-centered approaches to health and active aging. U.S. Census data estimates a rise in adults age 65 or older who are aging without the benefits of an adequate family, health and/or community support system. An estimated one-quarter of these adults will potentially become “elder orphans.” Regardless of this country’s rugged individualism, there is a strong need for family and social support providing healthy engagement and less reliance on clinical and institutional care.
HHTN: Do you see the home health care industry moving to address these issues?
ORNOY: New approaches are emerging to better address coordination of care and connecting our health systems, community-based services and the network of support. Age-friendly solutions are being developed and launched to provide enhanced models of care for older adults.
HHTN: How can technology help?
ORNOY: Technology is continuing to provide the best platform for engagement across the various players involved in the lives of the elderly as they transition. Key to the elderly’s core needs is the ability of technology to assist them in routines, communication, health and the daily control of their lives. Support of aging adults and their independence is often focused on the health component, as it is vital to allowing them to age in place, but technology can also reduce the feeling of isolation.
HHTN: What technologies are the most helpful in addressing these concerns?
ORNOY: The technologies with the best returns focus on: integrating schedules and calendars to manage and track treatments, appointments and social events; connecting and distributing data from wearables and the Internet of Things; devices to monitor vital signs and behavior trends; and communication across video, text and photos for social and medical support.