A few weeks ago we published in this blog an article about the benefits of smartphones for the elderly population In this article, I would like to go deeper into this topic.
Is the Smartphone the unique technology that must be integrated as an inseparable companion in the life of the elderly population?
It is evident that the technological ‘gadgets’ connected to the internet are transforming our society for their multiple benefits. But above all, they will completely change our old age to make it healthier, more independent, more active and more integrated in society.
Until before COVID-19 confinement, only 21% of the population over 65 years frequently used the Internet (according to the portal www.digitales.es). In 2030 20% of the European population will be over 65 years old. Therefore, if there is still a high % that can enter on the internet market and the % of population in this age grows, many companies have identified the potential of this segment of the population to digitize and therefore, there are more and more technological gadgets designed for these people.
In recent months and due to confinement, several technologies have allowed this population not to isolate themselves. WhatsApp has possibly been the main communication channel, but Zoom has also replaced face-to-face family gatherings in virtual video calls.
In this article. I would like to analyze 8 gadgets for this segment that can lead to have a more active, controlled and healthy life.
1.Smart televisions with internet access are transforming the leisure of this population that stops watching TV with fixed programming to a personalized TV with series, movies and on-demand programming with Netflix. This platform recognizes that this segment is the one with the most growth potential in the coming years.
2.Smart speakers like Alexa or Google Home are going to be one more member in the homes of the elderly. Voice access removes many technological barriers from this group of people who do not master technology. These devices with audio not only offer personalized information in audio but they can also be your best personal agenda since it reminds them of tasks that they have to carry out. In addition also through these speakers they can make calls to their loved ones.
3.Portable video consoles are the personal trainer of the brain of this group. Through games adapted to their interests, their cognitive level and their needs, they can exercise their brain, delaying pathologies such as alhzeimer.
4.Smart watches are replacing wristbands with a QR code that allowed access to user information in case of an emergency. Smart watches will be another star gadget for years to come. There are already exclusively designed for this group. It allows them not only to improve communication with their relatives but to better manage their daily lives. The Nock Senior is an Spanish Seal Smart Watch has the basic functions of a watch, allowing family members to know the location of the elderly at all times and establish security zones to be notified if they enter them. Likewise, the user can also send a notification and their current position to any unforeseen event and receive and send calls through the watch with the push of a button. In addition, these watches may have tele-assistance services for remote check-ups or automated control of health parameters relevant for pre-diagnosis (for example, having an electrocardiogram). Also this technology can allow the management of potential episodes such as falls (APP Farseeing) or motivate them to do physical exercise or monitor the quality of sleep.
5.Digital clothing will be another of the technologies that will help us solve potential problems. At the 2020 edition of the world’s most important world technology congress (CES) the new category of smart pijamas was presented. The Tokyo Xenoma company has developed them to measure breathing, heartbeat, define sleep patterns and monitor activity. It is also capable of detecting possible falls. In addition, in the future this pajama will be connected to your home so that the temperature conditions adapt to the user’s situation.
6.Digital Drugs dispensers. A large part of this group suffers from chronic pathologies (hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes, …) and they are multi-treated with drugs that must be taken at different times of the day and for lack of reminder they are not adherent to their treatments. The startup Berdac has developed a dispenser that reminds and gives the patient their pill at the time it is to be taken.
7.Smart sensors are another great ally. Sensovida is a telecare service that is made up of a bracelet for the elderly and a network of sensors Placed in the keys of these people, in their glasses or in parts of the house (such as the bathroom, the microwave, the dining room, in the bed, …) allow us to detect abnormal behaviors from pre-established routines. That way, her family members can rest assured that her father is well that day at home.
8.And the last gadget, are the company robots. Possibly it is the most futuristic technology but it will surely penetrate your homes the most. These robots can be in human form or not. Many studies demonstrated as an excellent solution to improve their quality of life. Buddy helps detect falls, inactivity and helps remember to take medicine. ElliQ in addition to fulfilling these functions, it also helps to entertain and keep the person connected with their relatives. Others focus more on companionship such as the Nuka baby seal robot. It allows the elderly to interact with it as if it were a pet and thus reduce their levels of anxiety and sadness.
As we have analyzed, there are a multitude of technologies that are going to offer great benefits in this group not only for themselves but also for their families. The great challenge will be to develop devices that reduce the digital knowledge gap. They mut beeasy to use. The user experience is where these technology companies will have to work the most, as they have seen a group with great sales potential.