As they say, times are a changin’ — and that is certainly true when it comes to the aging population and technology. While iPads and Apple Watches may have the wow factor, some technologies may completely change the way we grow old. Here is a glimpse at just a few of these technologies:
A Better Way To Get Around
In just a few short years, there may be senior-friendly GPS systems that announce upcoming street signs — and not in the way that we’re accustomed to. In other words, instead of advising drivers to turn left on Washington Street, future GPS devices will also alert drivers about upcoming stop signs and yield signs, or a reduced speed limit. This technology will be especially useful in the dark when it can be difficult for people of all ages to see.
But that’s not where it ends. Autonomous cars are in the works. The technology could easily make it possible for seniors to get to and from the store, doctors appointments, family and friends’ homes, and whenever else they need to go — and to do it without ever having to worry about driving.
Can Technology Improve Skilled Nursing Care?
There are more than 1 million seniors in assisted living homes, and about 40% of them need help with three or more daily activities. New technology is going a long way to improve elder care — whether that entails assistance with physical needs or treating dementia and providing memory care for seniors. Japanese Engineer Toshiharu Mukai is working on prototypes that would help safely lift patients to and from bed and get in and out of wheelchairs, among other things. This would afford seniors more independence and privacy, while also addressing the nation’s critical caretaker shortage.
Growing old and everything that comes with it (things like treating dementia) is difficult enough. Soon, technology may make things a bit easier, enabling aging Americans to get around on their own in autonomous cars and around their homes or nursing homes.