2020 will bring forth more advances in technology that can help seniors live more independent, safe and healthy lives.
The following list highlights 4 of these great technologies:
1. Voice Assistants
Smart speakers, or smartphones that incorporate voice-command, are going to gain big momentum in 2020. Remember a time when they weren't so reliable? Well, if you use the technology, you'll likely agree that it has come a long way, and has improved significantly.
These virtual assistants now have identities and personalities of their own. Do you own one of the following: Alexa, Google, or Siri? Do you know people who own and have grown to love them?
These technologies are gaining wide appeal and even older ones are finding it helpful to their daily lives.
Digital voice assistance like Alexa, Google and Siri allow you to use your speech to trigger specific actions. You can use these technologies to check the weather, send a text, set a reminder, or play your favourite tunes. If you can't reach your phone, a voice command can even call emergency services, which could be life-saving.
For many once they start using these voice assistants, it's hard to go back and they begin to see how valuable they are to their daily lives.
Health tracking wearables, such as the Apple Watch and FitBit, continue to add functions and features that are targeted towards those with chronic or other medical issues. These devices can track activity, heart rate, sleep and gather other data related to your well-being.
Having this information 'at your fingertips' (or on your arm!) can certainly help to encourage healthier habits. As well, monitoring key health markets can help seniors to avoid potential issues sooner and take a preventative route in their healthcare.
Wearables also go beyond tracking. They can offer diagnostic capabilities. The Apple Watch (series 4 and later) is ECG-enabled. It can detect a skipped or rapid heartbeat. Upon detection, it will send a notification of the irregularity. Isn't that amazing?!
This information can then be sent to your health provider as a PDF as a follow-up to determine if there is a dangerous condition.
Another feature of the Apple Watch (series 4 and later) is fall detection. If the watch detects a hard fall, it taps you on the wrist, sounds an alarm, and displays an alert.
You have the option to call emergency services or to tap “I’m OK.” If you don’t do anything, your watch will call emergency services after a minute and send a message to your emergency contacts.
3. Hearing Devices
Over-the-counter hearing devices can now work with your smartphone. They are projected to come to the market at a lower cost than regular hearing aids.
These devices will not only help amplify sound but can suppress outside chatter for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Bose, the brand, is using its experience in the headphone market to help people with hearing issues. The Bose Hearphones are worn around your neck and can be put on when needed. They are designed to help people hear in loud spaces.
These devices will be a tremendous help for those who deal with hearing loss.
Telemedicine provides opportunities for patients to access medical information and advice without making a trip to a doctor's office. Sounds great especially with our recent cold temperatures right?
Some of the ways that telemedicine can help seniors are:
The ability to talk to your health professionals via video or texting apps to discuss symptoms, conditions, or just check in or follow-up.
Being able to use ePortals that give quick access to test results and notes on office visits.
Ongoing management of chronic issues such as testing blood sugar or monitoring blood pressure.
Of course, virtual medicine won't completely replace in-person visits. But it does remove some of the hassles for people especially those that have multiple doctor appointments, or live far from medical clinics, or have limited access to transportation.
Which of these technologies do you use now? And what technologies are you hoping to try out in the new year?