The senior population in the United States is one of the fastest growing communities in the country. Currently, over 15 percent of the population is aged 65 or older and that number is expected to grow to 25 percent by 2060. With this population growing, it means that there will be more caregivers, more assisted living facilities, and more seniors living independently.
It is important to understand what older adults need to be able to do to live independently. According to a report from the White House, there are a number of activities that individuals need to be able to do on their own in order to be able to live safely independently. For example, a few tasks that they should be able to perform on their own include cooking, driving, using the telephone, shopping, tracking finances, managing medication, housekeeping, and laundry.
However, with the evolution of technology there are new measures that can be taken to support older adults as they push to live independently. These forms of technology can help in their day-to-day lives and help with things like bathing, meal preparation, shopping, and more. While many of these emerging technologies are still being fine-tuned or are in their infant stages, there are still useful tools available today that can make independent living as a senior more safe.
Hygiene goes hand-in-hand with healthy living and, if an older individual has trouble staying hygienic, it can lead to many health problems. However, staying clean can prove to be a difficult and even dangerous task for older individuals. Showers, and the bathroom in general, is one of the most dangerous places for adults as many slips and falls can happen. Because falls lead to over 800,000 hospitalizations each year, it is important to be sure that everything is being done to keep the seniors safe.
Being able to bathe and shower regularly is essential to maintaining proper health. Currently there are tests being done to develop smart showers “that can sense the presence of an individual and accordingly adjust the timing, water flow, and/or temperature to meet the person’s specific needs.” The White House report also recommends developing materials that can reduce bacteria on items that are frequently handled like mobile technology and television remotes.
With that said, there are products on the market currently that can help seniors stay safe and healthy while they shower or bathe. For example, shower grab bars, non-slip strips and bathmats, and a bath seat can all help an older adult avoid falls and slips in the shower. Similarly, it is important to keep the bathroom well-lit to avoid falls and other injuries.
Meeting daily nutritional requirements is important for everyone to maintain physical and mental health but can become even more vital as we age. However, meal preparation and shopping can prove to be difficult tasks for older adults.
With the advancement of smartphones and informational technology, there will soon be applications that can provide price comparison for local grocery stores to ease shopping burdens. Similarly, robotic systems and artificial intelligence is improving will soon be able to aid in food preparation. Meanwhile there are some recent efforts from grocery store chains to make shopping simpler by ordering online and having an employee come load your car with your order. There are also options where food can be delivered straight to your door.
Most older individuals have medication that they need to take in order to stay healthy. This, however, can prove to be dangerous. Medication relies on proper dosing and if your loved one doesn’t remember to take the medication or maybe takes too much medication, it can be hazardous for their health and lead to major health side effects, hospitalization, and sometimes even death.
There are currently many options that can be used to help older adults properly use their medication. For example, pill organizers are available for seniors to help separate their medication and minimize risk. Also, there are some phone applications and tools that can be used to set daily reminders to take medication. Some technologies can even help adults with timing their medications food or other drugs may positively or negatively affect their safety.
As we age, we go through a number of cognitive changes that can range from a simple slip of the tongue to advanced dementia. While there are some cognitive problems that can be dealt with, some problems, such as dementia, will require the help of a caregiver or an assisted living facility.
Because cognitive decline is associated with and affects a person’s ability to manage chronic health conditions that are known risk factors for dementia, including high blood pressure and glucose levels, and various forms of heart disease.
However, as individuals begin to experience cognitive decline as they age, technology can help to decrease symptoms.
“With the increased use of mobile devices, wearable sensors, and novel human-computer interfaces, new possibilities are emerging to expand the cognitive tele-rehabilitation paradigm. In the past, cognitive rehabilitation would have required office visits with unmonitored assignments between visits,” said the White House report.
As the senior population grows larger and larger, more older adults will be living independently, with a caretaker, or at an assisted living facility. Many seniors choose to live independently, but sometimes age-related issues can impede this. However, according to some reports there are technological advancements that are being made to help seniors live independently later in life. As of now there are some tools and online applications that can be used to help seniors live happy and safely.
With all that said, there are some scenarios which make it too difficult for a senior to live on their own. When this is the case, an assisted living facility can help an older adult live safely and happy. Landmark Senior Living is one assisted living facility that can provide residents with the health care that they deserve all while giving them a fun and stimulating environment to live in.