How is Technology Used to Maintain Independence in Older Adults?

The healthcare sector is one that sees a lot of innovative solutions to age long problems. New technologies are introduced almost on a daily basis, and quite a number of them are used in the care of the elderly. Most seniors crave independence. In a world in which they feel as though they are rapidly losing control of everything around them, the need for independence and self-sufficiency is heartfelt.

There are seniors who can live independently, but there are also those who can only do so with some assistance. In the past, the safety of the older adults became an issue as their age increased. With many new technologies emerging this is no longer the case, as seniors can maintain a safe independence even in the later stages of life.

Benefits of Independence

It is important to note that independence in this case is two-fold. There is the health aspect of it, whereby the senior is healthy enough to live independently. There is also financial independence, which is an important part as well. Where both are present, the quality of a seniors life improves. Psychologically speaking, the ability to live independently creates a sense of achievement, integrity and a sense of wellbeing for this demographic.

Innovative Technologies

There are several technologies that have been used to care for the elderly and help them maintain safe independence. Some of these include community alarms, which are given to each older adult to use in event of an emergency. The early alarms were installed in the living quarters of each senior, but there are now portable alarms that they can carry about.

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Another notable technology is the fall detector, which are used to send out a signal if ever the senior, who is supposed to be wearing this device, falls down. You probably know this device from the infamous "Help, I've fallen and can't get up" commercials. The device ensures that help gets to the person as quickly as possible. A New York attorney stated that these kinds of falls can have a detrimental impact on a person’s quality of life. The sooner help can be administered, the better chance of recovery.

The hip protector is an important safety measure for preventing damage from falls. This protects one of the most vulnerable areas, the pelvic bones, particularly as older adults tend to fall and hurt their hips. Hip protectors function like underwear which have polypropylene shields sewn inside them. They offer protection to the hip, directing the effect of a fall away from this fragile area.

Financial Independence

In order to fully and successfully maintain independence for an older adult, these technologies are important. The problem is that for most seniors, insurance only covers so much. Some of these technologies for assisted living are not covered by their insurance plan, and as such the senior would need some level of financial independence in order to achieve any independence at all.

A recent study on maintaining functional independence in elderly adults concluded that “…programs aimed at promotion of functional adaptations to improve the quality of life among elders will likely be more effective if financial factors as well as level of need are taken into consideration.”

What other technology (other than cyronics and dreamy, futuristic after-life tech) that would greatly improve the life of the elderly?

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Andrew Plaza

Nerdy Tech fanatic interested in the intricacies of life, technology, and high existence.

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