Senior care has long been synonymous with one-on-one interactions, focused on a friendly and personal approach. However, technology in senior care...
How Digital Innovation Can Transform Senior Care
With the aging population is rising, an urgent senior care crisis is looming. Digital innovation will play an important role in transforming senior care.
The aging population is rising, and it is critical to leverage technological tools in senior living. Statistics show that by 2030, all baby boomers will have turned 65 or older.
This data implies that we could face an urgent senior care crisis sooner than we thought. But unfortunately, many senior care facilities are stuck in outdated standards that have significantly hampered the quality of life for many senior citizens.
Integrating engagement technologies and digital solutions remains the best way to deliver an enriching environment for senior citizens and support care organizations.
Digital innovations are transforming senior care
Digital innovations are revolutionizing the senior care industry. Technological innovations and solutions have helped reduce the cost of senior care while lessening the burden on caregivers.
Senior citizens can live more meaningful lives with scientific breakthroughs in nutrition, fitness, vital measurement, and communication technologies.
Digital innovations are transforming senior care. Today, caregivers use smart devices and digital health tools to improve their patients' experiences and quality of life.
With an increase in chronic diseases among the aging population, senior care digital solutions are rising.
Digital innovations deliver practical solutions in senior living and help caregivers get the support to solve a problem. About 2 million seniors live in senior residential care across the United States, many suffering from a disability.
With technological innovations in residential senior care facilities, many older adults are now more self-reliant, safer, and better connected to the outside world.
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting social distance policies necessitated digital-based solutions in the healthcare sector, including senior care facilities.
According to The Centre for Disease Control, older individuals are at a higher risk of developing a severe and fatal illness if exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
As a result, several senior care facilities had to implement physical distancing measures, which kept family members from visiting nursing homes for quite some time. Although these measures were helpful, they created a situation that had seen older adults feeling incredibly lonely and isolated.
The use of digital communication platforms such as Zoom and FaceTime has helped relatives interact virtually and stay in contact with their loved ones during COVID-19 outbreaks while maintaining a physical distance.
Prevailing and emerging digital innovations in senior care
Adopting digital innovations in senior care like telehealth, wearables, remote monitoring, virtual health care, wander management, fall detection and prevention, medication management, digital communication, and others is crucial. Let's take a closer look.
1. Virtual healthcare systems
Virtual healthcare is one critical aspect of digital innovations that have helped deliver care and connect families. It allows care teams to connect residents with their loved ones and providers.
In this era of COVID-19, virtual care for seniors has become almost a necessity in senior care. Without an onsite physician, several senior care facilities can connect their residents to specialized medical expertise without leaving the facility.
Similarly, virtual care provides a rise in access to care for many seniors. With many specialists experiencing burnout and stress, virtual care can help reduce the load on overburdened specialists and increase access to care for many in senior living.
Virtual care can provide immediate specialized care for many seniors, offering them a crucial lifeline and protection.
2. Digital communication platforms
Communication is an essential aspect of technological innovations that can help improve the efficiency of senior care and enhance the quality of life of seniors.
Adapting digital communication tools in senior living facilities helps to promote family engagements and enhances the lives of residents and those who care for them.
Seniors in care facilities and their families are more connected than ever, with an increasing number of senior care facilities deploying digital tools like FamilyLine.
In addition, some digital communication platforms are an all-inclusive solution for residents to interact and connect with their families to ease the challenge of social isolation. Families can view the health summary of their loved ones and receive notifications of scheduled virtual visits through apps like FaceTime, Skype, and WhatsApp.
3. Medication management systems
Medication safety is critical in senior care — wrongly prescribed medications can be fatal. Workers in the senior living industry face the challenge of manually administering medications safely to residents.
Digital innovations in medication management ensure that accurate medicines are given to the right resident at the right time and lower the risk of errors.
4. Wander management systems
Wandering behaviour is one of the most challenging management aspects in persons with dementia. It is associated with an increased risk of falls, injuries, fractures, and going missing or being lost from a care facility. This causes increased distress in caregivers at home and in healthcare facilities.
Senior care requires technological inputs for better and more efficient service delivery, and a wander management solution is one of them.
Digital innovations in wander management include visual deterrents placed on doorways, loiter and door-ajar monitoring, simple battery-operated door alarms, and sophisticated alarm systems for multiple entries and elevators, to name a few.
Wander management solutions could also include resident ID and tracking devices that help caregivers locate residents who may have left the facility.
5. Fall management solutions
Falls are one of the leading causes of fatal and nonfatal injuries in most senior citizens. In addition, the severity of falls for some senior citizens is far beyond physical injuries.
Falls might cause psychological trauma for some seniors resulting in a reduction of the quality of life for the individual. However, by Integrating medical and technological solutions, senior care facilities can effectively curtail the incidences of falls among older adults.
Digital innovations designed to reduce falls in senior living include anti-slip footwear, grab bars to provide support, and matting with anti-slip surfaces. Digital fall management solutions can also help to notify the caregiver when a resident has fallen for immediate response.
Enhance caregiving through innovation
Integrating technological solutions like these and others into senior care does not indicate a shift to using robots and machines in health delivery — it only means caregivers would be exposed to digital tools to enhance their caregiving experience and the quality of life of older adults.