Innovations and Startups Improving Senior Care
Senior care technology is rapidly changing the quality of care our loved ones can enjoy thanks to the latest innovations from senior care startups.
Technology is swiftly changing all of our lives. We are increasingly connected, assisted, and even augmented by technology. Innovative tech is permeating all aspects of our daily life, generally improving and extending it.
Senior care is no exception to this tech invasion, revolutionizing many areas of long-term care for the better. Innovative technologies are helping many seniors stay in their own homes longer, and, when the time does come for a higher level of care, other technologies are helping assisted living communities better meet the physical, cognitive and emotional needs of senior residents.
New Trends in Senior Care Technology
Startups active in this space are aware that seniors have many unique needs. These unique challenges and needs have technological innovations focusing on four key areas: safety, essential activities, active engagement, and emotional health.
Many new technologies have dealt with what is often the first concern as we age – assisting seniors with basic safety. Some of these safety innovations include alerts for falls or emergencies, helping seniors find their way home, and managing safety hazards like unattended stoves and security vulnerabilities like unlocked doors.
Other promising technologies are helping seniors with essential daily activities, like remembering to take pills, ensuring healthy food intake, and maintaining hygiene.
Like many who work as caregivers know, effective senior care goes far beyond the physical, ensuring older adults also are cared for cognitively, socially and emotionally. Technology startups are addressing these needs, too, with cognitive challenge puzzles for mental stimulation, remote classes and activities, as well as news and messaging services to support family and friends with social engagement.
Innovative startups are also looking at ways to help alleviate stress and depression in the senior population, with technology that fosters social and family connections and helps strengthen seniors’ sense of purpose.
Here are eight startups that are addressing the crucial needs of seniors with technology – enhancing in-home care, better and safer independent living, and helping our loved ones stay more active and engaged in their communities.
1. Tricella Pillbox
For those living independently, taking pills on time every time is a must. Tricella Pillbox is an app and pillbox duo that connects to smartphones through Bluetooth technology to alert family members even before a dose is missed. The Pillbox has sensors for each pill drawer and a smartphone application that alerts loved ones via alert, text, call or audio if your senior forgets to take their pills.
TytoCare is a startup working to transform the primary care experience with telehealth technology. TytoCare’s telemedicine solutions consist of small handheld devices that can help remote physicians accurately diagnose and treat minor illnesses without the need to visit a doctor’s office. The technology benefits seniors at home, as well as those in senior living communities.
GreatCall is a startup that offers a variety of health and safety monitoring solutions for seniors aging in place at home, as well as for those in assisted living communities. The technology uses special sensors to monitor around-the-house activities and detects falls, monitoring traditionally hazardous areas, like kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms. If there’s a change in patterns or a fall, it could indicate a problem, so alerts are sent to a loved one or case manager. The company reports that such early interventions reduce costs and hospitalizations.
Another firm, Zanthion, seeks to improve “quality of life for everyone” with its own predictive analytics technology. Family and loved ones can be notified immediately of events that impact a senior’s health. Various sensors can be added to the system that measures air quality, heart rate, blood pressure, room temperature, refrigerator temperature, activity level, and more. Notably, the company builds its sensors unobtrusively into jewelry, belt pouches, and wall plugs.
CareMerge is a startup working to improve communication between caregivers and families of seniors. The company has developed a suite of technology and software that helps reduce billing errors and organizational inefficiencies for assisted living and memory care communities, while also offering loved ones consistent communications about their senior’s participation in resident activities and events.
Another tech firm seeking to bring seniors a higher quality of life is the virtual reality company Rendever. Virtual reality, a computer-simulation of three-dimensional images or environments, can help people with limited mobility travel virtually to places new and old. The company notes that depression and isolation are an issue for half of all long-term care residents. However, VR technology can allow seniors to stroll down memory lane by revisiting their old home, favorite park, or wedding location. The technology can also help create new experiences, by visiting famous places like Paris or Macchu Picchu.
7. Intuition Robotics
It’s important for seniors to stay active and connected to family and community, which is why some firms, like Intuition Robotics are working to develop social companions for seniors like Elli-Q. These simple robots can proactively engage seniors with personal updates, online games, video chats with friends and family and more. These robots are getting more and more advanced, with the latest versions able to understand voice commands, body language, and personality characteristics.
Another approach to help seniors feel engaged and connected is that of GeriJoy. This technology startup can provide remote caregivers 24/7 for seniors when their regular caregiver or family members are unavailable. This allows seniors to engage in conversation, receive emotional support, and get personal reminders about medication or exercise when they need it. With technologies like GeriJoy, seniors will always have someone to talk to.
How Can Smart Homes and Devices Help Seniors?
As our loved ones age, they will begin to need more assistance to help them navigate their home and perform their daily activities. Luckily, now there are smart home devices that can aid seniors living at home independently.
From saving time, energy, and resources dealing with daily tasks and responsibilities, to connecting them more easily than ever before, home automation tools enhance the human experience to help seniors enjoy living.
Smart devices such as voice activated assistants, home security monitoring systems, smart smoke detectors, and more, can all be connected to work together to create a “Smart Home.”
Today, there are numerous smart home devices available that work together, creating an “Internet of Things”, allowing seniors to live at home more independently than ever before.
Home Automation Strengthens a Senior’s Independence
Home automation gives seniors their time and confidence back as they gain the proper tools to automate their homes and age in place.
Many new smart devices are senior care innovations created specifically to solve problems that aging people face, such as worsening eyesight, memory loss, decreased mobility, and increased fall risk.
For example, voice-activated assistants can respond to commands like “Alexa, turn on living room lights” to prevent falls, or respond to messages like “Alexa, call my emergency contact” in case of emergencies. Similar voice-activated devices can also be used to set kitchen timers, read recipes, listen to music, or control numerous other smart devices.
These smart devices can also allow caregivers to closely monitor their loved one’s health and home information, such as checking their heart rate monitor from a smartwatch, to watching surveillance camera footage inside or outside their home, to monitoring the thermostat, all from a smartphone or desktop computer.
Before these smart devices came around, caregivers could only check in on their loved ones by stopping by or calling. But now because of smart home devices, caregivers can keep a closer watch on their loved one’s health and home conditions, allowing greater peace of mind for both people.
What Current Products in Home Automation Are on the Market for Seniors?
Smart bracelets, necklaces, and smartwatches live-track a senior’s biometric data from home, such as heart rate and sleep patterns. They’ll alert caregivers of any sudden changes. As data is collected over time, doctors and caregivers can use it to help manage the senior’s health.
Smart Medication Dispensers
These provide important alerts for taking medications that are sorted in a dispenser, with sensors that track what seniors have taken or missed.
Set up throughout an entire living space, wifi and motion detection help monitor health and safety. Caretakers or emergency responders are notified if there is unusual motion, such as from a possible intruder or if a senior appears to have fallen. It also tracks movements to show daily behaviors.
Also consider mounting smart motion sensors to turn lights on and off or to show when someone gets out of bed.
Smart Security System
These devices automatically lock doors and windows within the home. This eliminates the need to remember keys to enter a home, as it is instead securely controlled by your chosen smart devices. Automate this to conveniently lock doors at a certain time every night.
Some devices are designed to interact with each other. A security device might connect to a wearable or a motion detector. If one of these detects that someone is in danger, emergency responders will be contacted. The smart locks will unlock, letting emergency responders enter the home.
When the doorbell rings, a camera shows who is at the door, so there is no need to rush to answer it. Past footage from the camera can also be reviewed.
Smart appliances can be set to shut off or locked after a certain amount of time, or controlled from anywhere in the house. The variety of options make them perfect for customizing safety needs. For example, a stove top will automatically turn off after a set time limit to prevent accidental burns.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors alert someone on their phone or tablet with clear information about where an issue arises within a house.
Comfort at Home
Virtual Assistants and Voice-Enabled Devices
Assistants like Amazon Echo’s Alexa or Google Assistant serve as a hub to control several smart devices, as well as provide information including news, weather, and reminders with simple voice commands.
Smart lights such as Philips Hue provide a more convenient way to control a home’s atmosphere. These smart devices can be completely automated to adjust at certain times and customized in various ways.
Smart thermostats like Nest allow your loved one to program automatic temperature settings based on their daily routines and weather conditions. These settings are easily adjustable from a smartphone app, allowing your loved one to change the temperature without having to get out of their seat.
Some virtual reality tools have even become available to allow those who are homebound to explore new and old places through 3D environments.
These smart tools provide enriching mental stimulation and connection that combat loneliness and depression, giving seniors perspective on their purpose in life.
Senior Care Technology Is an Opportunity
Today’s seniors are living longer lives, and often spending many more years of their retirement at home. When it is time to consider a higher level of care at an assisted living community or memory care community, it’s still critical to ensure that senior residents receive cognitive, social and emotional care that provides a good quality of life.
Throughout these various journeys, senior care technology offers us all an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for seniors and the people who care for them to improve quality of life for older adults, and a way for younger folks involved in these many innovative tech startups to give back to the generations who came before.
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If your loved one is considering transitioning to assisted living, we cordially invite you to come and see The Kensington Sierra Madre Difference for yourself, and how we fulfill our promise to love and care for your family as we do our own.
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