Our Aging Population
Across America, 10,000 people are turning 65 every day. That leaves a growing population in high demand for solutions to complex aging problems. Such as finding senior living opportunities, supporting their physical and mental health, connecting with loved ones, and in all, navigating a new chapter of life!
On top of these new challenges, the world is in a serious digital divide. Technology is innovating at faster rates, with more seniors feeling confused, fearful, and isolated. For context, the technology industry’s target market has not been older people. Therefore, most technologies have been incompatible for seniors. Especially those with poor vision, are hard of hearing, have physical disabilities, and other age-related challenges. Even though aging adults want to use new technology to communicate, learn, and manage their lives, they cannot.
Negative stereotypes regarding seniors’ ability to use technology and inaccessible solutions only scratch the surface of why there are few senior-friendly technologies on the market. And, without these technologies, seniors will continue to be left behind.
What is AgeTech, and Why Do We Need This Type of Technology?
AgeTech is the emergence of hardware and software solutions to improve the lives of senior citizens.
AgeTech can help close the gap between generations in America created by the digital divide. Additionally, it can provide necessary solutions to the difficult problems seniors and society face with the increase in the aging population. Such as aging in place, access to care, and the ability to connect.
Aging In Place
79% of seniors wish to age in their homes. For this to become a reality, seniors must be safe and have proper care. With agetech, seniors can. For example, Amazon’s Alexa and smart home compatible technology can help seniors live independently. Technology like smart light bulbs can turn on through voice commands in the middle of the night to prevent falls. Or, technology like the Ring video doorbell can safely help seniors know who is at their door. In all, breaking these aging in place barriers.
Access to Care
According to the AARP Public Policy Institute report, there is a widening gap between needing and providing care. In 2010, there were seven caregivers to every person 80 years old and above. By 2030, that ratio will drop dramatically to only four potential caregivers. It is important to note that this statistic does not include seniors below 80 years old. What if they also need care? Needless to say, agetech hardware and software, like Artificial Intelligence, can help optimize workers and assist health professionals and family members in caregiving activities. These solutions are available whether seniors receive in-home care or live in senior living communities.
Ability to Connect
As we age, what do we want? According to the United States Aging Survey, the most valued factor to achieving a high quality of life for older Americans is staying connected to family and friends. With agetech, seniors will be able to stay in touch through virtual interfaces that are the most natural to them. For example, voice commands spoken to voice assistants like Alexa work with senior-friendly applications like Speak2 Family. Speak2 helps seniors easily access the internet and send messages to their screen-obsessed family and friends. Depending on the Alexa device, seniors and their loved ones can also send photos, share videos, and video call. In short, Alexa enables seniors to communicate and provides a platform to engage with others in our dominant virtual world.
Want to learn more about Speak2 Family? Click here!
Technology For All
We mentioned three significant facets of agetech: technology to support senior living, health, and communication. But, there is so much more that agetech can do to provide solutions to aging adults. As we look to the future, whether as an innovator or user, let’s make sure technology evolves with us as we age.