The importance of technology as a tool to aid in senior care is one that has become more and more prevalent throughout the years. We are now entering an era in which the baby boomer generation is finally reaching an age in which health concerns begin to more constantly rear their head. The influx of births in the mid to early Fifties has given way to a massive population surge of people entering their sixties in this decade. This places their parents in the range of eighty years plus. It is in no small part thanks to technology that the average life span in developed nations tends to be grossly higher than their less developed counterparts. The correlation between technological advances in senior care and life span shows as one highlights which countries around the world tend to have higher life expectancy.
The Wiki life expectancy page gathers information from the CIA fact book on which nations have their populations tend to live the longest. Interestingly enough, the top tier spot has been allocated to Japan, which isn’t exactly surprising given Japan’s reputation with new and innovative technology. By 2050, it is estimated that 40% of the Japanese population will be over the age of 60. This has spurred an increased interest in technological development and application for senior care. It is with that in mind that I thought I would highlight two great examples of innovative senior care technology coming out of Japan.
Firstly, take note of the following video.
These robots, designed to improve quality of life in the elderly, provide much-needed reminders and help take the place of traditional caregivers. They provide a form of passive monitoring, enabling additional care for the senior without them needing to change their traditional routine. The obvious aid such technology could give to patients with Alzheimer’s or some other developed dementia overshadows some of the more practical uses like simply reminding someone where they put their car keys.
A more integrated advance in senior care technology comes seemingly straight from the future.
This HAL, or “Hybrid Assistive Limb”, is meant to offer more mobility for elderly patients as well as offering caretakers more strength in patient transport. The device works quite fantastically, by detecting the human’s intentions through the electrical pulses that the brain sends to muscles in order to move them. It is as easy as thinking about moving your arm, and having the robotic arm move for you. While the cost-effectiveness of such technology was not addressed, there is no denying the impressiveness of such advances, especially when they have such a bearing on senior care.