The U.S. is growing old fast, and as a result, senior care products are more in demand than ever before. By 2029, 20 percent of the U.S. population will be composed of people aged 65 years and older, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And our seniors’ desire to live independently grows stronger and more urgent each year.
Studies show the vast majority of older adults want to “age in place,” which means they hope to live in their homes and communities safely and comfortably as they age. Currently, 93 percent of Americans aged 65 years and older live on their own, while only 3 percent reside in assisted living facilities, and 4 percent in nursing homes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
For older adults living independently as they age, their ability to perform daily activities slowly diminishes over time. Little things such as preparing a meal, bathing or using the bathroom on their own suddenly becomes a serious challenge. Because of this, a new wave of aging-in-place products, strategies and adaptations are becoming paramount in making an older adult’s home safer and easier to navigate.
The most talked-about aging-in-place product trends tend to intersect technology and common household items, and there is a continued need for senior-care products with improved ease of use. The following products are the most widely discussed in the aging-in-place community:
Medical providers and caregivers can use small, wearable devices as discreet monitoring systems for their senior patients. These sensors, which are applied directly to a patient’s body, pick up a person’s heart rate, blood pressure and sleep patterns, while tracking changes in behavior.
While these sensors are great in tracking a senior’s health, the adhesive application and removal process can be challenging and painful for some older adults. In this regard, there is room for further product design innovation.
Emergency Alert Devices Featuring GPS
Emergency alert and response systems have come a long way since the days of pulling a bathroom cord or pressing a stationary button. Today, these emergency alert devices are smaller, easier to carry and can feature GPS and Bluetooth technology.
When used properly, this technology undoubtedly allows for quicker emergency response times. But for many seniors, mobile technology is complicated and difficult to use. In a high-stress situation, sending out an alert for help needs to be as simple as it is accessible.
Discreet Disposable Incontinence Products
The topic may be taboo, but the reality is, incontinence is a common problem among the aging population. Traditionally, embarrassing and bulky “adult diapers” may leave some seniors feeling self-conscious. However, by improving existing incontinence products — including the removal and disposal process — older adults will be more comfortable and feel discreet.
Remote Medication Management
This kind of technology allows a physician, pharmacist, or other care practitioner to remotely manage a patient’s prescriptions and dosage. The device emits an audible and visual alert when it is time for the patient to take their medication and can even provide accurate prescription dosages for the person in need, according to Community Health Systems.
As is the case with any form of medical technology, adapting the tools to specific senior needs will be essential in maximizing the product’s effectiveness. Doing so will allow seniors to age in the comfort of their own home.
Edison Nation Medical is searching for innovative product ideas to improve the health and wellness of the senior population. Promising ideas uncovered throughout this search will be presented to leading medical device manufacturers and healthcare retailers with whom Edison Nation Medical has partnered to improve the lives of individuals 65 and older. Idea submissions may include devices, technologies or apps. The search is open to the public, and Individuals and small businesses from around the world are encouraged to submit inventions portal at www.EdisonNationMedical.com/Seniors now through February 28, 2015.