With the 85+ population anticipated to hit 14.1 million by 2040 — according to the U.S. Census Bureau — it’s no wonder why the demand for senior care technology and services continues to grow each year. And 2014 was no exception.
This year, traditional senior-care models, such as nursing homes and assisted living communities, were enhanced and reinvented with the help of technology. From low-cost mobile applications to GPS-enabled hospital equipment, technology made caring for seniors more simple, effective and accessible. The following senior care products were among the most talked about in the senior care community in 2014:
Don’t let the advertisements fool you — fitness trackers are so much more than a young person’s workout tool. These wearable mobile devices combine a wristband monitor that can track a person’s movement and sleep patterns with a user-friendly mobile app where exercise, food and hydration can be logged. For caregivers, the relatively low-cost device allows senior patients to be more proactive about their nutrition, fitness and sleep habits. Some of the more popular fitness tracker brands include Jawbone and Fitbit.
Seniors no longer need to leave their couch to get a minor checkup. Video health consultations are connecting patients to certified doctors through a video chat on their smartphones, tablets or computers. For minor health issues such as a cough or cold, these virtual checkups can make life a little bit easier for older adults. Earlier this year, Walgreens launched the virtual visit option on its smartphone app, and American Well has been improving its product.
“Smart” Hospital Communication Systems
Simply put — hospitals are busy. This rings especially true in nursing home facilities, where a nurse’s response time to an emergency assistance call is often vital for a patient’s ability to recover. To address this common concern, 9Solution developed an integrated communication system that allows medical professionals to track a wandering dementia patient’s movement through a wearable tag. Additionally, the system uses mobile phones and smart tags as emergency and assistance call devices, providing distressed seniors with the most immediate medical care.
Caregiver Communication Mobile Apps
Traditionally, connecting caregivers to families is a tricky task, as caregivers remain consistently busy while families are spread out across different cities. In fact, a recent survey by the University of Chicago revealed 54 percent of family members reported that they only hear from care providers in case of emergencies, while 64 percent of family members reported that they wanted weekly and/or daily updates. To bridge the communication gap, CareMerge, a mobile communication platform, aims to help families and caregivers regularly and easily connect with one another.
As our loved ones age, injuries incurred from falling can be a serious concern. One slip could cause a bone fracture, leaving a senior bed ridden and immobile. Wearable devices are now being created to combat this issue. WalkJoy, for instance, is a piece of wearable software that provides caregivers and health professionals with objective analyses and fall-risk prediction. Active Protective, a “smart” garment, when worn, deploys micro-airbags to protect a senior’s hip in the event of a fall.
These five senior care product trends should merely be the beginning of innovative thinking in this space. As people grow older and live longer, demand for these products will continue to surge. So what are you waiting for? Submit your idea today.
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 through the confidential portal now through February 28, 2015.