In 2018, there were around 52 million people aged 65 years and up. By 2030, all Baby Boomers will be 65 years and older, which means that, for the first time ever, older adults will outnumber children in the United States. These numbers will only continue to trend upwards, with an anticipated 95 million Americans expected to reach 65 years and up by 2060.
For most people, these numbers aren’t anything more than statistics highlighting an increase in the number of older adults. But for the healthcare industry, these numbers paint a more complicated picture. An influx of aging adults puts a strain on healthcare services, primarily in skilled nursing care. Coupled with the industry’s struggle to resolve its current staffing shortage concern, having enough healthcare workers to provide care to an influx of elderly patients could be problematic.
Technology is being heralded as part of the solution to these concerns. Below are a few of the innovations that will help lessen the impact of the aging crisis within the healthcare and senior care sectors.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) technologies give healthcare staff the ability to monitor and analyze their patients from anywhere they are. But perhaps one of the biggest benefits of RPM is that it allows workers to serve a higher number of patients all at the same time. There are several options for RPM devices, ranging from wearable technology that can be worn for an entire day, to permanently implanted medical devices, to temporary tools like blood pressure cuffs. Each sensor is designed to capture critical health information about its wearer. They are programmed to monitor heart rate, body temperature, movement, and sleep patterns. Healthcare workers can access the information they’d traditionally only be able to obtain by interacting directly with the patient.
As people get older, they become less independent and rely on their caregivers to drive them to medical appointments and run their errands for them. Autonomous vehicles could one day be what older adults rely on to get around. This technology still has a long way to go yet, and a lot of people are weary about self-driving cars, but it’s undeniably an innovation that will have an impact on the future lives of older adults.
Interconnectivity and Data
Healthcare workers and caregivers need access to data to get a more comprehensive picture of an elderly patient’s circumstances and care needs. Data helps identify patterns, changes, and trends that can be used to improve their treatment options and also allow them to experience independence as much as possible given their unique condition. As this technology continues to advance, these applications will be able to operate at higher levels and more accurately predict behaviors and information that will transform senior care.
Healthcare workers will always be a necessary component of senior care, but the healthcare industry must embrace technology that can lessen the impact of aging for the benefit of patients and services alike.