Tony Kim, UCLA
For years we have witnessed the way technology shapes and changes people's lives. Now, more than ever before, the way we age is being challenged by the tech revolution.
Aging-in-place technology, for instance, is currently a $2 billion industry, and it’s projected to rise to $30 billion by 2020.
Perhaps the largest consideration when discussing senior-focused technology, is its impact on communication and social engagement – both essential to keeping older adults integrated into society.
There are more ways for older adults to communicate with the outside world than ever before. Online education, virtual chat, e-mail, and increased mobile phone availability have made it possible for seniors to stay connected with their community and actively seek out activities that promote well-being.
Innovative services and technology promote social engagement, safety, and a healthy lifestyle for seniors. Built-in security and communication systems give families peace of mind, health management apps help ensure that older adults remember to take medications, and personal tech devices can help older adults monitor their health conveniently at home.
Additionally, the “health-tech revolution” brings your doctor to you at home through remote patient monitoring technologies. Routine services that doctors traditionally have provided in their office, viewing medical records, and getting test results, can all be done conveniently through virtual channels.
It’s also easier to get second opinions when all you need to do is send your test results to another doctor on a secured connection. Specialists who are in different cities or countries can even consult with one another “face-to-face” without ever leaving their office.
The potential to enhance older adults’ lifestyles exists and continues to expand. The task is to acclimate the senior population with the tools and rid society of ageist prejudices that inhibit innovation. Since we are all going to age, let’s consider technology and innovation as an investment for our future selves.