Technology and the elderly in the post-COVID era
After the intense months of lockdown and all the bad news we have received from nursing homes and residences due to the expansion of COVID-19, it is time to stop for a moment and think about the current model of care for the elderly. And one of the huge challenges that society must take up is to integrate technology into the care sector for the elderly and dependent people, in order to guarantee greater control over their health, while working for their well-being and protection.
Residential groups need to modernize to overcome the reputation crisis
The COVID has strongly affected elderly homes around the world, leaving figures of more than 19,600 deaths in our country, 70% of the total officially counted by the Spanish Ministry of Health.
From these terrible figures we can extract the need for a comprehensive reform in the nursing homes. As Silver Economy expert Juan Carlos Alcaide explains, this reform is based mainly on two premises:
- To facilitate the communication between doctors in residences and hospital geriatricians through technology.
- To work on communication and relationship plans with family members to improve trust.
Our elders speak out: they prefer to remain at home
Life expectancy is growing in our country, and is currently at 83 years. Today, there are 9,000,000 people over 65 in Spain, and it is estimated that by 2030, 1 in 4 people will be over 65.
To this overwhelming figure, we must add that more than 87% of older people want to live at home rather than in residences. A figure that will increase after the Covid-19 crisis, and that poses great challenges to companies dedicated to the care of the elderly, but also to the residences themselves, or to companies specializing in the development of eHealth.
How will technology help companies that manage elderly care in their own homes?
What the Covid-19 crisis has highlighted is that we need to rethink the way in which our elderly are treated in the face of health problems. In the same way, and in order to abandon this ageism that is still present in our society, it is important to listen to them, to know their concerns and opinions on the subject.
The health of the elderly is controlled remotely
In this context, the development of software for health can greatly help to solve these two major problems: telemedicine apps are aimed at monitoring the health of users remotely, in order to avoid unnecessary travel, health collapses and help the user to be monitored at all times.
Home sensor systems guarantee independence and security
On the other hand, IoT systems create intelligent homes specifically for seniors, and work to ensure that our seniors stay safe at home, following their medication, feeding and outdoor routines.
By simply installing sensors in the user’s home, their activity and daily habits can be monitored to ensure stability, as well as providing peace of mind for family members.
In case of emergency situations or abnormal behavior, the corresponding home care team can be moved to the home, thus optimizing their time.
Technology also works for the cognitive maintenance of the elderly
The aim of using technology to improve the quality of life of elderly people should not only focus on aspects of the elderly person’s physical health. The reality is that the development of ehealth software must also include monitoring the cognitive health of older users; both for people with mild or moderate cognitive impairment, and for prevention in older people with stable cognitive functions.
In this case, and to avoid unnecessary trips, the cognitive training sessions are moved to online mode thanks to the use of accessible software and devices such as tablets.
In this way, the elderly perform fully customized training according to their cognitive and cultural conditions, comfortably, from their own home. Meanwhile, their therapists, psychologists or caregivers monitor their activity remotely, and analyze the reports to detect both cognitive impairment and emotional crisis situations.
Post-COVID objectives for the elderly
As the expert in Silver Economy, Juan Carlos Alcaide, explains in his document “España Mayor. Post Covid-19” we have a series of technology-related commitments that we must address.
The idea is that technology will allow us to have much more efficient Home Care services, reducing care costs while the quality of the service and care for the elderly increases.
In this way, and with the appropriate technological developments, we can achieve multiple benefits:
- Independence, security and socialization of our elderly
- Reduced operating and care costs
- Increase the tranquility and satisfaction of the family members
- Collection of historical data for continuous improvement and prevention
In Kwido we are committed to improving the quality of life of our seniors since our founding, almost 8 years ago. We have developed software to meet the needs of the elderly sector in all its aspects (health monitoring, online cognitive stimulation and home monitoring) and we work daily investigating the latest technologies to be more efficient and improve the quality of life of the senior public.