The World Health Organization has reported that the number of people aged 60 years or older is projected to double and reach 2.1 billion by 2050. With an already concerning caregiver shortage in many parts of the United States, home care companies are in need of a method by which they can increase efficiency and scale their operations to accommodate our increasing elderly population. Fortunately, with the help of recent advancements in technology and innovation, it is now easier than ever before to provide our seniors with the care they both need and deserve. Below, we will explore some of the many ways by which innovation and technology are helping to revolutionize senior care and increase quality across the board.
Arguably the most significant advancement in senior care technology has been the inception of remote monitoring. This technology allows caregivers to keep an eye on seniors without being in the same room or even the same building. Remote monitoring can take shape in many forms, ranging from sensors that detect movement and alert caregivers if a senior falls to cameras that allow caregivers to check in on seniors from afar, and even wearable devices that track vital signs and other health data.
This source of monitoring can allow seniors to stay independent for longer, as caregivers and family members can have peace of mind that they’ll be alerted right away if an incident occurs. For home care companies especially, remote monitoring can be a game-changer, as it allows them to provide a constant watch while reducing the need for in-person visits.
Virtual care, or telehealth
Virtual care or telehealth are options that allow seniors to receive medical attention from the comfort of their own homes, without the need to travel to a physical doctor’s office. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many healthcare providers’ hands when it came to offering a safe, stay-at-home option, and it’s an advancement that’s likely to stick around. This type of care can include video consultations with doctors, telemedicine appointments, and even virtual physical therapy sessions.
Virtual care can be particularly helpful for seniors who have mobility issues or live in rural areas without easy access to medical facilities. This is a cost-effective way to provide care, which effectively eliminates the need for travel and reduces the overall burden on caregivers.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”Leo Buscaglia, author of Living, Loving, and Learning
Smart home technology is another innovation that is transforming senior care. The beauty of this advancement is that it can be used by seniors living in their own homes as well as those residing in long-term care facilities. This umbrella of technology includes devices that are controlled with voice commands or through an app, such as smart thermostats, lighting, and security systems. For aging seniors, smart home technology can make it easier to live independently by automating routine tasks and providing greater control over the home environment.
This technology helps caregivers provide better care as well. As an example, a smart thermostat can monitor the temperature in a senior’s home and alert a caregiver if it gets too hot or cold. Smart lighting can help prevent falls by automatically turning on lights in the middle of the night. And smart security systems can alert caregivers if someone tries to enter a senior’s home without authorization.
Robotic tools can be used to perform a wide range of tasks, from housekeeping to medication management to companionship, which can save caregivers a significant amount of time. A robot companion can both keep a senior company and remind them to take their medication, while a robot vacuum can keep the home clean and tidy. This is immensely valuable to those providing care. On average, caregivers spend 13 days each month on tasks like food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, and administering medication. The ability to save time on any of these tasks can decrease burnout and make a large difference in their daily schedule.
Data analytics have been around for some time, but the technology is continuing to advance and become more valuable to care providers than ever before. Home care companies can gain vital insights into their clients’ health and well-being by collecting and analyzing data from sensors, wearable devices, and other sources. This information can be used to develop personalized care plans, identify potential health risks before they become serious, and track the effectiveness of interventions over time.
Care organizations can operate more efficiently as a result. By analyzing data on caregiver scheduling, travel time, and other factors, companies can optimize their operations to provide better care while minimizing costs.
Thanks to technological advancements, there are countless tools available to help seniors live independently and receive the care they need. For home care providers, embracing these innovations can provide a competitive advantage and improve the quality of care they provide.
Providers that are interested in embracing these technologies can start by evaluating their current operations and identifying areas where technology could provide the most significant benefits. By leveraging the latest innovations in technology and care, home care companies can provide seniors with the support they need to live happy, healthy, and independent lives.
Lance A. Slatton is a senior case manager at Enriched Life Home Care Services in Livonia, MI. He is also host of the podcast All Home Care Matters, a podcast and YouTube channel. The channel recently earned the YouTube Creator Award for surpassing 100,000 subscribers. By subscribing to the show, you will gain access to a wealth of information and tips that can help you provide the best possible care for your loved one. Find it on Apple podcasts or YouTube at @AllHomeCareMatters.