In Japan, the elderly take exercise classes led by a robot that talks. Assisted living communities also have devices that keep staff members from getting back injuries and to make things safer in general. Japan’s aging population is driving innovation that will affect a host of industries, and the same is happening in here in the United States.
One category where these advances are having a profound effect is aging in place, a well-documented preference of older adults. New devices make it easier for them to stay in familiar surroundings.
The connected home is straight out of Silicon Valley. Smart technology, such as Alexa, keeps older adults connected to family members and can fetch products for seniors by vocal command. Then there are newer entries such as My Notify from Medhab, a medical alert wristband designed to detect falls. There are wall-mounted cameras, software algorithms, voice-assisted emergency aid, and even medication reminders.
Beds are getting smarter, too
We’ve had a revolution in the bedding industry here in the United States, too, thanks to technology, and it goes beyond adjustable beds. There are all sorts of aids, such as under-bed lighting, adjustable guard rails and “zero gravity” design designed to offer relief to aching backs and joints.
Such beds can help people recovering from injuries, given that transferring in and out of a traditional bed can be difficult, and therefore many older adults may opt to sleep in a recliner. Sleeping in a chair can work for a limited period of time but can create problems long-term such as knee and hip contractures that can affect balance and increase fall risks.
Aesthetics still matter
As older adults age in place, they want beds that that look like they belong in a home, not in a hospital. Yet they still want the raising and lowering features of hospital beds.
The newer beds that come with adjustable features really hit the mark for aesthetics as well as home décor. In essence, they provide the advanced benefits of hospital beds yet look like high-end furniture.
We’ve come a long way from “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up”
If we can land a space module on Mars, we can leverage technologies that help people live where they’re happiest. Because sleep is where the body and brain go to restore and refresh, this is where so much technology is turning its attention. For those who choose to age in place, a great advocate can be your local durable medical equipment dealer. DME dealers are experts in all of the technologies that make aging in place easier to attain and maintain.