Technology has the potential to help Americans live longer, more healthful and more independent lives in several ways, according to a report released Tuesday by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
“This report serves as a guide to the public and private sector to ensure aging Americans reap all the benefits of emerging technologies on the horizon,” the office said. “The rising tide of 21st-century innovation should lift up Americans of all generations and all walks of life.”
The 40-page report, written by the Task Force on Research and Development for Technology to Support Aging Adults of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Technology and titled “Emerging Technologies to Support an Aging Population,” highlights six specific ways that technology could benefit older adults:
- Assisting with activities of daily living and instrumental ADLs, such as eating, personal hygiene and medication management.
- Monitoring changes in cognition and providing mental training to reduce the effects of these changes.
- Facilitating communication and social interactions by improving hearing and strengthening connections to family, friends and the greater community.
- Increasing personal mobility to enable older adults to be more independent.
- Improving access to transportation, be it through vehicle modifications or assistive devices for those who otherwise can still drive safely, or through technology to help older adults more safely and easily use public transportation for healthcare, business and social purposes.
- Improving routine access to healthcare through better coordination of care.
The authors also recommend areas for research and development. The country, the White House said, “stands on the verge of truly transformational breakthroughs in technology that will shape all aspects of our daily lives for years to come.”