Technology Transforms Lives of Seniors with Disabilities
by Jackie Writing
Over 25 percent of American seniors aged between 65 and 75, and 50 percent of over 75s, live with some form of a disability. People with disabilities experience all kinds of barriers every day, but this can become even more apparent the older we get. Technology, however, is responding to the needs of older people with disabilities on an enormous scale.
Assistive devices market worth $14 billion
The global assistive devices market targeting seniors and those with disabilities was valued at $14 billion in 2015. It is predicted to exceed a remarkable $26 billion by 2024. These technologies can have a significant effect on tackling the issue of social isolation that often comes from experiencing mobility restrictions or being housebound.
What is assistive technology?
Assistive technology is a service or tool designed to help seniors who have difficulty communicating, handling routine tasks or just simply getting around. With a rapidly aging global population and an increase in chronic diseases, over 2 billion people will eventually need at least one assistive product by 2050, with many older people needing at least two.
Technology and assisted living
The assisted living sector has begun to recognize the important role technology now has in supporting older people with disabilities. Many new facilities are incorporating technology into their service as a priority. Over recent years, an increasing number of assisted living facilities have been keen to embrace the technology revolution for all older people, but particularly those with a disability.
40% of all seniors are already online
Many facilities now include regular technology programs into their residents’ daily routines to help keep all residents safe, connected, mentally active, while still promoting independence. And the demand is there. Across the older population, including those seniors with a disability, around four in ten use the internet regularly. Many use it to keep in touch with relatives and friends while helping to improve their social skills and self-esteem.
New innovations transform quality of life
Even for those seniors without a disability, eventually, most will need help with daily chores and everyday activities, which is why technological innovations are transforming the quality of life for all older people. Whether it’s assisting with daily household tasks like vacuuming to sensor technologies or reminding someone to take their medications each day.
Japan using robots to help with senior care
But Japan has gone one step further and are using robots to help with caring for their elderly. The Japanese government has been funding the development of elder care robots to help fill the country’s shortfall of carers and specialized workers. From a robot furry seal which residents can pet, a humanoid robot that gives exercise classes to walking rehabilitation equipment, that helps seniors with their walking and balance.
SeniorsWhile assisted living environments in the US may not be looking to introduce robots into their facilities quite yet, they are recognizing the crucial role that technology plays in the lives of seniors, especially those with additional disabilities.