The ever-growing world of technology has even infiltrated the aged care industry in multiple beneficial ways. These new innovations make life safer for residents, and easier for those who work in facilities, such as caregivers and hospice nurses. They also bring peace of mind to families whose loved ones live in care homes.
From data management to augmented reality, here are some recent and upcoming technological advancements that are helping to improve quality of life for seniors receiving aged care services.
Using Technology to Respond to Falls and Improve Safety
The elderly are more susceptible to falls and injuries. Unfortunately, they may also feel a loss of privacy if they are constantly monitored. Intervals between fall checks are helpful, but if a resident were to fall during this down time, it could be several minutes until discovered. Because of this, many technologies are being developed to notify aged care staff the precise moment an elderly person begins to fall.
The alert button is one of the oldest but most dependable forms of safety used in nursing homes. There are generally several on the walls surrounding a resident’s living area—most within easy reach at knee or hip level in case of a fall. When activated, the appropriate staff will be notified and will respond immediately.
Although alert buttons have generally been effective, they do come with some disadvantages. For example, if a resident falls and isn’t close enough to the sensor or button, then he or she must find a way to reach it. This added struggle can increase stress on an already distressed body. That’s where wearable alarms come in as the solution; there are many forms and styles available, but the most straightforward offers an emergency button that the resident can wear constantly for easy access during any type of emergency situation.
Personal alarms that also act as heart monitors are wearable health devices transforming the aged care industry. They can be worn around the neck or on the wrist, and they communicate any urgent issues to staff right away. Watch heart rate monitors are incredibly powerful in keeping track of one’s condition and preventing potential deterioration.
The introduction of facial recognition in security systems has the ability to greatly improve safety for those in aged care. Now, instead of just traditional key codes and swipe cards, many security companies are offering solutions that incorporate facial recognition technology into their software. This is extremely beneficial for vulnerable people who may wander off and put themselves at risk; if they have been flagged as high-risk by staff, technologically advanced cameras will recognize them by their facial features and ensure that any exit doors remain locked. Some apps are utilizing facial recognition technology, AI, and smartphone technology to automate the pain assessment process.
Some health trackers are placed on a favorite chair or under a mattress to elderly people so that they would not have to constantly be reminded about wearing their tracker. As of late, smart sensors that use motion-sensitive cameras and pattern recognition have been introduced which can recognize when a resident has fallen down or hasn’t moved in a while.
An increasing number of aged care homes offer internet access (such as computers, phones, or Wi-Fi) to residents so that they can stay connected with family and friends. Many seniors are also capable of using email and video calling apps to communicate with loved ones.
Nowadays, medical and resident information is digitized for collecting, storing, and sharing purposes. Most trustworthy aged care facilities have a secure digital portal to store data on each individual resident. This includes things like health check results, doctors’ appointment notes, dietary needs etc. By using an app, any caretaker can share every residents’ medical history with other healthcare workers or doctors.
This technology allows care workers and practitioners to enter information in real-time, which saves time, reduces mistakes, and ensures seniors receive the best possible care.
Data collection in aged care homes offers relatives of residents piece of mind. They can inquire about the quality of care and have access to reports, updates, and evidence. Additionally, digitized forms reduce the likelihood that paperwork will go missing between loved ones, staff members, and facilities.
Activities and entertainment
In the last decade, virtual reality (VR) technology has progressed rapidly and is now available to consumers. This news is especially welcomed by elderly people as it provides them a chance to explore different virtual environments while staying home safe.
VR does not provide only entertainment and video games for seniors— it has many benefits that are much more far-reaching. Some of these advantages include reducing apathy and sadness, as well as stimulating physical activity in aged care home residents. Additionally, it can be used to transport elderly people to places they yearn to see but may never get the chance again. VR makes all of this possible by simply using a headset; suddenly, they can visit the seaside, their hometown or any other number of places without ever having to leave their seat. Remarkably, studies have even found that VR can improve and maintain cognition in the elderly.
The potential implications of virtual reality are broad and exciting. Though the technology is still in it’s early stages, we can imagine a future where VR headsets bring people in aged care facilities to the living rooms of their loved ones who live in other countries.
Other inventions use a technology called augmented reality, which is similar to virtual reality but displays virtual features and objects in the real world.
Technology has come a long way in the last decade, and it’s now benefiting seniors in aged care facilities more than ever before. Some of the latest inventions include health trackers that are placed discreetly around the home, sensors that detect when a resident has fallen, and VR headsets that transport elderly people to different virtual environments. Additionally, Wi-Fi is widely available in most care homes so residents can stay connected with loved ones. With all of these advancements comes peace of mind for both seniors and their relatives. Technology is making life easier for everyone involved in the process of caring for aging adults.