Huong Le Dieu, Lead Product Manager of BLabs at Baracoda Daily Healthtech, on why it’s time to take aging in place to the next level.
The demographics of the world population are shifting: the number of people over 65 has grown from 129 million to 750 million from 1965 to today . As perceptions of age evolve and new technologies become an integral part of our daily lives, adults over 60 prioritize their wellness routines, keeping their autonomy, and aging at home.
While there is already a range of products that make daily life easier and reduce loneliness – such as life assistants and social platforms – the next challenge for the tech industry is to design invisible devices that can monitor the health and well-being of seniors on a regular basis.
By actively monitoring their health, they have a leg up in preventative care and can address anomalies before they become serious.
Agetech needs to be easy to access
For a long time, connected products for the elderly have been difficult to access – mostly medical devices reserved for professional use – too large to install at home, too specific to use by the general public, and, as a result, too expensive to adopt on a daily basis. As AI and IoT integrate our lives, new connected products – compact and affordable, for multiple purposes – become available to provide easier access to health data. However, according to the latest AARP findings, 68% of people aged 50 and over do not believe that today’s technologies are designed with their age in mind .
To create attractive, useful products, and services for the elderly, it is important to take into account their capacities and, in particular, those with different cognitive or physical abilities. No more tiny screens and complicated user interfaces. Generally speaking, these products have to be easy to use. For regular long-term monitoring, data collection needs to become part of the user’s routine, and we all know how difficult it is to create new habits! This is only possible when the user experience is seamless and fits into what they’re already doing.
New technologies that incorporate objects or accessories, such as a watch, a piece of clothing, or a bath mat, are more likely to be easily adapted to the daily lives of the elderly. Some of these include:
- Fitbit is a wearable that tracks users’ steps, sleeping patterns, heart rate, and oxygen levels. This data can be seen comprehensively on their app and tracks any patterns that might be abnormal.
- BBalance is a smart bath mat that collects data daily about weight, body composition, balance, and posture and notifies users if there is a drastic change. The BBalance software then provides personalized guided home practices to help improve anomalies.
- Siren Socks which monitor foot temperature continuously to deliver early detection of diabetic foot ulcers.
- Veri is a sensor that works with an app that helps users understand their optimal diet to improve the state of their metabolic health.
- FreeStyle Libre continuously monitors glucose to check blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. This waterproof sensor is worn on the back of the arm that connects to an app that records these levels and warns of a severe drop in levels.
- Hero is a smart automatic pill dispenser with an accompanying app that will safely dispense the exact dose when it’s time to take a medication.
Aging at home with the right devices
Preventive healthcare is becoming vital for older adults to live longer, healthier lives. Seamless technology helps monitor their health with real-time data collection, synchronization with connected applications, and centralization allowing them to get health updates regularly and keep better track of their metrics. Access to real-time data is a game-changer for baby boomers choosing to live at home as it helps prevent illness and avoid numerous accidents. The more data this age group has access to, the more likely they’re able to continue staying healthy or address areas of their daily lives that might need to change.
Smart devices and software that are easy to use and seamlessly fit into users’ life by providing insights into key health metrics is crucial as the way people age continues to shift. Ultimately, they’re helping people live longer by providing insights into data that was collected only once a year.
A new-found focus on health and wellness after the pandemic has driven increased interest in agetech solutions. We’re already starting to see partnerships with corporations like AARP and its Agetech Collaborative ecosystem, to get smart technology into older people’s homes to help them feel more autonomous and less lonely. These collaborations bridge the gap by bringing more user-friendly technologies that help older generations age comfortably from home.
Larger tech companies and startups are recognizing the growing importance of supporting the elderly population by investing in accessible tools and devices. These innovations enable baby boomers to track their health effectively, fostering a sense of independence. However, it is crucial to emphasize that the support of the community and family is equally vital in adopting these technologies. By enabling seniors to remain independent and stay at home for longer periods, they can enjoy more time with their loved ones – something that we all deeply care about.
Huong Le Dieu
Lead Product Manager of BLabs at Baracoda Daily Healthtech
BLabs is the Innovations Lab at Baracoda, created to incubate and accelerate new ideas for Daily Healthtech. As the Lead PM, Huong helps Baracoda develop game-changing solutions by overseeing all projects regardless of their development phase, ensuring the innovation playbook is implemented, and supporting the core project teams.
BLabs helps Baracoda to shorten R&D cycles, and maximize its chances of success thanks to its unmatched know-how in the IoT ecosystem and our proprietary platform that aggregates all hardware, software, and AI capabilities.