Improved care for the elderly through technology

Aged Care - Patient

Ageing is inevitable. However, technology has given us the opportunity to make the ageing process a lot more tolerable and a lot less complicated. It has helped improve the quality of life for seniors and made it easier for them to go about their day-to-day activities.

The number of Australians over the age of 65 is projected to grow from 24.6 million to between 37.4 and 49.2 million by 2066. As our population ages, it’s vital that we implement the latest innovative technologies that can streamline the way we provide care for our seniors.

Digital technology in aged care

While the aged care sector has adapted to and improved from the use of digital technology, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the implementation of digital systems and remote monitoring. Aged care technology has proven essential in managing the lives of seniors in their private homes, assisted-living homes, and medical facilities.

Aged care providers are implementing technology that allows for better care of their patients through the use of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, (ML), data analytics, and the internet of things (IoT).

The benefits of aged care technology include:

Digital technology has also improved the efficiency and productivity of aged care admin; the switch from paper records to digital records has streamlined how care is provided. Software systems can provide healthcare alerts and decision-making support for caregivers.

Technology-enabled care and telehealth

Technology-enabled care (TEC) and telehealth has become a core service for non-urgent care during lockdowns. The Federal Government recently approved new Medicare items for telehealth consultations, cementing telehealth’s role in the future of our care.

Through the use of TEC and telehealth, access to medical appointments for seniors has become easier. While many still prefer to see their doctor in person, virtual GP calls save both time and money, and remove the risks of travelling. Virtual appointments also mean seniors living in remote or rural areas can contact their health professionals with greater ease and regularity.

The rise in popularity of wearables has also drastically changed the relationship between seniors and their doctors; by using a Fitbit, for example, doctors can remotely collect data from their patient without any extra effort on either side. The healthcare providers are also able to remotely monitor their patient’s vitals and health data and can send out an alert to all parties if an irregularity in their vital patterns arises that could indicate a potential health incident.

Smart home technology has also added great benefits to those who prefer to age at home. Assistive technologies like AI and voice command can be utilised for data analytics, remote monitoring and surveillance, assisting with simple home tasks like turning off light switches, and chatbots to alleviate loneliness.

Dementia Australia has a range of innovative technology designed to support people living with dementia and educate their carers and families. The dementia-friendly home app, for example, uses interactive 3D game technology to provide carers with ideas on making their home more accessible for people living with dementia.

Simple applications for smart phones and tablets can assist with automated prompts and reminders; talking clocks that remind of medication schedules; locator devices that help find misplaced items; hearing and vision aids; and virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Time to get with the digital age

As the trend for older Australians to age at home grows, so too must the accessibility of care and health services they require to live to their fullest.

If your healthcare organisation is ready to take the next step and begin looking into how you can streamline digital services you can provide to your senior clients, talk to the IT experts at RODIN today and discover what you can offer.

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