The emerging field of geroscience aims to extend the length of time a senior is healthy and active, so that feeling like you’re in your fifties when you’re actually in your nineties will become commonplace. For instance, research shows that calorie restriction (CR) may increase longevity and delay death. In animals, CR appears to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, as well as slow nerve degeneration.
Living in good health for as long as possible is, of course, a positive. But is the potential life extension worth day-to-day privations? While telomere research indicates we may indeed be able to turn back the hands of time at some future date, such longevity breakthroughs could make funding these additional decades problematic.
Rather than attempting to slow the inevitable, there are smarter moves seniors can take to augment aging.
Reverse aging or reverse mortgage?
Instead of attempting to reverse their years, older adults can capitalize on their seniority with a reverse mortgage, which will add life to their years (if not necessarily years to their life) with a sense of financial security, knowing their home equity can provide cash as needed in later life.
As science investigates the grander issues, the tech community is equipping aging with apps for every eventuality. Baby Boomers are the hottest startup market: the youngest Boomers are already 52; the oldest are turning 70. Many have already retired, or will soon.
Apps that do for mom what mom used to do for you
Hot services include senior move managers, who help older adults downsize perhaps a half-century of belongings, to meal kits for people with diabetes or heart conditions, to comfortable and stylish electric bikes built with older bodies in mind. One ambitious designer envisions bots that can handle both household budgets and “buttinski” neighbors.
As we’ve explored before, Millennials are typically the force behind these entrepreneurial ventures — the children and grandchildren of those now retiring or already retired. In fact, a popular witticism driving innovation in Silicon Valley is, “What is my mother no longer doing for me?”, which has fueled numerous startups that offer food, laundry and cleaning services.
One article focused on elder care on-demand states, “The time has come to ask not what another mommy app can do for you, but what an app could do for your mommy.” Creative digital natives are answering the call.
For example: is arthritis making it more difficult for a senior to enjoy her morning coffee? Jamber developed an ergonomic mug made for elderly hands that allows people to grip the handle in a relaxed position, so seniors can confidently lift the mug — even with arthritis or other physical challenges — and be assured of fewer spills.
Hearing aids not helpful here? Use your iPhone
One of the most welcome senior apps is an engineering marvel that supplants hearing aids when someone is in a noisy public space (such as a restaurant) and needs to be able to converse. In lieu of typical hearing aids, the user needs only an iPhone, today’s ubiquitous earphones, and a good quality microphone.
While most personal sound amplification products (P.S.A.P.s), are unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration and tend to do little more than amplify, rather than clarify, sound for the hearing impaired, the Jacoti ListenApp is an FDA approved medical device that functions as a standalone software hearing aid. Coupled with the iPhone’s outstanding audio specifications, a plug-in directional microphone and quality earphones, “you can hear really well in situations where even a hearing aid doesn’t work so well,” says Richard Einhorn, a 63-year-old composer who lost most of his hearing due to a virus in 2010.
Whatever science may ultimately do to extend life, technology is already light-years ahead in extending quality of life, so your reverse mortgage clients and prospects can enjoy their elderhood with more of the ease and comfort they remember from their younger years.