Telerehab? Networked Elder Care?
If you’re over 50, you’ll likely recall the 1960s television comedy, “Get Smart”, in which a bumbling secret agent used a panoply of “high-tech” devices to win the day in each episode. While many visionary ideas employed by the show (think of Maxwell Smart using his shoe or tie as a cell phone) have since come to pass in a more functional form, today’s tech can help seniors even more than it helped Agent 86.
Smart phones. Smart cars. Smart clothes. Smart health care.
How “smart” are the seniors your reverse mortgage business serves when it comes to the tech support? We’re not talking about calling a computer helpline. The Internet of Things (smart, connected devices or objects) is exploding at a mind-blowing rate: in fact, eight years ago there were already more objects connected to the Internet than people! And by the close of 2015, there were 9 billion connected objects, from smart phones to smart cars to smart clothes. By 2020, this figure is projected to exceed 50 billion.
You may be scratching your head about smartwear. At the moment, sports enthusiasts are leading the trend toward smart clothing, with sensor-infused shirts, shorts, sports bras and socks that provide biometric data on muscle activity, breathing rate, and heart activity zones (all data not currently tracked by fitness bands or smart watches). But think about what this could mean for the senior population, especially as people become frail or develop memory loss.
In fact, elder care itself has gotten smart, as companies such as SmartCare Consultants and Care at Hand demonstrate. After watching three family members deal with serious illness that required constant care, with his grandmother unable to call for help in a medical emergency, SmartCare Consultants founder Bryan Jefferson created round-the-clock, transparent care that introduces groundbreaking technology into residential care communities, from networked devices to cloud data analysis that provides immediate, timely reports.
Care at Hand takes smart health even further. After his great uncle’s health rapidly failed, Care at Hand co-founder Jeffrey Levy created a platform that allows non-medical personnel to use evidence-based smart surveys to predict and prevent hospitalizations. In this touching story, Levy describes how his mother, with zero clinical training, was able to use Care at Hand to monitor his father’s health status in the aftermath of a medical emergency, detect a developing blood clot, alert his physician, and prevent another trip to the ER.
Telerehab? It’s the Best Program on TV
What about a senior who suffers a fall and needs rehabilitation to get back on their feet, literally? This used to be a conundrum: if a senior needed physical therapy, but had no way to get to the rehabilitation center because they were unable to drive, they would either need residential care in a rehabilitation center, or hope they could find a physical therapist who makes house calls.
RespondWell has this handled. The telerehabilitation software helps patients go through rehab via TV. As we noted in The Rejuvenating Effect of Tech, while this breakthrough was not designed specifically with seniors in mind, it’s a boon to an older population.
And if a senior is healthy and wants to remain so? Wearable tech such as fitness trackers keeps seniors walking and accountable, prompting one 62-year-old to “triple her daily mileage, improve her diet and shed 13 unwanted pounds she’d carried around since her first child was born.” That’s a pretty good ROI for a small device.
No doubt Maxwell Smart would approve.
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