Posted May 30, 2017 by admin in articles

The Internet of Things, Senior Care, and the Future

The internet of things, or the way physical devices capable of being connected to wireless internet are operated and used, could very well mold and directly impact several aspects of future society. Perhaps the most notable of these aspects is the way seniors are cared for and aided as they slow, physically and/or mentally, due to their age. Furthermore, the entire senior-care industry may be revolutionized by the internet of things, just as wider spheres like driving (with automatic vehicles), entertainment (with artificial intelligence), and several others are currently being revolutionized. The long-term benefits of this potential technological revolution appear promising.

Let’s take a look at how exactly the internet of things is changing the way seniors are cared for now, and its potential impact on senior care in the future.


Fully Automated Home Maintenance
One of the largest hurdles for many seniors is home maintenance—specifically, the process of navigating to each room in a house and completing the tasks other, younger persons take for granted. The potential for the internet of things to completely automate home maintenance is both significant and presently developing, largely in the form of centralized AI.

For instance, Amazon’s Echo is an automated, voice-controlled unit that can perform a tremendous number of home-maintenance functions, in addition to playing music, providing news and weather information, ordering products from and local businesses, and much more. Specifically, just some of the Echo’s home-maintenance functions include the ability to adjust thermostats, control fans, control lights, activate sprinklers, control pipe usage, and much more (of course, these devices must be of the “smart” variety). That the unit can be so easily paired with other “smart” products, and that many other, big-name companies (including Google) are making or have already made envelope-pushing AI devices of their own is a sizable consideration, for society generally and senior citizens.
What’s more is that these considerable benefits can also be enjoyed by seniors residing in care facilities and nursing homes.


Lower Care Costs, Saved Money


Money is an important component of each senior’s decision-making process, and unfortunately, it sometimes supersedes wellbeing. A considerable majority (more than 65%) of American seniors presently carry debt, according to several studies. While this undoubtedly means the majority will need to take steps to reduce debt (namely limiting spending), a large chunk of the other 35%, those seniors without debt, may need to carefully monitor their spending to avoid falling into debt.
Enter the internet of things. The reality of the previously mentioned technological benefits and their role in improving the care quality and independence of seniors is that they also save substantial sums of money in the long term, compared with the costs of human assistance for the same functions. Smart pipes can regulate water usage, smart lights can regulate electricity usage, and smart thermostats can regulate energy usage; once again, all of these units can operate on their own, or can be controlled through a centralized, voice-operated AI product.
Furthermore, products from entertainment to food and everything in between can be ordered and promptly delivered to one’s doorstep. Given the rise of grocery-delivery services, this means food, beverages, care products and more will never be difficult for seniors to obtain—in tumultuous weather, because of personal difficulty, or otherwise—with the internet of things. Of course, these services are affordable, when compared with the costs of hiring humans to shop!
The long-term financial benefits of the internet of things cannot be understated—especially for senior citizens.


Peace of Mind

Over one third of seniors living outside nursing homes reside alone, in the US; similar numbers can be found in nations all around the globe. As such, the mentioned convenience, independence, and finance-aiding benefits are important, but they may coordinate to create the most significant benefit of all: peace of mind.
Living alone, living with a partner and being fully aware of the potential pitfalls of the senior years, or residing in various private practices can be difficult to say the least. There’s something inherently comforting and relaxing in being able to call for help instantly—to rely on something essentially infallible—in the internet of things.


The internet of things has already started to fundamentally alter senior care for the better, and with time, it’s certain that these changes will further grow, expand, and evolve.

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