Even though they’re not widely viewed as being as “tech-savvy” as their Millennial offspring, Baby Boomers are embracing tech at a surprising rate. In fact, 73% of people over 60 use a smartphone. They’re using tech to get the most out of life, especially as they begin to retire.
But Baby Boomers aren’t eager to spend their golden years in hospital beds or nursing homes. Many members of this generation are working well into their 70s; others are staying busy by caring for grandchildren or volunteering in their communities.
To maintain their lifestyles, they’re looking for modern tools. Companies have taken notice of how this generation has changed society’s approach to aging, and a new crop of tech is delivering.
Companies are using tech to target Boomers directly — benefiting both of them.
New Tech, New Treatments
Just as hearing aids eliminated the need for many ear surgeries, new connected health tech is changing the healthcare game for Boomers. Less invasive treatment options allow more Boomers to stay home. Fewer surgeries mean fewer are saddled with onerous medical expenses.
Take congestive heart failure. Traditionally, hospitals treated it with beta blockers, surgery, or even a heart transplant. Now, they’re sending patients home with connected devices that allow doctors to monitor their cardiovascular condition from afar. Built by Myia Health and Mercy Virtual, the devices keep tabs on metrics like heart rate and respiratory rate to prevent complications and potentially eliminate additional hospital visits.
Other emerging technologies are helping Boomers catch conditions earlier, extending lives, and reducing costs for everyone. All of these technologies are proving important as Boomers strive to maintain their independence and stay home.
Tools to Combat Loneliness
According to a recent study, a staggering one in three elderly adults feels he’s lacking companionship. Not only can this lack of companionship lead to depression, but it can also shorten a person’s lifespan.
One tool aiming to lessen seniors’ loneliness is VR. In addition to being used for gaming and fun, VR has great potential to help reconnect aging Boomers to the world and give them the feeling of new experiences.
Rendever is a virtual reality headset created specifically for senior living centers and nursing homes. Boomers can visit places from their past or even see new corners of the world they’ve never had the chance to explore. No matter their journey, VR is helping seniors feel more connected and engaged with the world around them.
Sensors for Safety
Even though 90% of seniors say they want to live at home as they age, it becomes increasingly difficult as their lifestyle changes and their needs increase. In an attempt to avoid moving to a senior living center, many Boomers are embracing sensor technology to help fill at-home needs.
Embracing sensors means Boomers can live at home longer while being monitored for important changes. Connected sensors can help monitor Boomers around the home and provide insights to their caregivers about their daily activities or any changes that could signal a problem.
Sense Silver Mother is one such tool that can step in to track whether pill dispensers are being opened or whether the front door opens at an unusual time. It can also track daily activities and alert caregivers if a routine is missed. With the wide variety of applications for sensors, it’s no surprise that the senior care industry is ripe with potential for them.
Tech Can’t Do It All
As Baby Boomers embrace technology, they must remember it’s only a tool. The insights the tech provides are what’s most valuable. How those insights are used can be essential to their care.
At the same time, the tech shouldn’t push caregivers or healthcare providers toward a hands-off approach. Data streams are powerful monitoring tools, but they’re only useful when they’re reviewed regularly. Regular check-ins are still necessary to ensure care is sufficient and a senior’s lifestyle is where he wants it to be.
As tech makes the jump from healthcare facilities to homes, Boomers are benefiting like no generation before. They’re living longer, working longer, and avoiding the dreaded nursing home. For the rest of us, emerging tech means more reasons than ever to look forward to retirement — and get excited about what our companies can do.