Season Two

Tech innovations and the growing grey wave

By 2030, 1 in 6 people in the world will be aged 60 years or over, says the World Health Organization. And the United Nations’ statistics has also stated that the number of individuals aged 60 and above will be around 1.5 billion by 2050. Amidst the pandemic and its near-complete chokehold over the world, we seem to have rather ignored this profound demographic shift as many countries have 60+ persons outnumbering children aged below five.

The pace of population ageing is faster than we have ever seen. And it falls on governments to ensure that their social systems are ready to face this challenge. This aging global population calls for changes in our socio-political ecosystem and demands a seamless integration of services and facilities to ensure happier and healthier lives for our elderly.

This is where technology and its myriad modern versions should come in to extend support to senior citizens. From telemedicine and mobile apps to wearable devices and sensors, technology-assisted living takes on new meaning as senior citizens are now eagerly embracing modern tech facilities and healthcare assistance like never before. Yes, we are talking about age-tech here. A helping hand from the latest technology to improve the quality of life and nurture physical and mental health.

But are we doing enough? Are our companies innovating in the aging industry which has always been seen as a lower-tech audience? Sure, we know the importance of Gerontechnology, we provide technological solutions for the elderly’s independent living in comfort with access to mobility and leisure. Still, there should be more innovation in this segment, and we need to shift conversations around older adults and their new-age demands.

It is high time we thought of more technologies to ensure the well-being our elderly population. The number of caregivers available is never enough to manage this tide of elders. Even at the peak of their health, aged persons need companionship, comfort, and a sense of purpose to manage isolation, anxiety and stress, and keep depression and loneliness away. That’s the reason why the study on the effect that robotic pets made on persons with dementia did not come as a surprise to us.

In the situations where interactions with people become limited due to various reasons, it falls on the society to understand their needs, experiment with new-age technologies and come up with solutions to help them stay independent. For those averse to live-in carer because of the fear of losing their freedom, technology could be the best companion.

Contrary to what many of us tend to believe, technology and senior citizens do get along well. I am sure they would rather learn new tricks and get a taste of smart living than feel left alone and behind as they age. Whatever devices and services that make everyday chores and activities simpler and easier would be their best friends during these years of active aging. I am sure, in the coming days we will definitely see a surge in simpler technological applications including automated chatbots, wearable smart devices, sensors and more.

AUTHOR

Sajan Pillai
Group Chairman | SP Life Care Group of Companies

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