It’s also an industry poised for a boom. Forget college dating apps and takeout review sites. With 10,000 people turning 65 every day, the future of tech will be in developing tools to “manage daily drug regimens, cope with dementia, and create communities for the over-60 set.”
In the future, says Stephen Johnston, co-founder of Aging2.0, the age-tech market will fall into seven categories. These categories roughly mirror Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, addressing concerns from basic survival to self-actualization and transcendence.
Schiller cites the seven categories where, according to Johnston, technology can revolutionize the way we age.
End of Life
Music therapy, predictive wearables, and care documentation all help seniors and their families manage end-of-life concerns more proactively and peacefully. SingFit, WalkJoy, ActiveProtective, and Vynca offer ways to ease the processes of saying goodbye.
Johnston believes all chronic illness (incurable, but manageable) will soon be handled remotely. Apps exist, or soon will, for symptom and trigger management, rehabilitation monitoring, even lie detection to tell whether someone has actually taken their meds or not. Current technology includes apps like SwordHealth, Sense.ly, and Jibo.
Technology holds immense potential for making housing more homelike–or at least more hotel-like. Efficiency and comfort are the prime concerns of companies like Generation Capital or Miami-based Room2Care. Even in traditional settings, technology allows assisted living staff to adopt a lower profile in monitoring and responding to care concerns.
Staying mobile is a huge concern for an aging population. It’s strongly linked to feelings of safety and esteem. Current technology includes LiftHero, an Uber-like service that provides rides for the elderly, and SPAN, a device that aids in vertical mobility.
The longer we live, the more challenges arise to meet the costs of the golden years. Airbnb and Uber already provide viable retirement income options, and TrueLink is a debit card with a high level of fraud protection to keep seniors stable and financially independent.
Schiller’s article cites the link between loneliness and disease, as well as experiments abroad that show video chatting can significantly help. Other tech-enable initiatives like Good Gym in the U.K. combine exercise with community services that benefit shut-ins and combat isolation.
Particularly for dementia patients, music is one of our longest-held memories, and research points to its healing abilities. Programs like Music and Memory help Alzheimer’s patients “reconnect with the world through music-triggered memories.” Virtual reality and the internet of things also offer possibilities for physically incapable seniors to experience more for longer than they’ve been able to in the past.
Schiller emphasizes Johnston’s point that “deep questions” are raised by the rise of age-tech services. Namely, efficiency vs. humanity and whether those designing the technology truly understand their target audiences. Overall, age-tech developments seem to offer plenty of opportunities to bridge barriers of understanding and extend quality of life for our fastest-growing demographic.
Source: FastCoExist.com. Silicon Valley Goes Gray: Inside the Booming Age Tech Industry