Don’t panic if you are getting old and frail and need someone to monitor you at home – there’s an app to do that for you.
The latest technology buzz word is ‘age in place’ and means adapting technology to help older people stay in their homes while family and carers can keep a remote eye on them.
Some big brand names are behind the latest developments in the field, including electronics giant Samsung.
The fact that is not lost in boardrooms and with entrepreneurs is that the world has an aging population.
People are living longer because of advances in medicine and living better lifestyles with an improved diet.
Easy mode for the elderly
In 1948, the average British man was expected to live just two or three years after collecting their pension at 65 years old.
Now, an average British man reaching retirement has a life expectancy of 77 years old – and younger men can expect to live even longer.
The target for business is not to design gadgets and games for aging users who are losing their eyesight and speed of reaction, but to adapt gadgets to help with their care.
Surprisingly, Samsung has already included an easy mode for the elderly in their S4 smartphone handset which gives larger keys and text to make the phone more accessible to someone with eyesight problems.
The Claris Companion is a Canadian tablet that alerts users to take their medication – and the alert won’t go away until the user takes action to switch it off.
If the user fails to respond after a few minutes, the tablet sends a text message to a relative of neighbour to let them know something might be wrong.
eCaring is a browser-based healthcare program for carers and families that monitors precise information about a patient.
The software detects changes in vital signs, eating and toilet patterns and can send email or text alerts to carers.
As more tech-savvy people get older and retire, their tablets will become a lifeline to the outside world and let them remain in their own home for longer, rather than retreating to a care home.
Certainly, tablets can be adapted as monitoring devices to keep an eye on loved ones – but they are also communications devices that can keep families and friends in touch by video conferencing, email or texts.
No wonder the electronics industry sees developing an app for growing old as one of the big areas for developing technology solutions.