Monday, December 5, 2022

How utilizing technology could ease senior care at home

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The estimated 73 million individuals who make up the baby boomer generation are projected to reach age 65 and older by 2030. The overall aging of the U.S. population accompanies the need for increased home care technology for seniors. This concern was explored at a Parks Associates’ Connected Health Summit 2022 session, Seniors and Caretakers: Living Independently.

The event focused on gathering and using data, remote patient monitoring devices, and repurposing existing technologies to keep individuals safe at home and to ensure cost-effectiveness and efficiency with in-home care.

“We really do see a big demand for technology that can proactively identify and respond to problems,” said Brandon Neustadter, vice president of sales for Kami Vision and KamiCare, a vision-based AI file-management solution that detects and responds to falls. 

Implementing preventative care and home sensors for detecting when a senior falls was also touched upon by Andy Droney, senior director of ADT Health, in his keynote. 

Droney said ADT is evaluating how it can reimagine its traditional sensors and systems deployed within the home to assist in elderly care and potentially draw inferences to predict incidents.

“You think about activity levels, water consumption. Is medicine being taken? How long or how well people are sleeping? How many times are they getting up during the night? And gathering all that data together and providing potential insights,” Droney said. 

“Maybe a combination of data that we receive doesn’t necessarily require an ambulance, but it may require somebody to check in on somebody. Maybe it’s not even that we saw some strange things in the data that we got, but it’s what’s happening: Are you feeling okay? How can you intervene in that up front and either get a telehealth visit or get somebody to an urgent care, to their doctor, versus having to send them to an emergency room or send an ambulance to come out and pick them up?” 

Remote patient monitoring and leveraging devices for the benefit of caregivers and seniors within the home was a continuing topic throughout each session, as was the rise of telehealth services.

“The pandemic illustrated the need to make communities much more livable. That means having the services and amenities and features available to individuals in their homes and large communities to help support people as they age,” said Shannon Guzman, director of housing and livable communities for AARP. 

AARP developed a tool called the Livability Index, which assessed communities for features like accessible healthcare services and high-speed internet, important for telehealth visits. 

“There’s this aspirational view of technology and what it’s capable of, whether it’s RPM and telehealth or other technologies that work both in our senior communities and in people’s homes. But there’s also a gap that has not been filled yet. That is the digital divide that we all need to focus on, as well and understand how we can best bridge that so that these technologies can really achieve their maximum efficacy,” said Michael Skaff, chief information officer at Jewish Senior Living Group in San Francisco. 

Still, “all these things are interconnected,” said Adam Greene, CEO and founder of Klaatch, a data-driven company focused on individual and community social connection. 

“I think what’s important going forward is people really need to be open to collaboration and to come to the table with that view, because I think there is amazing technology out there right now. It’s developing all the time,” he said.

“Seniors are showing that they’re willing to adapt to that technology if it’s introduced in the right way. I think if we start to work together more, integrate our activities more, the likelihood that we can build up what I would call a new infrastructure of community really goes up.”



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