The world's population is becoming older. In many nations, life expectancy has climbed to at least 70 years. In 2020, the number of persons aged 60 or older will surpass the number of children under five for the first time in history.
These amazing advances result from improved public health, better nutrition, enhanced healthcare, and, more recently, technology advancements, big data, and artificial intelligence to increase healthy life expectancy and satisfy the needs of an aging population.
The proliferation of new technology will promote healthy aging and longevity by allowing individuals of all ages to enjoy better, more fulfilled lives. For instance, technological innovations have been implemented to keep people physically active and enable independent living, such as by detecting falls, smart home technology, early disease detection and management, maintenance of social connections by reducing social isolation, and continued employment.
To guarantee that we realize the advantages of technology regarding aging and longevity, we must create technologies that are inclusive and beneficial to everyone.
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Creating Opportunities For Human Interaction
Senior Vice President of Research Alison Bryant and Executive Vice President and Chief Public Policy Officer Debra Whitman, AARP
Strong social relationships are essential for physical and mental health, and prolonged isolation is akin to smoking 15 cigarettes daily. The greatest impact that technology can have on aging and lifespan is its ability to facilitate human connection.
The acceptance and usage of technology have expanded dramatically, with 44% of people 50 and older being more comfortable with technology than before the epidemic. After COVID, this need to converse digitally will persist. We must harness this potential, develop experiences that facilitate social interaction, and make affordable, ubiquitous, high-speed internet a reality.
The Opportunity To "Age In Place"
Digital technology may enhance the quality of life for the elderly, enabling them to age in place and maintain relationships with their loved ones. In a broader sense, it may assist build an inclusive labor and living environment for healthy, productive lives of older persons.
Utilize Data For The Common Benefit Without Violating Individual Rights
We can monitor people's interactions with COVID-19 carriers, document their location and health information, and keep track of vaccination records and illness histories thanks to smartphone apps. This data is known to anybody who likes to see it.
However, these breakthroughs bring both dangers and rewards.
The aged and those with underlying medical problems have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and the economic and psychological effects of lockdowns and other countermeasures have also been unevenly felt.
Those who COVID-19 has most impacted should not be further burdened by digital technology. Many older individuals with deteriorating cognitive function need assistance making informed choices on consent and other common technological difficulties. Even people without cognitive loss may not be proficient with cellphones and other digital technologies.
Here, the experience in Japan may be beneficial. Japan is a "super-aging society," Consequently, massive amounts of data about the aged are being gathered. This might assist in resolving the issue of a lack of dependable information on the intersection of technology and elderly people.
Multichannel Health Delivery Customized For The Patient.
The greatest advancement for health and longevity will be the humanization of technology to promote happy, healthy aging. This will result from the combined efforts of people and robots. Advanced sensors, health data, and AI algorithms will enable healthcare providers to generate precise diagnoses, customized therapy, individualized health management, and effective monitoring without needing a hospital visit. The hospital will go to you, and treatment will be available everywhere. Individuals will have increased autonomy and self-awareness to manage the activities, choices, and lifestyles that contribute to a state of holistic health resulting from multichannel health care.
Permitting Senior Citizens To Use Their Human Rights Completely
The employment of technologies such as assistive technology and care robots has huge potential to enhance the capacity of older people to live freely and autonomously and to exercise their human rights on an equal footing with others. Robots and monitoring technologies might prevent elder abuse and mistreatment in care settings and give a deeper understanding of their health.
Simultaneously, excessive dependence on or misapplication of technology may result in dehumanizing care practices or produce new kinds of segregation and neglect. We must guarantee that technologies are developed and implemented safely, which necessitates the engagement of senior citizens in their creation.
Universal Access To Medical Treatment
The most essential lesson from the COVID-19 epidemic is universal access to health care, which involves complete citizenship. Technology is neither valueless nor politically neutral. It often divides rather than unifies groups. We must deliberately seek out individuals who do not get the benefits of advancements.
The most essential resource is easily accessible. In Brazil, there were 198 million smartphone users as of 2017. The biggest effect on healthy aging and lifespan will result from developing an app that makes primary healthcare-level health diagnoses readily available and inexpensive and dramatically improves health literacy.
Service For Enhanced Precision Care
The need for aged care services has risen, but the number of qualified caregivers has not. Nursing facilities struggle to gather and disseminate this information to new cohorts due to the reliance of elder care services on the intuition and experience of these experienced caregivers. Because they lack the right incentive mechanisms and legal framework, many nursing facilities are not yet able to utilize data to improve the quality of elder care.
Smart gadgets enable nursing homes to collect elder-care data (e.g., treatment data, rehabilitation program outcomes). The processing of elder-care data to enhance treatments, cognitive ability, and, ultimately, quality of life is also supported by data analytics tools that protect confidentiality. Combining the expertise of caregivers with the power of data will result in improved "precise care service" for the well-being of all older individuals who need care.
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Supporting Longer Working Lives And Improved Preventive Care
With the world population aging, there is a great deal of optimism and buzz around Age Tech — technology designed to provide services to an increasing number of older people, allowing them to remain connected, active, and cared for. With robots performing the heavy lifting and AI giving cognitive assistance, technology also can facilitate working for longer hours, with robots doing the physical labor and AI providing cognitive help.
However, its greatest potential lies in health. As lifespans increase, the importance of good aging grows. This pertains to preventive care, improved monitoring, and early intervention. Together, big data and technology may play a significant role in one of the most lucrative economic sectors.
Featured image: Image by Freepik
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