According to projections from the US Census Bureau, by the year 2060, the American population is estimated to exceed 450 million, with approximately 94.7 million individuals aged 65 or older. If these estimates are accurate, seniors will constitute over 20 percent of the population. By 2030, all the baby boomers will be aged 65 years or more and represent 1 in 5 Americans.
Senior Care and Technology
The application of technology for everyday use in senior care is becoming more prevalent to meet growing health care challenges. Digital health care startup companies received billions in US funding to specifically design user-friendly interfaces for seniors. They must consider the changes and limitations of fine motor skills, vision, memory, and cognitive issues. Smart pillboxes, fall detection systems, remote patient monitoring, and applications that provide individualized medical alerts to health care professionals are examples of new health care technologies.
Senior Technology at Home
The many seniors choosing to age in place are now better protected by technologies that address:
- Motion-detecting lights
- Smart thermostats
- Smart doorbells with video cameras
- Keyless entry locks to homes and cars
- Smart home security systems
- Personal emergency response systems
Each device is customized to meet the needs of a rapidly aging baby boomer population. The good news is that many seniors use technology in everyday life and reap many benefits.
10 Notable Technology Startups that Benefit Seniors
Companies are spending billions to customize technologies specifically for the benefit of seniors, whether they’re aging in their homes, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities. Some of the most notable startups include:
- Steadiwear is known for its product Steadiglove, a device that reduces hand tremors in aging patients, particularly with Parkinson’s disease, and essential tremor, a nervous system disorder that causes rhythmic shaking.
- Cake allows elderly patients to communicate via a mobile application to vent their feelings about death. It’s a general forum that provides simple answers to complex questions about mortality. It also encourages seniors to organize their personal life before their passing. This paid service explores topics seniors can discuss with their elder law attorney.
- Sway is a digital startup responsible for the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) testing system. It uses a motion analysis algorithm to determine if an individual’s stability is compromised, increasing their probability of falling. Mobile and cloud-based technology ensures patient data collection from any iOS Athletic Profile is reliable and secure.
- Vesta Healthcare uses technology that lets seniors track their medical status with a mobile device. The company is designed for a home care approach and currently provides medical monitoring and care for millions of senior Americans who prefer to stay in their homes for as long as possible.
- Silvernest strives to match the elderly patient population in nursing and retirement homes with younger and livelier roommates to reduce isolation. Proprietary, extensive background checks can find a mutually beneficial roommate match.
- Honor is a shared mobile technology that allows loved ones and friends to track a senior’s medical status. It provides tools to assess their medical progress and determine the rate of health improvement.
- Rendever is a virtual reality technology company that offers elderly patients the opportunity to experience the outside world using virtual reality (VR) display goggles. Even if the senior is confined to a nursing home or assisted living facility, this VR experience allows the resident to travel through technology.
- Zansors uses sensor technology to monitor an individual’s sleep pattern and movement while in bed and respiration rates while sleeping. This individualized and accurate biofeedback determines how much quality sleep a senior requires to avoid physical fatigue. It’s particularly useful for patients who have insomnia.
- Myseismic has developed an undergarment that aids senior muscle strength through tiny motors that act as electrical muscles. They are integrated into the fabric around the joints of the body via proprietary grips that function like tendons. Computer sensors track the wearer’s body movement, and software alerts the electrical muscles in the clothing to activate. This helps seniors who are experiencing a decline in energy and muscularization but still want to be able to move and travel freely.
More startup companies and technological advancements are in development. Meta-data feedback allows for the continual refinement of existing technology systems. Changes in senior health care can provide more options for successful aging.