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IoT for Healthy Aging: Dawn of a new era in elderly care

Published Date

May 16, 2023

Read

7 minutes

Written By

Sanjana N

In the last decade, the advancements in mobile devices and long-range, low-power technology have revolutionized senior care technology. The introduction of IoT-based solutions has transformed how we care for seniors by bringing intelligent and connected technologies that enhance their safety, health, and overall well-being.

IOT

As per the report by Markets & Markets, the global IoT in healthcare market size is anticipated to increase from USD 127.7 billion in 2023 to USD 289.2 billion by 2028 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.8% over the forecast period with the elderly population being one of the primary beneficiaries of this growth.

The World Population Prospects highlights that by 2050, approximately one in every six people globally will be over sixty-five, accounting for 16% of the global population. This demographic shift poses new challenges, particularly in terms of the well-being of seniors. 

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 75% of individuals aged sixty-five and above have at least one chronic condition, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. These conditions often require ongoing management and monitoring, making IoT technology particularly useful for seniors.

From telehealth to intelligent wearables and IoT home automation solutions, technology is helping seniors maintain their independence, improve safety, and manage chronic diseases. Wearable sensors can detect falls and continuously monitor vital signs, while smart home devices can automate daily tasks and alert caregivers in emergencies. Let’s look at how IoT is transforming elderly healthcare on a technical and worldwide scale.

The Future of Elderly Healthcare: Care for Seniors with IoT Solutions

IOT

I. Telehealth - Remote Health Services for Seniors

Telehealth is convenient and cost-effective for older people with significant healthcare needs, mobility, and transportation constraints to get to a healthcare provider's office. Telehealth enables healthcare professionals to diagnose, treat, and monitor patients virtually, improving access to care. Moreover, it helps seniors to maintain their independence and autonomy.

II. Enhancing Senior Safety – Smart Wearables Technology to Prevent Falls and Medication Errors

Smart wearables technology is revolutionizing senior healthcare by enhancing senior safety and reducing the risk of falls and accidents. Wearable gadgets such as smartwatches, fitness trackers, and other sensors can monitor seniors’ movements and provide emergency alerts.

One of the primary benefits of smart wearables in senior healthcare is the ability to detect falls and other accidents. Wearable sensors can detect sudden movements or changes in posture and send alerts to caregivers or emergency responders. This feature is handy for seniors living alone or in care facilities.

Intelligent wearables can track health metrics such as heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and sleep patterns. Many smart wearables come with built-in fitness tracking features, allowing seniors to monitor their daily physical activity and set fitness goals. 

Beacons and Bluetooth mesh technology are crucial for senior healthcare. By enabling real-time tracking and monitoring, these technologies facilitate early detection of health problems, leading to more effective interventions and better outcomes for seniors.

GPS trackers enable real-time monitoring of seniors’ movements using IoT devices, such as wearable wristbands or GPS-enabled smartphones. This technology allows caregivers to track seniors’ locations and receive alerts if deviations from expected patterns occur. 

III. IoT Home Automation Solutions

IoT devices such as voice-activated assistants and intelligent home systems can automate seniors’ daily tasks, enabling them to lead a more independent lifestyle.

For example, smart locks, cameras, and sensors can detect intruders, smoke, and carbon monoxide and notify family members or healthcare providers in an emergency. Smart home devices can also be programmed to turn off appliances or lights, reducing the risk of accidents and fires.

IV. Chronic Disease Management

IoT plays a crucial role in chronic disease management by facilitating real-time health data collection and transmission. Wearable sensors track vital signs like blood pressure, heart rate, and glucose levels. This data can be transmitted to healthcare providers who can monitor seniors’ conditions and provide timely interventions, improving the quality of care for seniors with chronic diseases when necessary.

IoT devices are being used to automate medication management for seniors with chronic diseases. Intelligent pill dispensers, for instance, can dispense medication at the correct times and dosages, effectively reducing the risk of medication errors and ensuring strict adherence to medication regimens.

Benefits of IOMT in Senior Healthcare

The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a rapidly growing field involving connected devices and technology to improve healthcare outcomes. These devices can include smart watches, intelligent pill dispensers, remote monitoring devices, fall detection sensors, and more. Healthcare professionals can use the data collected from these devices to monitor health conditions, track medication adherence, provide timely interventions, and enable remote care, among other applications.

IoMT holds immense potential in senior healthcare, where it can revolutionize how care is delivered to elderly individuals. Let’s dive into the benefits of IoMT in senior healthcare.

Benefits of IoMT

Challenges of Implementing IoT in Elderly Care: Solutions to Overcome 

Implementing IoT in elderly care can be difficult due to several variables. Some challenges of adopting IoT in elderly care are discussed below, along with best practices and lessons learned in overcoming them.

Challenges Solutions
Cost IoT devices and services can be expensive, and many seniors may need more financial means to pay for them.
Additionally, the cost of implementing IoT can be a barrier for healthcare providers and organizations.
Provide subsidies or financial assistance for seniors who cannot afford IoT devices and services.
Healthcare organizations can also partner with technology companies to develop low-cost solutions for elderly care.
Privacy and Security IoT devices collect personal data, which can be vulnerable to hacking and data breaches.
Moreover, seniors may experience discomfort with constant monitoring and perceive it as an infringement on their privacy.
Establish ethical guidelines and best practices for collecting, storing, and using the personal health data of seniors, ensuring informed consent, transparency, and data security.
User experience The user experience quality can determine the technology's effective adoption. Many seniors may lack the knowledge required to operate and maintain IoT devices, which can lead to frustration and a need for more technology adoption. IoT Devices should be simple to set up and operate, with clear instructions and user-friendly interfaces. By prioritizing user experience in the design and development of medical devices and IoT, we can ensure that seniors and other users can benefit fully from these technologies.
Technical literacy The need for seniors to become more familiar with and comfortable using technology can act as a barrier to the adoption and effective utilization of IoT solutions. Provide education and training programs for seniors to improve their technical literacy and empower them to use IoT devices for their healthcare needs effectively
Interoperability The compatibility between various IoT devices and platforms can be inconsistent, posing challenges when it comes to seamless integration and data exchange. Promote the development and adoption of industry-wide standards for interoperability among IoT devices and platforms to ensure seamless integration and data exchange.

Conclusion

The Internet of Things is revolutionizing geriatric healthcare. Telehealth & smart wearables technology are critical in improving access to care & promoting wellness. IoT can provide virtual healthcare services, improve access to care for seniors in rural areas, and help address the shortage of healthcare professionals by enabling remote monitoring and diagnosis. Additionally, IoT can help reduce healthcare costs, which is particularly important in countries with high healthcare spending. With the continuous evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT), we can anticipate a wave of ingenious innovation and advancements in elderly healthcare solutions.

Ref- https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/iot-healthcare-market-160082804.html

 

About the Author

Sanjana N Digital Presales

Sanjana is currently working as Lead Presales at ACL Digital. She has a total experience of 6+ years in IT/ITES and has worked on diverse Presales assignments spanning areas, predominantly IoT, Telecom, and Mobility (Android) offerings. She is passionate about understanding the new age technologies and leveraging them to address customer problems and pain points, thus impacting their business.

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