Pointer Ware caught my eye as a terrific bridge to connect seniors with technology, and I thought I would share it along with a few comments about why this type of technology is so important. Take a look and read on.
This is not an endorsement of the product, rather an endorsement of its purpose. Based on what I have learned about Pointer Ware, it seems this technology accomplishes a few, very critical things:
1) It makes it easier for seniors to engage in the "connected" world. One of the scariest and most troubling parts of aging is the isolation that seniors often feel from their family and their communities. The second fastest growing segment on Facebook is people age 65+. As people age, they often want to reconnect with people and memories from their past. It has been said that technology breaks down boundaries. As people age and become less mobile, they feel there are more and more barriers preventing them from leading normal, social lives. Technology is an ideal way to eliminate many of those boundaries and help them to connect with friends and family more, without geographic restriction. Anything that helps people overcome the fear and uncertainty of engaging with technology—whether Facebook, Skype, or email—is a good thing. That’s why I like Pointer Ware’s approach. It’s all about making technology accessible to seniors, which can help them participate in the connected world.
2) Technologies like Pointer Ware help seniors live longer in their own homes. Because they feel better connected while in their own home, technologies like this make it possible for seniors to live in their homes longer. One of the biggest arguments for assisted living facilities is that they provide a social structure and community of peers. It is well understood that seniors need this social structure to thrive (just like you and I do—they are no different). However, it is also well known that seniors are happier and healthier in their own homes and prefer to live there as long as possible. Technologies like Pointer Ware allow them to do that, which improves overall quality of life. Of course, there is significant financial advantage to living at home longer, too. Assisted Living Facilities are expensive—living at home much less so. It is clear that there are both social and financial advantages to supporting seniors at home as long as possible.
3) The future of senior care will be enabled largely by advances in technology. As a result, there is tremendous demand for technologies that make other technology more accessible to seniors. It’s all about user interface. To state the obvious, if we make more senior-friendly interfaces to technology, then more seniors will have more ways to engage with technology. As this happens, many new types of services will be able to be provided to this booming population. Senior friendly interfaces will provide launch pads or integration points for new technologies that will help improve their lives. Technology must encourage this.
Many of Ankota’s customers provide Home Health care services, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, or Private Duty care for the elderly. Companies like Vital Partners 365 are leading the way in remote monitoring or telehealth monitoring services, much of which is done for the elderly. Monitoring devices like Honeywell HomMed make it easier for companies like Vital Partners 365 to provide these services. Ankota’s own FamilyConnect is intended to bring family members into the conversation more consistently with alerts and communications from caregivers, supporting one of the key social structures that seniors depend on. Technology and services will continue to meet at an increasing rate to serve the aging population.
The more accessible technology becomes to seniors (and their families), and more comfortable seniors are with technology, the better able they are to participate in their own care. Imagine a world where not only does the technology monitor vital signs and certain activities remotely, but the patient is better able to interact with those who provide their care. People who are more involved in their own healthcare feel empowered and are more committed to the results. They feel safer and live happier, longer lives.
By 2030, estimates say that 30% of the population will be 65+. A few decades ago, the 65+ population made up barely 7%. This presents a huge market with tremendous spending power (just ask AARP!). They simultaneously present a massive burden to the healthcare system and tremendous opportunities to businesses that provide care or create technologies that enable better care. Helping seniors feel more comfortable with technology will provide for better, more creative and cost effective solutions.
As technology better serves them, seniors will live happier, more fulfilling lives.