Part Two – How Technology Will Assist Us
Housing is an issue that causes concern for all of us. Aging parents as well as ourselves realize that there are obstacles to remaining in our homes. However, research shows that most people prefer to stay put in their homes as they age. SO – technology to the rescue. Currently, there are smart homes being created that allow homeowners to control thermostats, have meals heated or cooked some other way by pressing a button! There are refrigerators that will be able to monitor or inventory what food is available and what needs to be replenished. Other items that are now available to make life easier for older people include the Roomba vacuum and the Amazon Echo which through voice activation can allow people to order deliveries to their home and check their calendars! Alternatively, internet based companies are creating processes that alert humans to people needing help doing household chores such as laundry and cleaning.
Technology and Our Health
The Internet of Things will create greater opportunities for older people and their families to cope with changing health issues and remain healthier by helping them track medications, doctor appointments and stay on top of health related issues. There will be the opportunity to have lifestyle tracked which can provide important information to physicians by noting if an older people has changed their sleeping habits or skipping meals. Devices will also be able to report vital information such as blood glucose levels and weight. There will be clothiIng created that will utilize technology to gather information about activity levels and heart rates. Carpet will enclose detectors which can tell if a person has started shuffling their gait or fallen. Robots will also be seen as part of the landscape as they roam the home checking on an older person or even talking to them during the day or at night!
The Downside of Technology
The Internet of Things will have a cost associated with it and give one pause for thought on putting money aside for these new fangled contraptions(a saying from my Dad!) Also, people and companies that care for older people will have to integrate these systems into their program. The upside is that all this new technology will allow us to grow older with our own vision of what that means. For most of us, retaining our independence is most important. I would be willing to bet that given the choice, many people will opt for being able to have an older life that is more than just adding more years to your life. We can all live longer and live better lives!!
How Do We Put More Life In Our Lives?
Most baby boomers today will live much longer than prior generations and the trick to enjoying what some are now referring to as the “bonus years” is to think about how you want to create a stimulating and satisfying life. For most people this will translate into how can I lead a meaningful life, stay connected to friends and family, and maintain an independent lifestyle? The Encore section of the Wall Street Journal answered that question with one word: Technology!
The Internet of Things
The article references something called the “Internet of Things” that will be available to older people and enable them to stay connected, work at leisure, and, maintain a heathy lifestyle. They envision a new on-line service demand industry that will have items in ones home talking to one another. For example, a kitchen appliance will be able to keep tabs on what a person is eating and send the info on to their doctor, people will be assisted in ordering up services they need such as house cleaning to drivers for rides. Clothing will also be constructed that will help people manage and motivate themselves! There will be bumps in the road and some of these are cost and loss of privacy. It seems that the price of these conveniences are well worth the value that they can bring by fashioning a new type of lifestyle that will allow older people to grow older with gusto!
Our New Bonus Career
Technology being developed will only pave the way for those baby boomers who want to work part time or from home. There is a multitude of online classes that promote learning and interview skills. Peer-to-peer companies are mentioned as options for those wanting to connect by offering services. Airbnb, a company that allows one to rent out their home currently reports that 10% of their hosts are 60+!
Maintaining Connections With Friends and Family
Skype and FaceTime already allow boomers to see their grandkids if they live halfway across the country! It is predicted that social media will become more specialized in the future. .. Connected Living, Inc., is an example of an online community that serves to connect older people living in retirement communities with each other and their families. Commercials for online dating services like Our-Time.com are up and running and cater to over 2 million people who are over the age of 50. What I find fascinating is the idea of using augmented glasses in the future. These glasses will enable one to be reminded by virtual messages in their glasses of friends kids names, or what they talked about the last time they saw each other!
More next time about how technology will transform our homes and our healthcare!