KUUDES — SIX FORCES OF CHANGE
Focus this month: Seamless & Smart
The pandemic affected all age groups but one of the biggest impacts was on our senior citizens. Dealing with isolation, loneliness, and the looming fear of declining health… Not to mention the technological disruption they had to adapt to. Not an easy couple of years for sure (not that it was for anyone).
So, what could we do to help now and in the future? Luckily, new technologies offer us an array of opportunities to try. It’s not just all about healthcare, though obviously that plays an important role as well. Technology has potential to have a much more significant role in creating autonomy.
In pretty much all parts of the world, the. It is estimated that by 2050 the population of over 65+ years old will double itself, or more. In the Nordic welfare states, we are all too familiar already with the notion that the age structures in our populations are growing more and more imbalanced.
We tend to see only the bad implications of this trend in our age demographic, and don’t get us wrong, there will most likely be severe issues that we have to solve. But you could also think of it as an opportunity. There is a growing consumer market there with significant buying power too. This intersecting with the ideal of creating equal opportunities and sustaining the level of autonomy we have even as we grow older, offers an interesting playground for business and technology.
See also: Universal design is good design
What’s in it for me?
Senior citizens are in better physical shape than ever and they really want to enjoy their well-earned retirement after their services to the working life. Freedom and autonomy make us feel younger and we should embrace that. But in the constantly changing technology landscape, autonomy can be a hard value to hold onto. So maybe it’s time for us to rethink technology through the eyes of the elderly. How can we help them remain in control for longer, and live their life to the fullest? There are already a lot of smart options available but how can we make sure they are adaptable to everyone?
The perfect example
Increasing safety and mitigating risks has certainly been in the forefront of technology aimed towards our elderly. Health tech company OneStep is taking on one of the risks older adults face in their everyday lives, and that is falling. Falling is common and is the unfortunate cause of many injuries and even fatalities much too often.
OneStep’s physical therapy app uses gait analysis to help assess fall risk for seniors. It monitors the user’s gait speed and steps per minute, with the phone’s motion detectors analyzing asymmetries in step lengths and stance. The app alerts the user’s care team if it detects patterns indicating an increased for falling. Peace of mind in one convenient package.