Technology’s impact on the elder care industry is just beginning to boom says a recent Forbes article that believes a new wave of emerging technologies will revolutionize the industry in the coming years.
One motivating force behind the tech boom is to offset the enormous cost of elder care, which is projected to be $319 billion in the United States by 2016. Maybe the biggest expense in the elder care market is “in-home care,” which can cost as much as $6,000 per month for one senior.
“If new technology can help reduce these costs or hold them off for a few years, we believe the elderly and their families will embrace them,” writes Michael Wolf.
Forbes projects in the next decade many seniors will forgo assisted living communities for in-home care, which is one of the fastest growing segments of the elder market. “In-home care is part of a broader trend towards ‘aging in place,’ which relieves the burden on the assisted living infrastructure,” writes Wolf. “New technologies will help this move.”
The emerging technologies are not just about cutting costs however; they will also increase an elder’s autonomy and quality of life. New tech like “wearable health sensors” that use bio-sensing and sensory networks to detect body vitals, falls and other incidents, will allow seniors more freedom to move about his or her home.
The belief is by embracing these new “live-in place” technologies the elderly will also be able to take more control of their own health and well-being. “The healthcare industry is part of a highly regulated bureaucracy,” Wolf writes. “By keeping the elderly out of the healthcare and caregiver market longer, they’ll have more years (of autonomy) and more money down the line.”
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