With technology constantly changing, we want to share a story about some of the latest tech tools that are designed to meet the needs of Baby Boomers and their aging parents.
One area that has seen improvement is in health-care communications, which “still rely heavily on traditional mail and fax machines,” said Dr. Mark Singh, a Boston physician.
A real life example is Angie Rubin who, while caring for her aging mother, was juggling 10 medications to be taken at specific times as well as appointments with nine doctors. Rubin found most of her mother’s health-care communications were “phone-and-fax” rather than “apps-and-Web.”
To keep track of everything, she and her brother constantly updated a shared Google Docs spreadsheet to track their mother’s symptoms, physicians and medications. “The Google Doc was just because we didn’t have a whole bunch of choices,” Rubin said.
This is where Dr. Singh comes in – he recently began a start-up called Hermes IQ that collects, digitizes and organizes medical faxes, test results and reports in a web forum where multiple doctors and patients can comment and collaborate. “A lot of doctors are interested in something like this,” Dr. Singh said. “Anything that smooths the process and streamlines it is something they’re very interested in.”
Here are some other new technology tools that are geared to our growing aging population you might be interested in:
iBOT – Invented by Dean Kamen, it’s a robotic wheelchair for people hoping to age independently. It can climb stairs and raise its users up to standing height so they can reach a counter or a coat rack. The iBOT has not been a big seller because many insurers, including Medicare, will only pay for a fraction of it’s high cost. Kamen hopes in time people will consider it cost effective as it can delay or prevent a move into an expensive nursing home and allow people to work longer.
Lift Hero – Is a ridesharing service for the elderly that can hail a car driven by medical professionals. Lift Hero soft-launched this Fall.
Smart refrigerators – Register when you’re running out of certain items, which can help caretakers keep track of their aging parents’ nutrition from remote locations.
Sensitive floor pads – This technology is now being manufactured to detect when an aging person has fallen or is not following their typical routine around the house.
PillPack – Is an online pharmacy that delivers pills by mail in small plastic sleeves, organized by dose. Each packet is labeled with the date and time to take the clearly marked medicine. The mail-order online pharmacy also makes it easier to organize and change prescriptions online. Company co-founder TJ Parker said he came up with the idea when he saw how nursing homes packaged their residents’ medication. “Almost everyone had this Excel spreadsheet on their fridge,” Parker said. “I got interested in how you could fix that problem.”
On the horizon, innovators are also working on Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids and age-friendlier cars that are designed to enhance driver awareness and reaction times
Read the story here.