The benefits health technology are tremendous, no matter a person’s age. Here are a few examples of the best health technology for older adults, including wearables and mobile health apps.
People are living longer than ever before. From 1990 to 2013, for example, the average global life expectancy at birth for men and women increased from 65.3 years to 71.5 years. To help older people live healthier, more fulfilling lives, a new industry has emerged, one which harnesses emerging technologies to monitor health and promote safety: health-related wearables and apps. Their increasing popularity is one indication of the utility and benefits of health apps and technology.
For example, the total number of wearable devices is expected to grow from 325 million in 2016 to 830 million in 2020. Of total sales in 2015, 30% of all wearables were health-related, second only to smartwatches. Mobile apps are similarly pervasive: according to a 2015 survey from the National Institutes of Health, almost 60% of mobile phone users had downloaded at least one mobile health app that year.
Innovation Is Producing a Wide Range of Health Technology for Older Adults and All Ages
Although a substantial portion of health-related wearables and mobile health apps are those which monitor fitness levels, there are many other uses of health apps and technology. Following are four of the most innovative and impactful examples of health technology for older adults, including mobile health apps and wearables, along with a description of the benefits of mobile health apps and wearables:
1. Medical Data Access: the CareSync Mobile Healthcare App Services
Staying healthy is increasingly a function of rapid access to key medical data. Health technology for older adults, and people of all ages, is filling the need in this area. Of the many mobile health apps which provide such access, the CareSync healthcare app is unquestionably among the best. Named a Top 10 Drug App by Arthritis Today in 2016, the CareSync healthcare app offers:
- Medication management, including medication tracking and reminders
- Integration with popular connected and monitoring devices, such as blood pressure monitors, weigh scales, and higi Stations in grocery stores (this makes it easier to collect and communicate your measurements with your doctors)
- The ability to collect, store, and access family medical records, including details about medications, allergies, and health conditions, all on a secure, HIPAA-compliant platform
- Options for sharing information with healthcare providers in preparation for medical appointments to ensure optimal treatment
- The ability to make caregiving for a loved one easier by allowing the caregiver to enter information before doctor visits, share relevant summaries with a loved one’s doctor through the app, and find out what happened at a visit
2. Health Monitoring: Fitbit Charge 2 Health Rate and Fitness Wristband
The Fitbit Charge 2 provides a wealth of health monitoring data for older people, easily and noninvasively. Among its features is an integrated heart monitor which displays heart rate both at rest and during activities. The band also features guided breathing sessions which recommend appropriate exercises based on heart rate.
There's also a cardio fitness monitor which provides an overall fitness level score (essentially an aggregation of individual results) and makes recommendations for improvement. Finally, like other health wearables on the market, Fitbit Charge 2 includes all-day tracking and sleep tracking.
3. Alert1 Mobile Personal Response System (MPERS)
The danger of falling is related not only to the injuries such accidents can cause, but also to the fact that those injuries can make it impossible for individuals to contact help. Alert1 is among the providers which have taken fall detection wearables to the next level by combining home and mobile capabilities.
At the core of Alert 1's functionality is the 1.7 ounce "PAX Plus," a GPS-enabled device which supports unlimited 2-way voice calling. If the device detects a fall, it automatically contacts a 24/7 command center staffed by professionals fully trained in 911 protocols. The PAX Plus is offered as both a wristband and a pendant.
4. Smart Shoes for the Visually Impaired: Lechal Insoles
India-based Lechal has created a wearable device to help visually-impaired individuals (of all ages) more easily navigate their environment. Based on environmental cues these smart insoles are able to detect, this wearable emits gentle vibrations and phone notifications to provide directional assistance. The device also includes a location-sharing functionality so caregivers can monitor and locate their loved one.
More Healthcare Technology To Come
According to the Institute on Aging, nearly one-third of all older adults not living in nursing homes were living alone in 2010. The mobile health apps and wearable health technology for older adults from innovative companies like CareSync, Fitbit, Alert1 and Lechal are helping these older adults live healthier and safer lives. Although predictions are difficult given rapidly changing technology, it's not unreasonable to assume that such devices will become more pervasive, more powerful, and more valuable in the future.
To learn more about health technology for older adults, such as our mobile health app and services to enhance the healthcare you receive, improve your relationship with your doctor, and manage chronic conditions, contact us today.