Taking care of the elderly is becoming one of the major challenges that nations all over the world are facing. This is particularly true in nations like Japan where the birth rate is low or even the USA where it is common for senior citizens to live on their own apart from the family.
In fact, places like the United Kingdom are struggling to pay for the care of their elderly and put immense pressure on their National Health Service. With their exit from the European Union, the United Kingdom will also have a smaller amount of cheap immigrant manpower coming into the country, possibly worsening the conditions even further.
One possible solution or at least a step in the right direction can be through the implementation of IoT solutions.
IoT or the Internet of Things can be channeled to provide relatively inexpensive solutions that allow individuals to live in their own houses and their family to feel secure that they are under constant watch and supervision.
Let us be clear, what we are talking about is not placing cameras all over the house in a big brother kind of situation because questions of privacy and intrusion come into place.
An ideal situation would be one where people can be supervised without asking them to give up basic expectations of quality of life.
Howz is a company that is looking to achieve this critical balance. It is offering a solution that works by monitoring the various electrical appliances in the house and sending alerts to registered contacts in case a pattern out of the ordinary is noted.
It is based on the premise that most elderly people follow routines that are pretty much set. It is a safe assumption and individual variations are learned by the company through machine learning and analysis.
Canary is another such company that monitors the temperature, lights and even movement from one room to the other so that any accidents, falls or illnesses can be detected and family/emergency health services can be alerted.
These services are going to be part of a much wider solution if aging populations around the world are going to be able to live high-quality independent lives. There are already services that can reorder medication when they run out without having to do anything and connected health devices are playing an important part in making sure that at home monitoring can be done in an easy and seamless manner.
Of course, the self-driving car may end up being the most important ‘gadget’ of them all, providing elderly people with the option to move around completely independent of anyone else.
The rate of adoption of these services is on the rise and they will undoubtedly help countless numbers of people.