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Guest Blog: How the Internet Has Changed How Society Cares for Seniors
Today’s technology is not only for the young. The digital age has brought with it innovations which aim to benefit seniors. A new age of Internet of Things (IoT) devices has made senior care better, more efficient and less costly. It aims to eliminate isolation, which has been a major concern for many years. It has provided caregivers in the healthcare industry a tool to allow seniors to be more independent and remain connected with friends and family.
When it comes to senior care, the IoT is revolutionizing the way seniors are living their lives. Assisted living communities are using the internet to connect and humanize senior care. Communities such as the K4Community leverage technology to make seniors’ life simpler, healthier and happier. These communities integrate IoT wearables such as watches or belt clips. They also have floor sensors that provide real-time monitoring to prevent falls and other injuries. Other types of sensors monitor heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels to immediately alert caregivers when there’s an emergency.
To lead a healthy, active lifestyle, IoT devices go beyond the standard activity trackers. Devices are more targeted towards the individual’s needs, alerting them when to rest, whether they’re standing up or down too fast and when to give their knees a break. Food and hydration is also considered, with wearables reminding seniors when it’s time to eat and how often to drink to maintain proper hydration. When it comes to sleep, sensors can also alert caregivers whether a senior needs help getting in and out of bed. With the internet being all about connection, keeping seniors in contact with friends and family is one of the best things the IoT can provide to improve senior health. Seniors are spending more time online, using social networks and other platforms to connect with loved ones.
This trend is only going to get more prevalent. Research shows that using the internet makes people happier and increases life satisfaction, especially for seniors. A study published in the Journal of Computers in Human Behavior shows that life satisfaction was much higher among seniors who use the internet than those who don’t. The ability to keep in touch and prevent the cycle of loneliness and isolation in an advanced age has done more for senior health than any medication. It is no wonder then that internet use among seniors rose from 8% to 34% between 2003 and 2012, as cited by the Journalist’s Resource. The empowerment that the internet and technology have given seniors is invaluable to their health. Such developments revolutionized the way society and healthcare providers care for the elderly.
With Baby Boomers contributing to an increasingly aging population, the need for caregivers and connected assisted living communities is becoming greater than ever. In order to provide quality healthcare to seniors, healthcare is not just about technology but also about the people who provide it. Maryville University details how general healthcare workers can specialize in senior services to provide care for an aging population. Healthcare and senior care are becoming two of the fastest-growing industries. Boosted with the aid of technology and IoT devices, they provide a way to create a better quality of life for seniors, while reducing the costs of healthcare at the same time.
Article submitted by Tanya Olivers
Guest Blog: Anticipating, Planning, and Financing Your Long-Term Care Needs
According to the Motley Fool, 69 percent of Americans will need long-term care one day. While this statistic may look scary, you can overcome these fears by preparing for that eventuality ahead of time. As long as you have thought ahead, long-term care does not have to be a financial or emotional burden on you and your loved ones. Senior Care Central brings you some tips and resources that can help you prepare for long-term care.
How to Finance Your Long-Term Care Needs
The best long-term health plan works to prevent it from being needed and plans for the eventuality that it will. Even as you change your home and lifestyle to decrease your chances of ever having to fund long-term care, you need to know where those funds would come from.
There are a few options available to you, each with their pros and cons:
- You could simply set money aside for this purpose. If you choose to do this, it is worth understanding exactly how much money you need to save. The main benefit is that you will only ever spend as much money as is needed. The downsides are that you may find it harder to save for other expenses and that you can only really guess a target figure.
- You can purchase long-term care insurance. The main benefit is the ease of mind that comes with it, but it can add up to a lot of money over the years. This article by Nolo details the pros and cons in more detail.
- You can rely on existing health insurance, such as Medicare. Medicare can help fund some healthcare, but it does not cover what they call “custodial care,” which are the services associated with any form of assisted living. Seniors are often best off signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan, which can offer additional coverage for prescription drugs and vision, dental, and hearing care. Just make sure you sign up during the yearly enrollment period.
How to Anticipate and Plan for Long-Term Care
Being smart about long-term care means facing the issue head-on and trying to determine, as objectively as possible, what issues you could have and how you could pay for them. Before thinking about the money, look at how you can possibly anticipate your future medical needs.
Of course, the answer is that you can’t — not really. But you can take a look at your lifestyle, health, and genetics to determine particular risks. For example:
- Are you exercising enough? If not, you are putting yourself at risk of stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, depression, and certain cancers.
- Are you eating a balanced diet? Many people overestimate how healthy their diets are, so go back to basics and get a real understanding of what eating well means.
- Is your home safe for aging in? You can greatly reduce your risk of accident and injury if you make some small home modifications to keep yourself safe.
- Is there a history of illness in your family? Collect all the information you can get about your family medical history to see if you are at risk of any genetic illnesses.
Asking yourself these questions can be scary. However, running away from the subject is likely to make things worse. Apart from genetic illnesses and accidents (which can be managed and prevented), your health is actually well within your control. No matter how old you are now, efforts to improve it could save you the need for long-term care in the future.
Illnesses and accidents do happen sometimes, and the elderly may need more help getting back on their feet afterward. This is something you can try to prevent, but it is ultimately outside your control. What is fully within your control is how responsibly you plan for this eventuality, so that you can just focus on getting better if that day ever comes.
The Future of Rehabilitation: Trends and Predictions
The field of rehabilitation is evolving rapidly. New technologies are bringing about changes in how we practice and treat patients, and there are many ways OTs can be at the forefront of this shift. Here are predictions for what will change in the future of rehabilitation:
The growth of telerehabilitation
Telerehabilitation is an increasingly popular method of treating patients who have experienced a traumatic brain injury or stroke. It allows you to work with a therapist from home and can improve your quality of life while reducing costs for the healthcare system overall.
The expanding role of the occupational therapist
As rehabilitation expands, the role of the occupational therapist is also expanding. OTs are becoming more involved in the healthcare system, working with patients who have a variety of conditions and using technology to help them recover for example providing a diabetic patient with physical exercise plan and a healthy eating strategy.
As this information becomes more widely available, more people will become aware that they can benefit from occupational therapy services. As a result, we expect demand for occupational therapists to rise significantly over time–especially as baby boomers age and need assistance with daily activities such as cooking or bathing themselves.
The future of homecare
The future of homecare is a topic that has been discussed at length by occupational therapists. While there are many ways to approach this question, one thing is clear: homecare will continue to be an important part of rehabilitation and recovery processes for patients.
Homecare is often characterized by its flexibility and accessibility for patients who need assistance with daily tasks but do not require hospitalization or other intensive treatment options. Like if a person is having diabetes and is also struggling with weight issues so they can be helped by following a weight loss plan for diabetes and helping them with their other health needs likewise a home health services can provide medical equipment such as wheelchairs or mobility aids; occupational therapy services may include help with physical therapy exercises (such as stretching) or assistive technology devices like iPads for communication purposes; speech-language pathology services might include speech therapy exercises for those who have difficulty speaking due to injury or illness; social work services might offer support groups where people go through similar experiences together so they don’t feel alone in their struggles; etcetera! This combination of different types of care allows patients to maintain independence while being cared for by professionals who understand exactly how challenging day-to-day life can be after an injury or illness has affected someone’s ability
How technology will change the way we practice
The future of rehabilitation will be much more efficient and effective, thanks to technology. We’ll be able to diagnose and treat patients remotely, providing them with support whenever they need it. We’ll also be able to collect data on patient outcomes in order to provide better care in the future.
The use of technology to connect patients with their healthcare providers will increase.
As technology continues to advance and become more accessible, it’s likely that patients will have more opportunities to connect with their health care providers. This can help reduce the need for in-person visits, which can be costly for both insurers and patients alike.
The use of technology will also allow patients to receive instructions for exercises and diet plans remotely–which could save money by reducing the need for physical therapy visits or trips to the doctor’s office.
Telemedicine will become more popular, as well as mobile apps.
The use of telemedicine and mobile apps is growing rapidly, especially among people with disabilities.
Telemedicine is a way to get medical care remotely. Mobile apps can be used in the same way as telemedicine, but they’re also useful for things like monitoring your health data or getting reminders about your next appointment (among other things).
Both methods are growing in popularity because they give patients access to specialists who wouldn’t otherwise be available locally; this includes people living in rural areas without access to nearby hospitals or clinics.
Research on muscle stimulation and brain activity will advance.
As more research is conducted on the brain and how it works, new treatments will emerge. The same goes for muscle stimulation, which is a popular treatment option for stroke victims. Research on both has already led to new methods of rehabilitation; combining these two fields of study could lead us even further into the future of rehabilitation.
VR will be integrated into rehabilitation techniques.
Virtual reality (VR) is a great way to motivate patients and help them visualize their recovery. It can also be used to simulate real-world situations, such as walking through the grocery store or navigating crowded sidewalks.
With advancements in technology, VR will become even more immersive and interactive than it already is today. For example, if you’re recovering from surgery on your hip or knee joint and want to see what it would look like when healed properly, a virtual reality simulation could provide an accurate depiction of what that might look like–and show how much better life could be after rehabilitation!
Data analytics will help identify which patients are responding best to a particular treatment plan.
Data analytics will help identify which patients are responding best to a particular treatment plan.
By tracking data from individual patients, doctors can better understand how each person responds to certain medications or therapies, as well as their overall health status. This information is invaluable for improving patient care and ensuring that everyone gets the best possible treatment options based on their specific needs. For example, if you have diabetes and you’re taking medication to manage it, your doctor may want to monitor how much sugar is in your blood at different times throughout the day (or night). If this number creeps up too high or too low without any apparent reason–for example, if you’ve forgotten about taking your pill–the doctor can adjust dosage accordingly so it doesn’t happen again.
An increasing number of people who have been in car accidents or had strokes will seek online support groups from others who have experienced similar injuries.
As more people are able to connect with others who have been through similar experiences, they will be able to find support groups online.
Support groups provide a great way to talk about your feelings and learn from other people who have experienced the same injuries as you. For example, if you were in an accident or had a stroke, you could join an online support group where people who have been through those things can share their stories with each other. It’s easier for most people to open up about personal issues online rather than face-to-face because there’s no pressure or judgment involved when communicating via social media platforms like Facebook Messenger or Reddit threads (or even text messages).
These trends hold great promise for people who need physical therapy and other types of rehabilitation
As technology becomes more and more integral to our lives, it’s no surprise that it will affect the way we practice rehabilitation. Here are some of the most significant trends:
- More patients will be able to connect with their healthcare providers via video chat and other forms of telemedicine. This means that you can meet with your physical therapist or other health professional in person less often, which saves both time and money for both parties involved.
- Mobile apps that make therapy easier to access may become more popular among patients looking for alternatives to traditional treatment options like physical therapy or occupational therapy (OT). These apps allow users to track their progress at home or on-the-go by inputting data into their phones’ sensors–which could lead those who need rehab services but don’t have time for regular appointments with professionals like us here at Fitness & Wellness Center!
Rehab is evolving, and there are lots of opportunities for OTs to be at the forefront.
OTs will be in a good position to help patients get back to their day-to-day lives.
The future of rehabilitation is evolving, and there are lots of opportunities for OTs to be at the forefront. You can help patients recover from injuries or illnesses by helping them get back into their daily routines–whether that’s working out, cooking dinner or just sitting down on the couch with their family after work. This can also include helping them set up home gym equipment or find ways around obstacles if they’re having trouble walking up stairs.
We can’t predict the future, but we can prepare for it. If you’re an OT or PT who’s interested in working with technology, I encourage you to explore these areas and see how they might apply to your practice. You may not be able to use every one of these technologies right away–after all, not everyone has access to VR equipment or telemedicine programs–but they are important tools that can help people recover faster from injuries and illnesses.
Guest Blog: What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a long-term care facility that provides housing, support, health care, and most importantly, a sense of community to senior citizens. These facilities make it possible for the elderly to continue living on their own, with occasional assistance now and again. The benefits of living in an assisted living community are immeasurable for seniors and their families alike. Learn more about the multitude of benefits the elderly receive when they move into an assisted living facility.
- Proper, Healthy Meals: Daily meals are provided at assisted living facilities. This helps senior citizens to get the proper nutrition in their daily diet, and also lets family members feel assured that their loved ones are eating enough. Any and all dietary needs are taken into consideration. For instance, if a senior has diabetes, this is of course taken into consideration when creating their meal plan. The utmost care is used when serving seniors their meals at assisted living facilities.
- Help with ADLs (Activities of Daily Living): An assisted living facility will provide its residents with assistance completing a number of day-to-day tasks that one might not be able to do on their own. This includes dressing, eating, mobility, hygiene, bathing, toileting, using the phone, and personal shopping. Take, for example, patients with dementia or other types of memory loss who might find it difficult to remember doing the simplest of tasks. Assisted living facilities make it possible for these types of patients to continue living on their own with minimal help.
- Medication Management: This is perhaps the most important benefit of living in an assisted living community. More than 50% of senior citizens make a mistake when administering their own medication. This rate is shockingly high, and of a major concern due to potential life-threatening consequences. Assisted living staff not only ensure the right medications are being taken at the right times, but they also help to educate seniors on the importance of their medication.
- Transportation: Many seniors do not have the ability to drive anymore. In some cases, a senior simply no longer possess a car. Whatever the case may be, assisted living facilities handle any and all of the transportation necessary for senior citizens. Most of the time, transportation is needed for doctor’s visits. A senior who resides in an assisted living facility will have transportation to and from their appointments, as well as to activities outside of the facility, like shopping trips. When a family member can’t be there to take a senior citizen out and about, assisted living staff is.
- Social Interaction: Assisted living facilities are a great place for senior citizens to socialize. Like-minded individuals in similar situations are all around, and with plenty of activities to choose from, your loved one is sure to make a new friend or two. Many of the activities that take place at assisted living facilities are moderated by staff to ensure that healthy interactions are occurring at all times.
Assisted living may be the right choice for your aging loved one. Discuss this option with them, and share the numerous benefits that this type of facility can offer.
Byline: Ruth Folger Weiss is a blogger for Skyview Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, a post acute rehabilitation and long-term care center in Croton-on-Hudson, NY.