Technology is advancing at an unprecedented rate, and it is having a huge positive impact on elderly care services. Most of you have heard about sensors that can be installed in the home to monitor daily activity. You can remotely track everything from how often the refrigerator is opened to how long someone spends in the bathroom. You may also be familiar with care management apps that allow family members to make appointments and share communications. Here are some exciting new technological developments in elderly care services that you may not have heard about:
Insoles for balance
The Wyss Institute at Harvard is developing a phone app that can send a vibration to insoles in your shoes. One key application of these insoles is to potentially reduce the risk of falls. There are other potential applications for diabetics such as improving sensitivity in the feet and lowering the risk of ulceration. Another potential application is in helping people who have suffered a stroke or who have an injury to rehabilitate faster. You can read more about these technological developments for insoles at http://wyss.harvard.edu/viewpage/432
North Carolina State University is developing underwear that tracks the health of diabetic patients by monitoring vitals, including glucose levels. This technology enables patients or family members to access real time blood glucose readings via smart phone or personal computer. You can find out more about “smart underwear” for diabetic patients at: http://ojs.cnr.ncsu.edu/index.php/JTATM/article/view/316
Other researchers are adding technology to shirts with built in gyroscopes to activate medical personnel if the wearer falls. Still other researchers are developing textiles with built-in sensors for monitoring injuries and patient vital signs. These advances have the potential to impact elderly care services in exciting new ways!