As Americans age, health challenges make it harder and harder for them to live empowered and independent lives. A lot of older people want to stay at home, but they need specialized healthcare to do so. Staying at home with the help of workers isn’t always a viable option, especially considering the cost of those services. 

But what if we turned to technology instead? 54% of doctors and patients said technology can reduce healthcare costs. Plus, digital health technologies are predicted to reduce the cost of healthcare in the U.S. by about $305 billion. A huge part in that reduction is among older people adopting age-tech to lower their expenses.  

However, choosing the right technology options is challenging. Making poor healthcare decisions leads to wasted money and health risks. This blog post was created to help you sort through the best age-tech solutions in the market.  

3 assistance options for seniors living at home  

1. Medication alerts  

Poor medication adherence can cause a host of problems such as complications and diseases. It also decreases function, ability to live independently, and quality of life. Plus, it causes increased treatment costs due to the increased use of expensive and specialized medical resources, and often increases the length of the patient’s hospital stay. Finally, it causes unnecessary medication changes. 

Making medication adherence worse, many elderly patients are taking a long list of medications to manage long-term health conditions. 44% of men and 57% of women older than 65 years take 5 or more medications per week. 12% of patients in this age group take 10 or more prescriptions per week. This is an issue, because 50% of patients don’t adhere to chronic medications.  

When it comes to situations where patients are struggling with Alzhiemer’s or Dementia, remembering to take medications is nearly impossible. To encourage positive healthcare outcomes, technology helps elderly patients adhere to their medication. 

The first step to keeping a senior on track with their medication is to make sure they’re organized. A daily pill dispenser is the most important tool for this job. These devices organize pills into individual containers that are marked by day and time. At the designated hour, a reminder goes off, prompting the senior to take the proper pills according to their prescribed dosage. 

A good pill dispenser will have an alarm system that accounts for when a dose was or wasn’t taken, but not all systems are created equal. Some are error-prone, while others aren’t reliable enough to be trusted with someone’s health. The best pill dispensers will also have automatic notifications sent out if there’s no response after the alarm has gone off several times in a row.  

Ideally, a pill dispenser can be combined with other in-home caregiving systems. Other apps can be used to send reminders to patients to help them adhere to long-term medication schedules. 

2. Health monitoring

How do we create an environment where we drive positive healthcare outcomes? We need to make sure we’re measuring things we want to measure, and taking care of them when issues arise. Great technological tools exist to track senior health accurately and handle problems effectively.  

These tools monitor the patient’s metrics, such as blood pressure, 24/7 in real-time. Plus, these technologies can often give medical advice based on data from other devices. As of May 2020, 39% of family caregivers considered remote monitoring to track an elderly patient’s health.  

When picking what tools to choose, focus on the ones that are specific to the patient’s needs. For example, a patient with diabetes may not need any blood pressure monitoring. They need blood sugar monitoring. Also, doctors can recommend specific health monitoring tools for the patient.  

3. Mobile medical alerts 

Another option for older adults who wish to remain living at home is the mobile medical alert system. With the help of this technology, older adults can have access to emergency services 24/7.  

Mobile alert systems may take the form of a wearable device or an app on a smartphone. They are designed to keep seniors safe no matter where they are. The devices often also include two-way communication, so that seniors can reach out if they need assistance. 

If your loved one is prone to falling or has dementia, a mobile alert system may be the best choice for them, and it will allow them freedom from being constantly supervised by a caregiver. For example, Lifeline offers a medical alert service that allows users to press a button or two on a device that can be worn as a necklace or bracelet. Pressing the buttons sends an alert to either the user’s loved ones or emergency services and it comes with location tracking so that help can find them quickly if needed. 

There are home care options that combine technology and real people. 

The best options for home elderly care combine technology with an in-person caregiver. 53% of elderly patients said they prefer their healthcare to include a mix of medical staff and technology.   

The advantages are numerous:  

  • Patients can live at home, rather than in a care facility, and still receive wide-ranging support. 
  • One caregiver can take care of multiple clients from different locations, saving time and money for everyone involved. 
  • If there’s a medical issue, technology allows caregivers to respond quickly to the patient’s needs—without having to be present in person. 

Need a healthcare solution that actually works? Our Ōmcare Home Health Hub® is your answer. It’s a video-based solution that ​allows elderly patients to manage their healthcare needs remotely. They can receive medications and speak with their providers, pharmacist, or caregivers in real-time. ​​Reach out to Ōmcare to learn more!