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How can smart technology help improve elderly health care at home?

Growing old is a natural phenomenon that we must all gracefully accept, but it can become a problem in the absence of proper care at home, love and support from family.

"Data holds evidence of the emerging challenge. The number of older adults in India (People over the age of 60 years) stood at 104 million as of 2016, accounting for 8.6% of the total population. Unofficial estimates place the seniors at 120 million in 2020. Studies show that the population of older adults is expected to rise to 350 million by 2050."

With a rapidly growing 60-plus population, India is faced with the huge task of providing basic senior-friendly urban infrastructure.

India as a country, is well known for its strong value of caring for its elders. With several breakdown in the joint family system and societal values, currently most elderly find themselves helpless and hapless with neither the family nor the society taking responsibility for their care.

Need for organized senior care companion

These days most aged people are left alone at home, confined to solitude with minimal care and support, while their adult children are out at work. According to a market study, 64 percent of senior citizens living in an urban setup fall prey to loneliness and depression.

The loss of physical independence along with mental and societal insecurities due to retirement or the death of a partner can take a toll on the elderly as well.

As result, the elderly suffer from various health issues like chronic diseases, dementia, etc., which requires life-long medication, continuous health checkups and frequent visits to the doctor to sustain comfortable and healthy ageing. Here are some facts to consider:

Health issues of senior citizens in India

Chronic health conditions in the elderly - 92% of Seniors have at least one chronic disease, and 77% have at least two chronic diseases.

Cognitive Health in Older Adults - Close to 150 million people by 2050 will have dementia.

The mental health of older adults - According to the World Health Organization, 15 percent of adults over the age of 60 suffer from a mental disorder. Promoting a lifestyle of health living such as betterment of living conditions and social support from family, friends or support groups can help treat depression.

Physical injuries in the elderly - Every 15 seconds, an older adult is admitted to the emergency room for a fall. A senior dies from falling every 29 minutes, making it the leading cause of injury among the elderly

Care at home

The Elderly in India do not get Long Term and Palliative Care and managing home care for the elderly is a massive challenge and virtually non-existent.

  • Sadly around 15-20% of the age group stay alone.

  • 60% of elders confirmed that Elder Abuse is prevalent in our society.

  • 60% elderly agreed that quality time spent by their adult children as well grandchildren with them has decreased with increase in usage of phones.

Technology has the power to create and connect, and India's elderly have only just begun to harness it!

The elderly are normally defined by terms such as ‘dependent’ and ‘needy’, the one attribute that this generation of seniors cherish and desire the most is ‘independence’.

They’ve worked hard to create a good life for themselves and their children and want to continue to feel like providers and contributors and most importantly, in charge of their own lives.

The past few months have been particularly difficult for the elderly. Being the most vulnerable victims of the pandemic, they have been forced to confine their lives within the walls of their houses. A lot of them have children either studying or working abroad and hence are forced to navigate their daily challenges and loneliness without the luxury of stepping out of their homes.

Social isolation among the elderly is increasingly being identified as a risk factor for dementia, anxiety, and suicide ideation”.

Technology has created a significant opportunity for seniors to lead a truly independent and yet connected life. And it has played a big role in allowing these senior citizens to not simply fulfil their daily needs but also stay connected with their loved ones and the community at large.

Health and safety remain key concerns for the seniors and their families, especially when the children are not living in the same city or country.

In this scenario, We have developed ELRO a companion bot for elderly people which will help them improve on the overall health elements like mental health, cognitive ability, biological health and ensures their safety at all times.

Elro will be available shortly. It will have tools for assessing blood pressure, blood glucose, heart rate, SP02, and temperature and oxygen saturation levels in the elderly. Its 10-inch screen will be useful for video consultations with a doctor and have recommended medications delivered to their homes regularly and also play films, cognitive games, connect with friends and family and remind people to take their medicines on time. It would cost Rs. 25,000 and have several packaged features.

In the background, it continues to study the seniors' habits and attempts to establish conversations. It will ask a series of random questions to check for dementia or depression. It will be aware of the interests of the users and will dive further into such issues to keep the conversation alive.

The chat can take place with the device or with other users via Elro. A psychiatrist will conduct an evaluation, and the proposed modifications will be implemented into the routine via the smart calendar.

With the elderly, all chats and data are encrypted and anonymised. Our Elro is compliant with the National Digital Health Mission standards for security and privacy.

Thanks for reading!

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