Will Supportive Technology Enable More Irish Seniors to Age at Home?
The bottom line:
- The growth of supportive technology is helping more and more seniors age in place.
- Seniors have never been as tech-savvy as they are today, opening up new opportunities for tech and staying at home as they age.
- More technology means less loneliness as we age.
The senior citizens of Ireland are blessed with a beautiful country in which to enjoy their later years. The rolling hills and fresh sea air are qualities unrivalled by many European countries, not to mention other authentically Irish pleasures from Guinness to soda bread.
You don’t need a wild imagination to see how ageing at home in Ireland might be a preferred option, over the expense and confinement of a nursing home. With the growth of supportive technology assisting seniors with day-to-day tasks, staying at home for longer is no longer a dream but a reality for the average senior.
A new era for seniors and tech
Now in 2022, the upcoming generation of senior citizens are in a position that previous generations could never hope to be. Enter, the age of tech-savvy seniors.
Let’s consider for a moment the average 75-year-old citizen in 2022. They would have been in their mid-fifties in 2002, which was a time of mainstream wireless Internet, not to mention the birth of the iPhone 1 and other smartphones. It had already become commonplace to carry the world in your pocket, and use touch screens for general, daily activities like shopping or chatting with friends.
In short, people of this age were barely middle-aged in the nineties and early noughties, meaning they are not at all strangers to the digital age. In Ireland alone, the share of people aged between 60 and 74 that “used the internet on a daily basis increased from 12% to 59% between 2009 and 2020. This is a phenomenal jump from rare to commonplace in barely over a decade.
So what does all this mean? For a start, it means that the now-ageing population is the first in history to reach old age with technology already in their pockets. The transition to supportive technology is smoother than ever, and done with more confidence than the generations that came before. There is still a lot of supportive technology which is easy to install and designed with seniors in mind. But regardless, we are, all in all, in a new era for seniors and technology. Does this mean we’re in a new era for ageing in place?
Supportive technology means social inclusion
We’ve established that the older generations of today are more tech-smart, and subsequently more suited to supportive technology. In turn, does this mean that tech is tackling loneliness?
In the past, isolation was an unfortunate side effect of growing old and losing your independence. It’s possible that this lack of connection with other human beings was one reason seniors opted for nursing home care (aside from the need for physical assistance).
The growth of supportive technology has allowed people to stay connected with loved ones from the comfort of their homes, tackling major loneliness and isolation issues which have been linked with a decline in physical health in recent years.
So it could be that the social connectedness that comes with some supportive technology is actually keeping seniors healthier and happier for longer – just by keeping them connected to the world.
Supportive tech for loneliness
Even before the worldwide pandemic, social isolation and loneliness was an unfortunate aspect of growing older and becoming less mobile. Thankfully, technology has since stepped in with on-screen solutions and communication aids that build bridges between seniors and the rest of the world.
Supportive tech exists in numerous forms and can take the shape of movement trackers, mobility aids, and even devices that help with cognitive function. Read an introduction to supportive technology devices here.
Ageing at home in 2022 and beyond
Whether you or a loved one is considering ageing at home, plenty of help is available to help you fully research your pros and cons. It is, afterall, a major life decision, both for the senior citizen and for those around them. It’s definitely worth exploring the costs of both nursing home care and ageing at home, as this can really lay a foundation for any plans you will make.
Whether you’re supporting a loved one with the technology they may need to age in place or looking to get started down the road to fitting your house with all the tech you need, help is only a phone call away, so get in touch to find out how to get technology at your fingertips.