Digital health products that track physical activity levels, heart rates and other relevant data can assist people of all ages and lifestyles in maintaining their well-being. However, as a study in Health Affairs noted, there's still much work to be done in getting mobile healthcare devices and apps in the hands of the people who need them most. Seniors are among the groups that could benefit from increased adoption of wearable technology.
"Devices could provide important insights for older individuals."
Data from Nielsen suggested that younger people have been significantly more likely to make use of digital health products. With wider adoption, though, these devices could provide important insights for older individuals and send for help when they are danger. Support from healthcare professionals and some technical assistance from relatives and caregivers might make make it possible for seniors to find numerous uses for innovative medical products in their daily lives.
Digital health product adoption and seniors
According to a report from Mordor Intelligence, the global market in wearable devices brought in $3.2 billion in 2016. The researchers predicted revenues will exceed $7.9 billion by 2021 as technological advances proceed, the products become easier to use and devices are increasingly employed to manage chronic diseases. One question that remains, however, is how older people will be persuaded to embrace this approach to monitoring their wellness.
Though seniors over 65 years old are more likely than younger people to fall ill and are major consumers of medical services, they have nonetheless lagged behind younger populations in taking advantage of mobile healthcare products. Data published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that even as ownership of mobile phones and computers rose among Medicare beneficiaries, they were still slow to use these tools for healthcare. Bridging this divide takes medical device design and functionality that is simple and fits the particular needs and lifestyles of older users.
Making strides for improved outcomes
Increased adoption of digital health products has the potential to promote independent living for older users in a variety of ways. Wareable noted that one major application is summoning emergency services in the case of a fall. This is particularly crucial for keeping seniors safe. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, more than a quarter of people over 65 fall each year, and one in five falls leads to a serious injury.
Other applications include reminding seniors to take their medication and managing macular degeneration. Techradar noted some of the health technology currently under development could provide constant awareness of a range of vital bodily functions and offer advance notice when there's a problem. For people living with dementia, a proximity detector could send a warning to a caregiver if the individual wanders away from home.
Digital healthcare products have tremendous potential for bringing improvements to the lives of seniors. With innovative product design and greater attention to the particular needs of people over 65, these individuals could be an important part of the expanding market in wearable devices.