Technology is changing everything, including how we will age and the quality of our senior years. Mobile devices, wearable gadgets, and Internet-based technologies will help older adults age in place while monitoring their health and safety. As The Huffington Post celebrates its tenth anniversary, we've decided to take a look at the 10 things we expect to see in our technological futures.
1. Talking street signs.
Night driving is a real bugaboo for seniors. Our vision weakens as we age and eventually we reach the point where we don't trust our ability to find places once the sun sets. GPS systems have given us a little more confidence that we won't get lost, but what would really be terrific would be talking street signs that announce themselves via our Bluetooth as we approach.
2. Cars that drive themselves.
We know this is just around the corner, so to speak. We'd be happy just to have cars that parallel park themselves.. Automotive technology is working towards making us all safer drivers, but for seniors, there's an even keener interest: It could easily help keep them safe on the road longer. The ability to drive, many believe, is at the core of independence. Cars of the future will be able to recognize unsafe driving conditions or when the driver isn't paying attention and make automatic adjustments to steer the vehicle away from a potential accident.
9. Homes will age along with us.
Walk-in tubs, stair lifts, lower cabinets, and waist-high power outlets so the elderly don't need to bend down to the baseboards to charge their devices are all simple changes in home design that will make aging in place easier. Throw in some smart technology alert systems and many concerns of the elderly are addressed. Expect sensors that alert you to things like the garage door being left open or that the front door is unlocked. Finders for the TV remote, the telephone and your car keys will all be a standard part of home design. Lights will turn on as soon as your feet hit the floor when you get up to use the bathroom at 1 a.m. Appliances will "speak" to each other: Your refrigerator will send your TV a message saying you left its door open.
10. More apps -- for everything.
There are apps that help you track weight, exercise, calories, etc. There will be more apps that help you understand your body, your illnesses, your surgeries, your medications and their possible side effects. My Recovery app, designed by a surgeon, would help patients prepare for their operation, to understand what to expect during and after their hospital stay, and to guide them through any necessary rehabilitative physiotherapy exercises individually tailored to their needs. Then there's Flowy, an app that uses games to help people manage panic attacks. It's already had one pilot trial that found that users showed a significant decline in symptoms compared to a control group, reported Newsweek. There will be apps with exercises that are prescribed just for you by your physical therapist, who will be able to see whether you've done them and send you reminders if you haven't.
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