Future technologies, as with those that have already come to pass, will help shape the world we live in. There are few areas of the human condition that could benefit as much from future technologies as the area of aging. With each passing day thousands of Baby Boomers turn 65 years old and their fate may rely partially on future technologies developed to enhance their health, lifestyle, care and quality of life.
We’ve been hearing a lot about future technologies focused on changing the aging experience, and in this article you’ll see 5 technology solutions that may yet have a great bearing on the future of aging. Some of these future technologies are not new. Rather based on existing technology but being applied to solve particular issues in the area of aging. Most are still being researched and validated.
Within each topic, we’ve linked to resources where you can learn more about each one from trusted sources, as well as included a video.
3D printed food
As advances in 3D printing occur, one space this technology is being used for is printing food. Early initiatives include creating appetizing food for people who have swallowing problems or other special diet requirements. One example of someone using these future technolgies is Smoothfood, which prints out food in the shape of regular food, but it can be swallowed without chewing. Of particular interest are the networks that could be set up between care facilities or providers, food printing companies and delivery services. As this technology advances, we will likely see new printed food options focused more on the general population.
Better than a walker
Walkers have been a longtime staple for people who require assistance walking. These re-envisioned assisted walking devices could change the way people think about and use walkers. These new assistive devices may include everything from new takes on mobility devices to robotic walkers to exoskeletons. There is plenty of research going into the next generation of mobility, which may provide benefit for those with debilitating diseases and accident victims.
Care via an online community
Loneliness and isolation will continue to be a quality of life factor for people in city and rural areas. Apps, such as VinclesBCN, may be able to provide help and security for older people by encouraging them to build a personal, trusted network of caring family and community members with which they can interact. Cities and towns may benefit from the use of these future technologies by implementing apps such as this to help ensure older citizens and shut-ins have the appropriate support network through volunteer organizations. There are also virtual senior centers popping up across the states and being backed by larger corporations such as Microsoft.
Video game therapy
Supporting a person’s recovery from emotional, physical and mental trauma through the use of video games is the subject of many recent and ongoing studies across the globe. What these efforts are revealing are surprising: people with everything from strokes to depression to dementia to continued good mental function may benefit from the use of video game therapy. As time goes on, if this type of therapy proves to be successful both old and young alike may benefit from it, which may reduce the need for ongoing medications.
There has been much discussion over the last year or so about the use of robots as caregivers. Many have said that robotic technology will not advance fast enough to meet the needs of the growing number of older citizens. However, companies across the globe are betting the bank on robots and working to prove that they are a viable solution for the lack of caregivers worldwide. Whether you think you would like a robotic caregiver or not, this idea is probably not going to go away. We will most likely see mass produced domestic robots within a few years.
We are going to need future technologies
As the major countries of the world get deep into the time of the aging Boomers, these future technologies may define just how well it goes for them. The technology being developed today will set the groundwork for what will be available for future generations. Keep an eye on these and we’ll be bringing you more on upcoming technology soon.