ageing

According to the ONS, there are currently circa 65M people living in the UK which is expected to grow to 70M by 2026. If you combine this with the baby boomer trend of the 1960s and increased life expectancy predictions, there needs to be a transformational approach to keeping our growing, ageing population, safe, happy and well at an affordable cost.

The answer to this challenge is a multi-faceted approach whereby those people that need, or want, to move out of their home into either a private or state funded care home can. However, a majority of people given the choice want to stay in their family home but want help making sure they are safe and happy; this must be the right way forward not only economically, but also morally.

So, what are some of the challenges:

  • How to ensure that when someone is released from hospital after an operation, there are ways of knowing if they are ok during their recovery period
  • How to make sure that technology used to help people enjoy the huge range of content available digitally is easy to use and suitable for those with disabilities
  • How to make keeping in touch easier and visual as well as auditory
  • How to find out if someone has had a minor fall before it becomes a bigger concern
  • How to make sure that the smoke/CO detectors have been tested recently and are working
Solutions

Technology innovation is providing answers to some of these challenges and the providers are behemoths like Amazon and NEST as well as the small guys like Kings Access and Alcove . Some examples include:

  • Knowing that your smoke/CO detectors are working is essential to staying safe in the home, so products like NEST Protect offer a fantastic way of not only checking the status of the system, but also being able to test it from the comfort of your armchair via your SMART phone
  • Audio products from Kings Access are designed to help people (particularly those that are partially sighted) enjoy digital content through simple, easy to use interfaces
  • Fall detection packages from companies such as Alcove provide emergency alerts to ensure help arrives quickly
  • Keep in touch packages like these eliminate the sense of isolation often felt by elderly people
  • The launch of the Amazon Echo (and Google Home hub) could revolutionise the way that we connect and interact with all our technology around the home. For the ageing population, voice controlled applications could be both a joy and literally a life saver
Summary:
  • The IoT technology revolution is enabling people to maintain independent living whilst ensuring they remain safe, well and happy
  • Products can look elegant as well as providing critical functionality
  • Ease of use and accommodation of disabilities is key to adoption rates
Mike Lander, Director and co-founder of www.ensoul.co.uk , business consultant and writer