Innovations for Seniors – a Segment Set to Grow Explosively in the Upcoming Years

January 28, 2018

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About to double in another thirty years, the number of adults 65 and older will constitute a huge segment of the US demographics. It is, in fact, the largest segment of this age ever, so it’s only natural that many industries are focusing on their needs and looking into the future seniors as a large market with very particular needs.

Aging used to be a far more predictable process for most of human history. The range of accessories and gadgets that accompanied the process and assisted aging people in dealing with their impairments has not been radically renewed for decades. Walkers, emergency buttons and bracelets, hearing aids required major overhauling, with due regard to the amazing technological progress that is advancing relentlessly.

It’s about time we took a look at some of the things that modern technology currently offers to the most youthful, active and tech-savvy senior generation ever. These new products address both physical and emotional needs of the aging population, and allow a greater degree of independence following retirement.


Enjoy the taste, avoid choking

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One of such technology breakthroughs aimed at seniors is the choke-free food concept. These foods resemble the original on the outside, but are a pureed version of themselves on the inside, reshaped with a new gelling agent. Softia G is a product of a company hailing from Japan, a country where more people die from choking on food every year than in automobile accidents. Practical and yielding tasty results, the technique’s even been adopted by hotels and restaurants.


A steady hand for everyone

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Hand tremor, a symptom of Parkinson’s and a possible consequence of stroke or spinal cord injury, is a frequent companion of the old age – but help is on the way! In 2013 Liftware launched its Steady electronic spoon (interchanges with a fork or soup spoon attachment) that acts to counteract hand tremor, utilizing sensors and a specialized microchip. The startup was promptly purchased by Google, which is known for its focus on promising new technologies.



Health monitors keep getting better

Innovations include the development of the already popular wearable health monitors, which have been around for a relatively long period of time – considering the rate at which everything around us is changing. This segment includes different combinations of movement trackers, sleep details, exercise and hydration logs, emergency buttons and response systems with in-built GPS, telehealth consultations, heart rate and blood pressure sensors. There is no longer any ‘aging’ stigma attached to them, as the devices are indistinguishable from regular smartwatches and other popular gadgets. Customizable, with simple interfaces, they offer consistent connectivity and improved quality of life. Samsung and AT&T are among the leaders of this industry segment.


Stylish hearing aids with cutting-edge range of functions

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Hearing loss is another problem that plagues seniors, and while regular hearing aids have been around for decades, Bose recently allowed those suffering from hearing loss to take a step into the hi-tech world with its Hearphones, a set of earbuds that augments the sound environment around the wearer. Moreover, they allow to select which types of outside noises, and from which directions, should be augmented. The earbuds are further complemented by the Bose Hear app that offers an even greater degree of control with different modes of listening, like “airplane”, “focused conversation”, or even “gym”.


Robots are coming!

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Panasonic has also introduced a fascinating product in 2014, which earned the first international safety certificate. The mattress is split in half, with one half remaining in place as part of the bed, while the other transforms into the body of the wheelchair, and can be adjusted to a variety of positions. Called the Resyone, it’s a streamlined version of the prototype and is a breakthrough in that there is no heavy lifting required to get a patient out of bed and into the wheelchair. Since then, the robotic assistance industry has come up with a smartphone-controlled electrical piggyback wheelchair (Rodem) and 300-pound bear-like robots to help residents of Japanese elderly residential facilities get out of bed in the mornings and combat the feelings of social isolation.


Good old medical alerts systems

As far as innovative technology has gone today, there’s always a need for medical alert systems. They still come in different shapes and sizes, and the traditional, reliable home-based solutions are still the right answer for many. Tested and approved by a great number of users over the years, Medical Guardian, LifeFone and Alert1 are the leaders on our list, giving seniors and their caregivers peace of mind in knowing that help is only a push of a button away.

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