As Britain faces an ageing population there has been an increased focus on technology and gadgets as a solution to the problems that we may now face as a society.
Guest Blog by Emily Bray
From futuristic humanoid robots that can act as carers to smaller mobility gadgets and new Rise and Recline Chairs, the options for improving elderly independence and, in turn, a lessened reliance on society are being vastly improved and expanded as a result of technology and research into future gadgets and care options.
A joint interest
A key theme that appears to occur throughout all technological advancements in this area is that of a restoration of independence. As more and more elderly individuals in our society look to maintain a level of independence and remain in their own homes for longer, there is an increasing need for technology to fulfil this need.
Meeting this need is in both the interest of older British residents, as well as the wider ranging public, as it not only improves the state of daily life for such individuals, including older relatives, but also reduces pressure on the NHS and care systems.
A number of technological advancements have come to contemporary markets, with humanoid robots being among the most recent of gadgets and aids introduced to the sector. Japan developed a humanoid robot, as reported in the article on robot carers, that looks set to transform elderly care through acting as a carer that holds qualities likened to that of a human carer. Through the development of the ability for robots to recognise human emotion and other such factors necessary for this type of care, this is one option that may start to be introduced in a very real capacity.
Another option that saw particular attention in the media this year was the unveiling of driverless cars. The Google driverless car hit headlines in May 2014 before it was announced in August, that driverless cars are to be trialled on British roads in January 2015 in three different UK cities. These cars are thought to be one of the largest benefits to elderly mobility, where those less mobile and unable to drive are able to retain independence outside of their home in addition to the independent living aids installed within the home. Further to that of mobility scooters, these automatic vehicles could see those who struggle with their mobility able to travel great distances with ease.
Smaller aids are also gaining traction with such gadgets as the OwnFone and Canary Care on Really Useful Stuff proving to revolutionise elderly independence in addition to larger aids such as orthopaedic adjustable beds, which can make daily home life easier and safer to live independently.
Future technology looks set to become an increasingly large part of the solution to our aging population, with competitions even being set up to find the next revolutionary independent living aid. With the use of such technology and a wider awareness of the needs of older people, it is hoped that society as a whole will become better equipped to assist and empathise with older individuals in day to day life.
Image Credits: Ethan Prater, Toby Oxborrow (flickr.com)