30 July, 2021
Over the past year, the pandemic has shone a light on the way that we, as a society, care for our elderly and vulnerable. From devastatingly high care home deaths to the social isolation of seniors, what it has revealed has not been positive.
As the global population continues to age, caring for the elderly will only become more challenging. Fortunately, the pandemic has also shown us that new and widespread use of technology can help us overcome even the most difficult circumstances.
Against this backdrop, several tech startups have entered the scene. Companies like Birdie, Cera Care and Lifted hope to use apps, AI, wearable devices and other technology for everything from remote health monitoring to patient record management. But as Wired reports, companies looking to transform the aging care sector have their work cut out for them. Overburdened and underfunded healthcare systems and a traditionally slow-moving sector present significant barriers to change. And with the impacts of virtual contact on elderly people still unclear, it’s important that a tech-first approach doesn’t happen at the expense of human connection.
All said, there remains a huge opportunity to drive better outcomes in an industry that we will all at some point come to depend on. And with the so-called ‘silver economy’ set to take off, even businesses that aren’t focused on the industry of aging would do well to consider how their services can reach a growing greying segment of the population.
The pandemic presents an opportunity to critically examine the systems we have in place to care for the elderly and drive change for the better. Let’s not waste it.
By Louise Podmore