Independent Living for the Elderly
Increasing innovations in the healthcare industry have made life expectancies higher than ever. Similarly, technology has also revolutionised the way we connect with one another and go about our daily lives. However, the elderly population still face significant challenges when it comes to dignified aging and few advancements have been made in that field. From health issues, housing, financial security and social isolation, the elderly are often left dependent on relatives and the healthcare industry. Elderly people seek independence – but many struggle due to the problems they face. How can we empower older people? What can we innovate to enable independent living? What are the solutions towards creating more connectedness with their loved ones and society in an age of individualism and changing family models? How can people change their lifestyles now to better prepare for an independent and fulfilled aging later?
Financial Situation: The financial situation is a determinant factor for the independent living of the elderly. It is strongly connected to their mental and physical health and decides if they have the means to take an active part in society. A good financial situation for the elderly has two dimensions. First, they must not experience poverty. This means that they have the means to cover at least their basic expenses for housing, health care, food, and transportation. Second, their standard of living must not be expected to decline in the foreseeable future. The macroeconomic environment highly influences both dimensions.
Intention to Use Technology: The intention of the elderly to use established and emerging technologies is a key concept borrowed from the Senior Technology Acceptance and Adoption Model (STAM). It describes the “intention to use technology” as primarily determined by the perceived usefulness of technology and the user context. The latter also includes social influence (for instance, children urging parents to use technology) and other facilitating conditions. The ease of learning and the exploration experience are key determinants that can directly cause acceptance or rejection of technologies.
Underprivileged Geeks: The scenario “Underprivileged Geeks” describes a future in which the elderly are financially distressed but are eager to use existing as well as upcoming technologies. A majority of them lack the financial means to buy modern assistive appliances. Many of them are forced to work post-retirement to supplement their dwindling pension incomes.
Silver Garden of Eden: “Silver Garden of Eden” depicts a scenario in which the elderly are financially stable. During the last 20 years, it was possible to ensure the financial stability of the elderly through an effective governmental response. Furthermore, the elderly are keen to use technology as they notice its advantages, and educational efforts for digital literacy have proven successful.
Prosperous Nostalgic: The scenario “Prosperous Nostalgic” describes a future in which the elderly are financially independent. However, they are reluctant to use novel technologies. The elderly are financially well-off but are reluctant to use existing as well as future technologies. Technological advancements are ubiquitous, but the elderly are agnostic towards them and occasionally resent them as well.
Falling Behind: “Falling behind” is a scenario where the elderly have come closer to each other to cope with financial distress. Furthermore, the elderly do not accept technological advancements and thereby isolate themselves from the rest of society. The elderly come closer to each other to cope with financial and technological challenges but, at the same time, detach themselves from the rest of the society
1. Sleepi - Noise-reducing pillow that uses selective noise-canceling technology to cancel out snores
2. COM2-Garden - Turning unused company premises into elderly-led green spaces
3. Fabula - Empowering the elderly to share their stories
4. Smart Sole Solution - The convenient gait rehabilitation assistant for faster recovery
5. Desir.ed - Educational platform to help the elderly enjoy a fulfilled sex life