Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Devices Help Seniors Stay Longer in Their Own Homes

HealthDay LogoHarry Wang, director of health and mobile product research for Parks Associates, a Dallas-based market research firm that tracks digital technology trends, said that with "the senior safety tracking and monitoring that helps seniors remain in the home longer, we've seen a little bit better traction over the last several years."

Parks Associates has projected that by 2012 more than 3.4 million senior citizens in the United States will be using networked sensor applications to monitor their movements and improve their health.

"There are more and more products out there, more and more technologies available," Wang said. "It's an emerging field. I don't think we're done with all those brilliant ideas yet."

However, Wang and Ginzler cited three things that must happen for such technologies to succeed:

The design must be simple, elegant and enticing so that seniors can easily learn how to use the device -- and perhaps even enjoy it. "You have to make sure the solutions are well-designed, in the sense that it's exciting," Wang said. "It's not reminding seniors that they are old and fragile in the home, but reminding them that they are still young and able to enjoy life and remain in the home."

The devices must come down in price. "The No. 1 barrier is the cost of the system," Wang said. "They must be affordable to seniors."

Companies and families must market the devices properly. "A lot of this has to do with the way the technology is presented, and the family conversation about this," Ginzler said. "The message needs to be, 'We want to make sure you can stay in your house and be independent the way you want to be, and we can respond if you get in trouble.' When that family conversation goes well, it results in peace of mind both for that person and their family members." 

From the article, "New Devices Help Seniors Stay Longer in Their Own Homes" by Dennis Thompson

 

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