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Trends in Senior Wellness: Apps, Tech and Services

wellness tech

Mature adults have never had it so good!

  • We are living longer than ever.
  • We are taking care of ourselves better.
  • We are doing more at an older age.
  • We are doing what we want faster and easier than ever.
  • We have the world at our fingertips.

During last year’s LeadingAge 2016 Health & Wellness Expo, presentations focused on personalizing wellness to motivate seniors, developing a vitality culture, and proving wellness through measurement, data and analysis.

What does that mean to us?

That means staying well will become even easier.

What are trends in senior wellness?

#1. Using technology

Technology is impacting senior wellness in a number of ways. In addition to being able to look up almost anything on WebMD, technology is helping us stay well. Some trends include:

Wearables. Although only 35% of people 65 and older use personal emergency response systems (PERS), that number is expected to rise as devices and software become more sophisticated. Expect more devices with fall detection, proximity sensing, tracking (Alzheimer’s), and integration with health data.

Telehealth. Although telemedicine is still foreign to most U.S. residents, its use is likely to expand as the number of older Americans increases, and the pool of specialists shrinks. Already, certain specialties are utilizing telemedicine to provide care for patients in remote areas. New technology will enable remote monitoring in the home inexpensively.

Internet of Things (IoT). Imagine if your house reported to your hospital if you were inactive for more than 4 hours during the day. What if your alarm system reported to the local fire department if there was a fire? Would you exercise more if your TV shut off and instructed you to take a walk at a certain time each day? The Internet of Things offers these abilities and more to help keep older Americans safer and healthier. And it will only keep growing.

#2 Emphasis on quality of life

Baby boomers are again changing the world as they age with an emphasis on quality of life. It’s not enough for us to live, we want to live well!

We demand delicious—and nutritious—food. We demand fitness programs. We demand opportunities for lifelong learning and to keep our minds sharp.

For the first time, thanks to baby boomer wealth, older people are being recognized as a viable market. Manufacturers are making items specifically for older people. Senior living communities are adding services.

This benefits the baby boomers, but it also benefits those generations before and after.

#3 Focus on cognition

One of the greatest fears of older people is dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that 5.4 million Americans have dementia, and numerous scientists and organizations are working on prevention and a cure. Until then, many people are engaging in activities to maintain and improve their brain health.

#4 Up-to-the-minute scientific research

With the wealth of knowledge available via the Internet, we have more knowledge at our fingertips than at any time in the past. We have the benefit of millions of scientific research papers from scientists all over the world. We get real-time information about health issues on the TV, radio, Internet and through magazines and books.

#5 Apps for wellness

Gadgets aren’t the only things that can enhance wellness: There’s an app for that.

Here are some helpful wellness apps available for iPhone and Android:

  • Instant Heart Rate doesn’t require any external equipment. Just place your finger on the device camera, and it tracks your heart rate.
  • MediSafe Meds & Pill Reminder sends you reminders when it’s time to take your medication.
  • Lumosity brain training offers a limited number of games designed to improve cognition.
  • ShopWell helps you make shopping lists of nutritious foods and shows you healthy alternatives to your favorite foods.
  • FitnessBuilder offers 200 workouts based on your specific goals and fitness level.

Look in iTunes, the App Store, or Google Play to download your app.

#6 Senior living communities

These aren’t your mother’s nursing homes: Today’s senior living communities offer fitness facilities, learning programs, transportation, and more. More and more people are moving to communities where you don’t have to worry about home upkeep or security, receive help with laundry and housework, can purchase a gourmet meal plan, and are able to mingle with other active adults.

A survey showed that 73% of families said an older loved one's quality of life improved after moving into an assisted living community. Respondents indicated improvements in the senior’s social well-being (64%), nutrition (73%), emotional well-being (47%), and physical health (44%).

Many assisted living communities offer in-home alarms or emergency response systems to alert caregivers.

Senior living communities are embracing the use of technology with Wi-Fi, Internet cafés, senior technology classes, technology troubleshooting,  Wii game clubs and informative articles about topics of interest to older adults.

How do we use wellness trends to help you?

While we wouldn’t describe The Essquiline as trendy, we do follow industry research to ensure the happiness and health of our residents. We offer everything from balance classes to live performances to emergency response systems to improve our residents’ quality of life. If you’d like to learn more about what we offer, call us today at 618-394-6400 or 800-533-6279.

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