Technology for seniors and their caregivers

21 October 2019

Technology for seniors and their caregivers

Digital Health Week will be held November 11 to 17, 2019 and is an opportunity to get up to speed on gerontechnology. This unglamorous concept at first glance aims to develop technology tools for seniors’ health.

21 October 2019

According to the most recent CEFRIO studies, seniors (65+) appear to have a rather positive outlook on technology. When it comes to their health, nearly 70% in Quebec think that technology facilitates access to care. So, what are the benefits for you and your loved one, and what limits need to be monitored? While the medical network is increasingly getting on board with this digital shift, how should these innovations be viewed?  Are they really within everyone's reach? As a caregiver, how can these new tools support your loved one and help you in your daily role?

For seniors: assistance, stimulation and independence

In this new dynamic, telecare is one of the most commonly used services. Using a computer or a tablet, seniors or people with loss of autonomy can regularly capture information on their health, such as their weight or their blood pressure depending on their health issue. These data are sent to the CLSC, which monitors, intervenes or adapts the treatment in the event of anomaly.

In light of the enthusiasm shown by seniors toward new technologies, companies in this sector are increasingly focusing on them. Hence their desire to improve the apps available on tablets, for example, by making text bigger or devices easier to hold for people with arthritis.

Other more original inventions such as video games or robots are also used in residences to stimulate seniors. Gadget? Perhaps, but their positive influence on seniors’ moods is very real.

For caregivers: safety, education and peace of mind

Many other technologies can make life easier in your daily role. Some portable devices, such as tablets, watches and bracelets, have alert systems in the event of a problem or fall. Other functions allow physical activity to be recorded or detect any difficulty in eating or drinking.

Inspired by Parkinson Québec's distance education program for caregivers or the Canadian Cancer Society’s virtual platforms, an increasing number of digital initiatives are becoming available to assist and educate you.

Help or monitoring? The vague boundary of technology

All these examples help foster seniors’ autonomy, limit their need to travel, reduce the number of home services required and reassure you about your loved one's well-being. But the issue of safety may oppose the right to privacy.

While the data gathered for medical purposes may be secure and confidential, you might find yourself questioning your comfort level with the idea of monitoring your loved one’s every move. A legitimate question to ask, and one that also reminds us that technology cannot remedy the loneliness and sometimes isolation that seniors may feel. 


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