How the NBN is helping our older generations
There are plenty of older Australians that declare humbug against technology and the internet, so these same people might be surprised to learn just how much this technology plays a part in their everyday lives and health care.
With the rollout of the NBN, the rapid advancement of medical technology has led to a greater ability to save lives in the hospital setting. Similarly, the interconnectedness of medical centres to a greater range of diagnostic resources has allowed for faster and more accurate diagnosis. There has also been a shift towards a more proactive outlook towards self-led healthcare, and assistive health technologies are allowing us to monitor our own health and the health of our elderly loved ones too.
With more than 3.2 million Aussies aged over 65 right now and with these figures set to double by 2031, technology in health care is more important than ever. Before reliable internet was introduced to Australia, most older generations that required constant monitoring were forced to reside in nursing homes or pay expensive fees for a live-in carer. Now, with the speed and the security of the NBN in place, elderly relatives can be monitored in their own home remotely.
Technologies in the form of wearable sensors are now able to track any changes in regular movements over a wearer’s daily routine. If there is any cessation in movements or an irregular change, the person monitoring the wearer is alerted via email, text and smartphone app. This is just one type of home monitoring system and the future holds unlimited possibilities in this genre. Another is the ability to monitor vital health signs and symptoms, allowing for proper adjustments of medications and easier diagnosis on the spot.
For now, here are five tips for helping to monitor your elderly loved ones:
Regular Communication – whether via email, instant messenger, text message or social media, many elderly people are open to these new forms of communication to stay in contact with their loved ones and – in turn – you can monitor them on a daily basis fairly easily.
Video Conferencing – Using technology such as Skype can help your loved one feel a connectedness to their loved ones living far away. This also gives you a chance to visually see any obvious signs of illness.
Download Handy Apps – With everything from health journals to medication reminders, online appointment makers and even heart monitors, smartphone and tablet apps can certainly come in handy. As a bonus, many of these apps are free!
Movement Trackers – Using a downloadable GPS system, find my iPhone/iPad as well as a range of non-downloadable devices, it is so easy to find out where your loved one is located in real time. These are particularly handy for elderly people who may be suffering the first stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Education and resources – As well as teaching your loved one how to use the technology in general, the internet is also a font of knowledge for those moments where a quick, searchable diagnosis can help your loved one determine whether or not they need to seek immediate medical help or leave it until the next doctor’s appointment.