AI technology’s progress toward senior care

December 12, 2018


Man pointing his smart watch front of his wife in a park

People are starting to come to terms with the problems of aging America, and indeed the world, pose. Forbes reports over the first half of this century the percentage of people 60 years of age and older will almost double, while the number of people 80 years and older will quadruple. That’s an increase of the 65 years or older population from 14.5 percent to 20 percent.

Thus, artificial Intelligence (AI) is working its way into senior health care. As populations around the world continue to age, the medical industry is already turning to technology to meet the demand. However, what if the treatment gap for the elderly can be filled in part with AI and robotics? You already can see it in limited use:

  • Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant and Apple’s Siri can be used to remind patients to take their medications at the right time.
  • Activity trackers and smart watches can monitor vital signs, which can be uploaded and shared via apps or websites.
  • Emergency alarms can detect falls automatically and send help.
  • Exercise routines and other activities can be programmed into phones, tablets and desktops.
  • Skype, social media, and email allow seniors to stay in touch with the outside world now more than ever.

 

However, what happens when the patient doesn’t use these tools willingly or accurately? Although android/robot personal helpers are not yet here, many interesting programs are now being used:

  • ElliQ looks much like the Pixar desk lamp sitting next to a picture frame. However, the device will move toward the person to whom it’s speaking. ElliQ is described as a coach more than a companion to help keep the senior active and engaged. ElliQ is static, but the AI mind is not. It uses its sensors to continue learning and adjusting.
  • One brand has a familiar name for aging Baby Boomers – Hasbro. Researchers at Brown University want to add AI to the Joy for All robotic cat. Besides having programmed cat characteristics, the cat could monitor the home, remind a senior to take medicines, keep up the schedule and finally rest in a lap purring away after a day’s work is done.

 

All the problems are not technical – there is some privacy and ethics concerns to be solved before giving AI its chance in handling seniors at home or at care facilities.

 

In the meantime, contact Vanguard Resources for more about medical technology in your health care facility.