Did you know they keep redefining what old is? The Society of Actuaries sets what old age is for purposes of social security and other longevity statistics. They have just raised the ‘old’ label to 73 for women and 70 for men. So those of you in your sixties that have been deflecting the ‘old’ adjective, you can feel justified. They also state that for women if you live to 65, chances are you will live to 88.8 years, for men who reach 65 it is 86.6 years. So even if you are not running out to get the new thousand dollar smart phone that allows for augmented reality, consider how many years you would behind the curve if you stopped updating your own technology skills now!
Why am I bringing this up? I just reviewed the nominees for the design of aging technology awards. Lots of money in the pipeline, but all nine nominees have to do with someone monitoring you as that really frail elder. In other words nine different ways to check on your activity level, your blood pressure, your deviation from daily habits or actual falls. It would seem some elders may be better living at home being monitored by a service than in a nursing home that does not keep to that responsibility.
Emergency call pendants have been around a long time and have evolved to an ePERS version (mobile personal emergency response service). You can venture beyond that landline and feel more secure going out on your own. Another statistic to work into the mix, as of now 46% of women over the age of 75 live alone. What if they do not have that significant other to check in with. You can hire a service to be the watchful eye that calls 911. You could also monitor an at risk spouse while you are on the move. I am starting to rethink the adult child in charge scenario to an how can we keep track of each other opportunity. There is a lot to be discussed here regarding privacy issues and of course there is a monetary price tag to be connected.
On a day to day basis , consider what you can update or upgrade regarding your own instrumental activities of daily living. Can you pay more bills through online banking, update your GPS with lane assist to keep safe on the road, try at home delivery of groceries or prepped meals, try another form of transportation other than your car. There are lots of ways to just step into the future besides that FitBit.
More numbers on our generation. Eighty three percent of younger seniors use the internet and 4 out of 10 have a smart phone. So do not turn away from the possibility that you can learn something new that will ultimately benefit your own independence quotient. Keep ahead so you can live your own brand of reality.