With the aging baby boom population, our society has begun to see the beginning of an influx in the number of senior citizens within Canada. As it is a known fact, this population will continue to grow and will rely on the generations that proceed it to care for them. Already, care takers are far out numbered by the number of patients. This trend will continue into the future. The need for effective yet efficient care is the hot topic at the back of everyone’s minds. We know that technology will obviously have to come into play at some point. Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have developed for this very situation. An app to be exact called “eSeniorCare”. The premise of the app is to help seniors live better through enhanced vitality, brain functioning and their physical health.
This app was developed by researchers through working with elderly people who live in an independent living community. These communities are filled with seniors who greatly outnumber the number of nurses and care givers. Previously developed apps have only been able to simply track an individual’s data. This new app looks to create a profile directly related to each senior who uses this program. This program aims to become more engaging with the users as well as the care givers. This app looks to help care givers in terms of identifying problem areas with regards to senior’s health, while allowing the user’s to maintain their independence. The data collected helps to show seniors their daily levels and if they are on track. Care givers are notified with real time results when something appears to be “off” or at-risk. Elderly adults who choose to use such a program are able to ask questions or share their concerns with their care givers through a recording or text message.
Users are able to set daily goals for example, consuming less caffeine, while simultaneously recording their daily activity. These records are then sent to the care givers or health department of their living community in real time. Another feature is the ability to track and manage medication schedules. Medication reminders are sent to the seniors. Care givers are notified if medication is not being taken properly or if medicine renewals are taking too long. The app also offers brain puzzles that help to enhance their mental ability through cross word puzzles or Sudoku.
Currently, this app is being used on tablets. At the app introduction to beginners, seniors appear to be hesitant. As progress is made, seniors became more familiar and comfortable with the technology. This hesitation is also being eased by pairing the seniors with students who in turn teach them how to use it.
During the initial study, researchers found positive results. Elderly adults became more comfortable with technology, depression risk decreased within a couple individuals as well as increased interactions amongst participants.
What this app looks to do is introduce a more personalized and individualized approach to health care. Researchers want to expand comfort levels with technology in the senior population by making it more applicable and relatable to them. Seniors active engagement with their health encourages adults to be more aware of their daily activity. Technology can be a wonderful thing, especially when it helps maintain healthy lifestyles.