Today more seniors are spending their golden years in the best possible place – home – and technology is playing an ever-increasing role in helping those numbers grow.
As Baby Boomers retire, both homes and assisted-living facilities are taking advantage of new technology that reduces medical costs, comforts patients, and limits the time relatives must take to supervise their elders. Technological advances have been able to monitor chronic disease. For example, Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) home devices monitor heart function, blood pressure, glucose and other vital signs. Other advances provide early detection of illness, remind seniors to take pills, coordinate care, and even improve brain function. This phenomenon is referred to as “Telehealth.”
“We find the awareness level of telehealth solutions is pretty low,” said Lynn Redington, senior program director for the Center for Technology and Aging. As the numbers of older Americans increases, health care providers continue to be overwhelmed by the care demanded by that population. Technology can streamline the supply of health care to meet its demand.
One such technology provider, Intel-GE Care Innovations, offers four products: a monitor that collects vital signs, a device that tracks patient movement and provides alerts if someone falls, a wellness and social-networking hub for assisted-living facilities, and a reader to translate text to spoken words. Telehealth also helps patients with transportation conflicts; monitoring health care conditions at home removes the strain from family members to take time off from work, which causes added tension.
As with everything, there is a down side. The costs of these technologies usually is not covered by Medicare or private health insurance. However, it is a good idea for private health care plans to use these tools because they help to control costs and to keep a person at home, which is far less expensive than a skilled nursing facility or hospital.
The longer aging Americans stay at home, the less expensive the cost of health care. Keeping seniors in their homes is beneficial to everyone: families, health care officials, and politicians trying to balance budgets.
For more information on planning for long-term care expenses and avoiding Medicaid mistakes and Life-Care Planning, visit our website. To learn firsthand about protecting your home and life-savings from avoidable taxes and the increasing cost of medical care and nursing homes, register online for one of our Trust, Estate & Asset Protection workshops or call 800-964-4295.