According to Census data, the average age of the U.S. population is the oldest it’s ever been. This is good news, as people are living longer. But as life expectancies rise, so too does the need for reliable aging care and support.
Some of the most important innovations within aging care are tools and services that enable people to live more independently. In recent years, especially with the pandemic, technology made it easier to access medical services at home. As a result, it’s easier than ever for people to age in place.
In this article, we explore how technology is transforming the aging care industry and the progress you can expect in the coming years.
Recent advancements in science and technology are the main reason why life expectancy has increased, and these innovations explain why we’ll continue to see big demographic shifts. In 2030, all baby boomers will be 65 or older, representing 21% of the population. By 2040, nearly 80 million of us will be older than 65.
More people are living longer, but it doesn’t mean they’re living healthily as they grow older. In fact, improvements in longevity rates do not correlate to increases in population health. Instead, we’re seeing that older adults are requiring access to additional care and support services as they age.
Put another way: As a higher percentage of Americans live longer, they’ll need even more support to ensure they’re aging comfortably. This means aging care will need to adapt to keep pace. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.
Factors like the growing healthcare worker shortage make it more difficult and costly to serve older adults as they age in place. There simply aren’t enough caregivers to support our rapidly aging population.
At the same time, demand for labor drives up costs. Long-term care facilities are getting more expensive and the cost of living is rising overall due to inflation. Even today, only a small percentage of Americans can afford to pay for long-term care. Not to mention, as American demographics continue to shift, a smaller percentage of people are paying into social security—with a larger number receiving it.
With all of these challenges, those in need of care are forced to rely on family members — usually women — for support. These family members often find they must leave the workforce to care for their loved ones, which can lead to a significant increase in financial strain. It is also known to have a strong mental and physical toll that can lead to burnout, anxiety, and depression.
All of this to say, there are many challenges we’re currently facing when it comes to aging in place, and the demand will only grow.
Many have written about continued advancements in health monitors, connected homes, and other home tech. Although these tools are essential, they are not a complete solution.
The future of aging care must blend high-tech and high-touch approaches. By high touch, we mean the human element of care will always be vital. Despite what the headlines say about technologies like artificial intelligence, there are just some things tech cannot replace. Older adults and caregivers benefit from talking with real people to help them navigate the complexities of care and connect all of the dots.
Of course tech can help to create more personalized, data-driven experiences.
Service models offering on-demand assistance, like Uber and DoorDash, have gained popularity and are an example of a step in the right direction for supporting older adults. Smart devices are also able to talk to each other more easily and incorporate data to create better experiences. When all of this data is fused together, aging adults and their caregivers will be able to tailor more services to specific health diagnoses and drive better outcomes.
Improving care for people as they age is an important goal for our society. It’s an investment for our own future—as well as the future of our friends and loved ones.
With the growing population of Americans aged 65+, there is a need to expand the services and technology that enable us to age independently, healthily, and comfortably. This need is most pronounced in the aging-in-place community, as a growing number of Americans prioritize aging from the comfort of their own homes.
Given the information covered in this article, it is clear that aging in place will not be supported by a single industry alone. It will be a combination of medicine, technology, high-touch services, and community-based support.
The Helper Bees is filling a major gap with our cutting edge platform, the Independence Portal. It takes a lot of work to age at home, which is why we developed an all-inclusive technology solution that incorporates both a high-tech and high-touch approach.
With the Independence Portal, we enable more people to age from the comfort of their homes by providing a one-stop-shop for anything a person might need to age in place. The Helper Bees incorporates our trusted credentialing system into our platform to provide vetted local services across all offerings, not just in-home care. From lawn care to food delivery and beyond, the Independence Portal relieves the burden of endless searching for the right provider – for all types of support services.
Additionally, the Independence Portal bridges the gap between expert home care service providers and aging Americans. Following The Helper Bees’ credentialing process, approved providers are added to our Aging-In-Place Marketplace where they gain access to new clients and ultimately fulfill services for older adults.
The services a client needs today may not be the ones they need tomorrow. We recognize that no journey is the same and needs are ever-changing, so we aim to simplify and smooth out the client experience as much as possible. Our goal is for aging adults to focus on aging comfortably instead of worrying about how to do so. With Independence, more people can achieve this.
Learn more about the Independence Portal here.