AARP chief medical officer: Time to rethink aging with tech’s help

As increasingly more child boomers start to hit that silver milestone of senior standing, the way in which society appears to be like at aging is also on the point of transformation. Technologies at the moment are enabling seniors to keep concerned locally and join with different.

“If we want to change how we age we need to think about the assets of age, it brings the ability to be resilient and adapt,” stated Dr. Charlotte Yeh, chief medical officer at AARP. “That means if you have a sense of purpose and have people around you that can lead to a positive view of aging. That matters because purpose is associated with better outcomes — less dementia, fewer heart attacks, more preventative services but also lower healthcare costs.”

Yeh can be presenting the opening keynote at HIMSS19’s Healthy Aging and Technology Symposium.

The healthcare business has usually turned to expertise as a manner to facilitate wholesome aging. But it’s vital to be aware concerning the instruments, Yeh stated, and digital platforms can have each constructive and unfavourable results.

“Technology can be good and bad because, as you know with social media, you can connect more and be engaged even if you are alone and separated. On the other hand it can promote isolation because you feel like you are outside the party,” Yeh stated. “We have to think of technology as that double-edge sword to make sure that we are promoting that positive connection instead of loneliness.”

Hearing loss, as an illustration, is prevalent situation amongst older adults that may lead to isolation and loneliness.

“Technology for hearing devices has improved a lot but it still remains inaccessible to the vast majority of [older] adults for two reasons. One is the cost. The current model for hearing aides is thousands of dollars per hearing aid per year. It is not covered by Medicare because Medicare calls hearing loss a normal part of aging, so why should we fix it.”

But not having entry to listening to aides can have devastating outcomes, she stated, referring to an upcoming examine in JAMA Otolaryngology, which appears to be like at 1000’s of individuals with greater than 10 years of uncorrected listening to loss. The examine discovered that people on this pool have the next threat of dementia, melancholy and different circumstances.

Hearing can also be vital for brand new expertise coming available on the market — particularly voice.

“There is so much excitement over voice technology … well, if we don’t consider how it is going to work with people with hearing loss and impairments then the majority of the aging population and older adults will be missing out on an entire market of people who could take advantage of the ease, convenience and excitement of voice technology.”

She stated it will be important to take into consideration issues like captioning and compatibility with listening to units.

In normal, Yeh stated that expertise might be key to serving to seniors adapt over time. For instance, if a senior has hassle with mobility expertise might be an answer for filling this hole. But she warns that expertise needs to be match to meet the wants of older adults as a substitute of making expertise after which pushing it on sufferers.

“I am excited about technology and I know the generations that are coming up are going to bring a whole new level of adaptation and acceptance as we age but I think what is really, really important is not that we should be wishing older adults embrace technology but that technology should be embracing older adults,” she stated. “You want to make it … convenient, intuitive, simple, easy to use and adapt to a wide range of capabilities. If we can help people not only remain independent in their homes but independent so they can go out and visit, be in the community and work longer than they do, then you will be talking about technology that has embraced aging and helped us be more capable than ever.”

Yeh can be presenting at a HIMSS19 session known as “Personal Perspectives: Using Technology to Improve Quality of Life as We Age.” It’s scheduled for Monday, February 11 at 8:45 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. in room W208C.

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