The pandemic was a catalyst for digital health adoption, including in the senior care space. Older adults used video calls to connect with families during lockdowns, and telehealth allowed seniors to meet with their doctors from home. Today's seniors are more tech-savvy than in the past, and this is likely to impact the way they interact with healthcare going forward.
Feeling comfortable using virtual care technologies in the home, demanding more tech in independent living communities and becoming more engaged in their own health data are trends that show that seniors will be turning to technology more than ever to enhance their healthcare in the next year. Health Tech's recent article entitled “3 Senior Care Tech Trends to Watch in 2022” gives us the top three trends in senior care for 2022:
- Senior Care Will Continue to Adopt the Hospital-at-Home Model. Hospital-at-home is a growing trend in healthcare, as increased adoption of virtual care technologies permits the care of seniors with acute conditions to take place at home.
A 2018 AARP survey found that 76% of adults ages 50+ said they prefer to stay in their homes and communities, aging in place rather than moving to an independent living community. According to the American Hospital Association, the hospital-at-home care delivery model can reduce costs, improve outcomes and enhance the patient experience. However, traditional healthcare organizations have a part to play in this care delivery model with telehealth and remote patient monitoring that can extend care to the home setting.
- Organizations Will Create Tech Concierge Roles to Help Seniors. Tech ownership, adoption, and use among older adults increased during the pandemic, with nearly half of those in an AARP saying that they used video chats more than before. With growing use of texting, email, smartphones, and wearable devices, seniors are using more technology. As a result, the trend is likely to continue.
- Consumerization Will Give Seniors More Control Over Their Health. Wearables and apps place health data in consumers' hands. Healthcare organizations will not have to provide patients with all of their health information, which will create even more patient involvement in healthcare. This will give older adults more information and empower them to be active in decision-making about their health. Another impact of consumerization on senior care is that older adults are getting more comfortable with technology and are joining independent living communities' selection committees to make decisions about which technologies the community will acquire.
As we go into 2022, consumerization and the desire for personalization are expected to impact the types of technology preferred by older adults and offered by independent living communities, as well as the ways seniors interact with digital health solutions.
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Reference: Health Tech (Dec. 14, 2021) “3 Senior Care Tech Trends to Watch in 2022”