Emerging tech can be used to not only improve the wellbeing of older Australians, but also the quality of their care, and streamline processes for those who work in aged care services.
New technologies that can monitor a person’s movements and provide risk management solutions will make a difference in fostering increased choice and dignity for older Australians in the coming years according to a 2022 report published by RMIT’s Digital Health Hub in partnership with CISCO. This includes 68% of aged care residents who have moderate to severe cognitive impairment
While over 61% of older people use the internet, very few aged care providers offer wireless internet access as standard for residents.
Meanwhile, 42% of aged care providers have no digital strategic plan, less than half use any smart technology and only 14% are using fully integrated software systems so there is still some work to do in getting our aged care sector up to date with digital tech.
Emerging tech ideal for aged care services
Further insights from the report suggest that the following emerging tech can be used to improve services and the health and wellbeing of older adults:
Machine Learning and AI
Machine learning can ensure continuous improvement and adaptation of real-time smart monitoring of aged care spaces, generating alerts for spills, falls or other dangers.
This technology can be used through smart devices from cameras to sensors, providing advanced analytics without requiring sensitive information to be sent to a central server.
Whereas 4G introduced faster internet speeds meaning access to higher quality video calls and fast download times, the roll out of 5G is faster again according to Optus, allowing for the:
downloading of movies and other large files in seconds rather than minutes
ability to connect multiple devices to the network at the one time
near instant response times between devices such as for improved online gaming and virtual reality
In aged care this can mean that every aspect of care that requires connection, such as falls or heart rate monitors, will no longer be restricted to operating within a certain home or facility which opens up opportunities for older adults to live longer in their homes or without the need for full time supervision.
Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT are physical digital devices that exchange data from smart fridges to wearable health sensors. The tracking of data can assist care givers and support services to monitor and provide guidance to older adults
Cyber Security underpins all digital tech. In 2021, there was a cyber-attack on a piece of critical infrastructure every 32 minutes.
Service providers and organisations need to ensure they adopt a Safety By Design work culture to assist in securing their networks and connected assets.
New Digital Strategy
The good news is that the Australian Government is delivering a once in a generation aged care reform that focuses on the care needs of older people including the implementation of emerging technology.
With an Aged Care Reform Roadmap on the table to keep us informed about activities being initiated, the next stage in digital tech initiatives is a Data and Digital Strategy which is scheduled for release in December 2023.
This strategy will hopefully include emerging tech and set a new standard of digital uptake ensuring that older adults remain connected and protected when they utilise aged care services.
We encourage aged care service providers and stakeholders to stay up to date and get involved in shaping the Australian Government's strategy through webinar attendance, checking out resources and providing feedback.
The more aged care stakeholders are involved in shaping the future, the more connected our older adults will become.
We hope you found this blog valuable. Please scroll down to leave a comment, share through your network and find other resources on our page.
Subscribe for monthly blog updates