Population ageing is one of the global trends of the modern world. According to the latest UN estimates, by 2050, the age of each sixth inhabitant of the Earth will exceed 65 years (16%). The number of people aged 80 and older will increase threefold — from 143 million people in 2019 to 426 million people by 2050.

In Russia, according to Rosstat estimates, the population of working age by 2035 will exceed 42 million people and account for 30% of the total population of the country.

Among the elderly are becoming common in various neurological diseases. According to the latest who data, worldwide there are about 50 million people with dementia, and each year gets sick almost 10 million people. While the younger generation now more than ever mobile and less planning on sharing accommodation with parents.

With this in mind, care for retirees, who often want to spend their old age in their own home, is a very urgent problem. How does today’s digital generation will care for their elderly relatives in the future?

It should be noted that the scope of services for the care of elderly is relatively slow adapting to the digital age. Unlike health care, where electronic health records and smart devices are becoming more common, the scope of care is still largely based on the observations of guardians and paper.

However this could all change thanks to innovation, which help to create a more personalized approaches to care of the elderly while reducing costs.

The range of these technologies is already very wide: from wearable sensors gathering data about the person in everyday life, to the artificial intelligence technologies, which help to interpret the obtained data, thereby allowing caregivers and family members to be more aware about the state of his ward.

The evolution of touchscreen technology

Elderly people in Italy prefer to receive social assistance at home, rather than go to a nursing home or “residence for the third age” as it is called in Italy these institutions.

Ten years ago in Bolzano, the capital of South Tyrol, IBM participated in the development and pilot test systems to enhance the quality of life of seniors living in their homes.

The data coming from the sensors in the rooms of pensioners and instruments utility metering, was transformed into a valuable information for remote decision-making about the health of living of the pensioner and of the need to provide him emergency care.

Thus, the system anonymously recorded patterns of behavior (e.g., energy consumption) resident, I reveal regular patterns predicted the likelihood of their recurrence.

In case of violation of the normal rhythm of life of the pensioner (did not go for bread in the morning and not turned on the coffee maker in 16 hours, as usual) social workers and relatives could be sent alarm, and offer to contact the retiree to ensure his good health.

In Germany, the recent partnership of the company Malteser International c IBM over 150 apartments equipped with sensors and cognitive systems on the basis of the Internet of things. They can detect emergency situations (e.g. water leak) or atypical behavior of the tenant, and, accordingly, transmit a signal to the emergency services and notify the family via the mobile app.

The developers have also come up with special bracelets that use light signals report on the status of the elderly person:

the green light indicates that everything is in order

yellow indicates the detection of unusual behavior and possible problem

and the red of the emergency requiring an immediate response.


Consider another project implemented at present in the UK. Scientists from IBM and a startup Cera Care in June 2019 launched a six-month study to evaluate the potential of sensor technology a new generation of LiDAR, which employs pulsed laser radiation to create three-dimensional images of objects in their “field of vision”.

Technology is LiDAR, which stands for “detection and ranging using light”, already allows Autonomous vehicles to move through the streets, but researchers and medical professionals believe that it can help the elderly and other vulnerable family members to live longer independently in their homes.

Laboratory testing showed that by a machine learning system based on LiDAR technology, it can be taught to recognize people and even specific items, such as pots and containers for tablets.

As soon as the system based on LiDAR technology will examine the typical day of a person, it will be able to Supplement his own observations of the guardian and help to identify deviations in diet or mobility, which may indicate deterioration of the physical or psychological condition of the person.

In addition, LiDAR systems have sufficient sensitivity to determine the fact of the fall of man, which is one of the most dangerous threats to the health of older people living at home.

But since LiDAR does not convey information about persons, names and other personal characteristics, it provides a unique combination of providing valuable information and protection of privacy.

Modified tablets

Japan Post Group is one of the largest Japanese companies. It provides postal, insurance and banking services. In the country-the largest number of centenarians, the company is expanding the range of services to millions of their older customers.

So, a few years ago in collaboration with IBM and Apple have been developed, perhaps the first of its kind initiative to provide tablets and applications specially designed for older generation. Intuitive application reminded about the need for medication or exercise, and allow people even with impaired vision and coordination to promptly communicate with your loved ones.

Radio help patients with dementia

British researchers from the University of Plymouth are developing a special Radioservice Radio Me for patients with dementia.

Using artificial intelligence technology, with a special biomagnetic bracelet system will be able to measure the vital signs of the person (such as heart rate) in real time to react to symptoms such as anxiety, calming words, or music. The technology also can remind you to take medicine.

Therapeutic robots

In some countries, companies are experimenting with using robots to provide emotional support to older people.

Tombot — ultra-realistic a robot dog, created in collaboration with Hollywood animatronics company Creature Shop, founded by puppeteer Jim Henson, Creator of the puppets-the Muppets. It can respond to human voice and touch, make eye contact and actually soothe, as do real animals.

According to the founder of such animal robots help fill the emotional void of those who cannot care for a real pet.

Of course, many of these and similar projects are still under development and do not have mass application. However, a considerable role in their development will play how the older generation perceives these technologies today.

According to the results of a study conducted by IBM in several countries of Central and Eastern Europe in 2018, more than half of Russian respondents aged 55-65 years old (55%) trust the artificial intelligence technologies.

In addition, the vast majority of respondents (84%) in this age group have a positive attitude towards the innovation based on AI and believes that these systems carry the advantage.

Thus, there is every reason to believe that the digitalization in the field of elderly care in the coming years will bear fruit — to the delight of young and old.

Photo in text and cover photo: Unsplash

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