07 Sep Social isolation of the elderly: How is technology helping
The so-called “elder orphans” elderly and isolated, generate new technological challenges, a thousand miles from the techno-incompatibility that is attributed to them. What if the virtual world finally allows us to come together?
New technology and the elderly: a paradox?
They’re old, and they live alone. Their childrens, whom are usually right in the middle of their working life, are on average 225 km from them. They prefer to live at home rather than at expensive medical institutions, which sign for them the end of a kind of autonomy. Nevertheless, there is a real awareness of the aging of our parents, while professional opportunities lead us further and further away from them.
The IoT, the connected objects, make it possible to tighten these relations that the kilometers can distend. Are connected objects and seniors incompatible? Apparently, yes. Two-thirds of people also think that the difficulty seniors have in using new communication technologies makes it more difficult to maintain a link. And yet, the constant evolution of technology intends to fight against the isolation of our seniors by reweaving the inter-generational bond.
Health connected: towards a mass market
A drug takes 10 to 20 years to be approved, but connected health technology has no time to wait: it has to prove it by experience, and it has to do it infallibly. The latest generation IoT is much more potent than it was five years ago: if the technology is improving so fast, it is because it has the right to make mistakes. When it comes to health or safety, it is not.
Thus, connected health is gradually transforming into a real public interest issue. In the middle of incubation, it appears as a practical solution to fighting against the isolation of the elderly and reassures the relatives. The first guarantee of its reliability will give the green light to a market promised to expand very actively, whose players are unanimous: as soon as widespread, connected health will switch to a mass market. A robust viral potential that is already rooted in public consciousness.
Between technophilia and technophobia
In the 90s, mobile was expensive and not very accessible. Today, everyone owns a smartphone. Connected health inevitably follows the same trend. Only one of his targets, the seniors, is not a technophile. She has lived with radio and TV: technology is therefore not part of her habits. One of the challenges of connected health today is to know how to talk about needs and not functions, and for that, it must adapt to an audience.
75% of health expenditure is concentrated over the last 15 years of life. In this case, connected health targets an elderly and isolated, technophobic population, but at the origin of a need to which digital is beginning to respond. Although this is relatively recent, it still suffers from a lack of notoriety, explanations, and credibility.
Without the telecom industry that evangelizes this practice, the IoT on health raises little awareness. It is too bad because it can embody a response to a double problem: our parents’ isolation and our distance during their loss of autonomy. As if, for once, technology paradoxically brought a little humanity into our bonds.