What Is AgeTech? A Guide to Technology for Older Adults
We live in a digital world, and as time goes by, more and more elements of everyday life are becoming technology driven. There is a stigma surrounding the older generation and modern tech, with an incorrect assumption that it is not meant for them, and they can't get the same benefits as younger people can.
AgeTech is changing that, and with products such as iBrainy hitting the market, older adults have more support and incentive to get online and get digitally connected than ever before.
In this guide, we explore the AgeTech market and explain more about what makes it an essential part of modern technology development. We also share examples of potentially life-changing elderly-focused tech, including a full report on the iBrainy platform.
Aging Trend Around the World
Getting older is part of life- technology hasn't found a way around that yet! The global population is aging, with average life expectancies rising and birth rates decreasing. This shifting demographic means a growing need for elderly support and increased demand for products and services tailored to this age group.
Right now, there are roughly 1 billion people over the age of 60- almost 13% of the world's population. That figure is expected to hit 20% in the next 30 years.
What does this aging trend mean for social balance and the digital world?
With more elderly and fewer young people, the care gap is growing, meaning there are fewer potential family caregivers for every older relative. That increases the necessity for technology-driven support alternatives to allow people more independence and make them less reliant on younger family members.
People are living longer, dramatically extending the retirement period. If people can now expect a good 20 or even 30 years of retirement, they need things to fill it with- and digital tools can help make that possible.
Because life expectancy is going up and people are reaching much more advanced ages, the idea that older people are not used to technology and don’t know how to use it is becoming rapidly outdated. The technology boom started in the '90s, so someone turning 60 in the 2020s has already spent half their life with digital gadgets! In the not-too-distant future, those considered elderly will have grown up with tech and are likely to view it as an integral part of their lives.
AgeTech Market Size
The so-called Silver Economy- a.k.a. the over 65s- is booming. It is worth around $3.5 trillion in the US alone. Considering this, AgeTech could be considered a seriously overlooked industry, as it struggles to secure funding over companies focusing on younger people.
That said, the market is growing, and has already hit a value of over $1 trillion. It is expected to more than double in the next few years, with most predictions sitting around $2.7 trillion by 2025.
Examples of Technology for the Elderly
AgeTech- sometimes lovingly referred to as GrannyTech- comes in many forms. The needs of the elderly are just as varied as the rest of the population. Here are a few examples of popular AgeTech genres that are helping improve older adults’ quality of life.
Memory Aids and Assistants
One of the things we all dread about getting older is becoming a little forgetful. Although plenty of young people could also use a helping hand remembering what they need to do each day, it is more vital for the elderly not to miss things out.
A prime example of this is medication alerts- a.k.a. an app that tracks daily medications and sends a reminder when it is time to take them. Other memory assistants include interactive calendars, virtual assistants, cooking timers, and more.
Memory aid tech plays a significant role in helping people live more independently for longer. It replaces the need for a person to make sure meds are taken and essential tasks completed, letting people hold onto their self-sufficient lifestyles.
Personal Alarm Systems
Those in the over 80 category are more at risk of falling or needing emergency care when nobody is around. Having a personal alarm that alerts family or medical services of irregularities can be lifesaving.
They come in many forms- some are kept on one’s person and others installed around the home. The idea is that if something happens, AI tech can automatically send for help in case the person can’t do it themselves.
Vision is another thing that grows weary over time for most people, and it can get harder to read. Screen readers and other visual tools make it easier. Some tablets are designed specifically for adults with hindered vision- as are smartphones designed specifically for the elderly market.
Staying connected is essential for a person's mental health and wellbeing. Mobility issues may make it harder to get out there and interact, but that doesn't mean anyone should be left to feel isolated. The AgeTech industry has a booming communications department aimed at encouraging interaction amongst the elderly and helping them stay close with their friends and family.
Health Apps and Monitors
Smart bands help all generations keep on top of healthy living, but the AgeTech sector works on products tailored to the physical needs of the elderly. Some tools can be customized based on a person's medical history, ongoing treatments, and more- while others serve as simple tools to watch for signs of danger and alert people to seek medical attention.
Robotic Cleaning Tools
It may sound futuristic, but the future is already here! Robots are now integral parts of modern tech- especially when it comes to good housekeeping. Everyday chores get more difficult with time, and robotic cleaning assistants are godsends for house-proud seniors who enjoy their independence.
Why Is AgeTech Important?
We already touched on what the aging population trend means for social norms and the digital world, but let's focus on why AgeTech is so important in helping with the transitioning demographic. People are living longer, there are more over-60s than ever, family sizes are getting smaller, and the elderly are becoming more independent- through want or necessity.
Here are a few of the most important reasons for the AgeTech industry to not only exist but thrive.
People are choosing to live at home rather than move to care facilities.
Advances in medical treatment make it possible for more people to live in their homes until the end of their lives, which is an incredible thing- but not without challenges. Making this not only possible but safe and comfortable is something that technology can help with. Those who do not have the support of human caregiving can turn to AgeTech advances to allow them to live out their days with dignified independence in their own homes.
Older people account for more and more of the economy and its growth each year.
The spending power of the Silver Economy cannot be ignored and should not be underestimated. With excepted figures sitting around $15 trillion (yep- trillion with a T), a lot of money is tied up with the over 65s. What that means is a demand for tailored products and services that can tap into this market and stimulate further economic growth globally. AgeTech is an essential part of that.
Technology can help with so many challenging aspects of aging.
Independent living is the big-ticket item, but there are many other challenges to getting older that can be made easier with the introduction of AgeTech. Staying sociable, connected, active, and engaged are all things people can struggle with as they stroll through their silver years. Keeping up to date with the ever-changing world can help people feel younger for longer- and ultimately get more out of the last quarter of their lives.
iBrainy: Technology for Older Adults
One exceptionally exciting new AgeTech platform is iBrainy: an interactive e-learning community driven by artificial intelligence and built specifically for older adults. The idea behind the platform is to help the elderly feel relevant and be proactive about keeping their minds engaged and stimulated. It aims to empower people to take late-life learning and connections into their own hands through a simple but sophisticated AI program.
What iBrainy Offers Its Users
The primary focus of iBrainy is learning. It offers quizzes, courses, interactive lectures, and academic classes- all designed and structured with older adults in mind. Each class, quiz, and course offers accessible learning with an interactive community vibe, helping build general knowledge, specific skills, and social interaction.
Other elements include guided group discussions following lectures and classes, gamification, and other collaborative conversations. The goal is to build a community that combats isolation and loneliness while stimulating the mind, encouraging positive mental health, helping people cope with ageism, and connecting people through shared experiences.
The platform was created with specially made UX/UI design features built for maximum accessibility and usability for the elderly market. iBrainy is an excellent example of how AgeTech can improve an older individual’s quality of life in such a simple way.
How Does iBrainy Benefit Older Adults?
1. Become part of a community.
2. Make new friends.
3. Learn new skills.
4. Keep the mind active and stimulated for improved cognitive function.
5. Proactively maintain positive mental health.
6. Stay engaged with ongoing affairs and modern topics to stay relevant in today’s world.
7. Access fun and interactive learning from home.
AgeTech is changing the outlook for older adults everywhere. As the market expands and demand continues to grow, the future is bright for this sector of the technology industry- just as the future is bright for the elderly generation in the 21st Century.