By the year 2016, the projected cost of elder care in the United States will be $319 billion, and it is quickly becoming an incredible burden on seniors with fixed incomes as well as their families. As a result, more and more people are choosing at-home care for their elders. One obvious upside to at-home care is the relief that it gives the retirement and nursing home infrastructure; however, another positive result has been the advancement of elder care safety monitoring and assistance technology.
Elder care technology has advanced considerably since the days of the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” medical alarm buttons from Life Call. New technology includes bio-sensors, cloud networks of medical records, and robotics. One of the companies on the forefront of elder care technology is Vital Connect. It has developed wearable health sensors that track everything from heart rate and body temperature to sensing falls and other accidents.
Decreasing Elder Care Costs
New research has been released that found that the new technology in elder care is driving down long-term costs. In Great Britain, emergency visits have been reduced by twenty percent for elders wearing health sensors and “telehealth” monitors. In the United States, the FCC estimated that the use of health sensors in hospitals has reduced the cost of hospital-born infection by $12,000 per patient. However, the biggest reduction in costs with new elder care technology is in live-in care. Typically, live-in care for seniors can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000 per month. With the use of elder care technology and health monitoring sensors the need for live-in care can be delayed by months or even years for seniors still living on their own.
Additional Benefits of Elder Care Technology
One added benefit of the development of new technology is the increased quality of life and autonomy for elders. Seniors are getting the opportunity to make more decisions regarding their healthcare options and general life decisions because of the decreasing need for live-in care, emergency visits, and overall costs. By keeping elders out of the assisted living and nursing home systems they are left with more money and choices in their twilight years.
The Future of Elder Care Technology
Even though elder care technology is still in its early development stages the market is booming. Over 138 companies are now raising equity and financing that specialize in technology for seniors. Even large cable providers are getting involved in the elder care technology sector and are planning on selling elder care services to its customers within the next two years. Because of the increasing demand, high costs for alternatives, and large number of new companies in the market the elder care industry is poised to see some of the biggest technological changes of any sector in the coming years.
For help putting financial plans in place to secure access to the best elder care, be sure to contact an elder law estate planning attorney today.