Elderly woman drinking a cup of coffee while using a tablet

In Singapore, the number of senior citizens aged 65 and above is expected to reach 900,000 by 2030. Coupled with rising chronic illness demands and the nation’s low birth rate, it is important that seniors are provided with the support they need for healthy ageing.

Here is where cutting edge technology plays a part.

Whether they are seniors living at home or in assisted living facilities, the use of assistive technology or specially curated assistive devices for seniors can provide better home care and help seniors stay independent or improve senior care services for caregivers.

Instead of alienating seniors, healthcare digital transformation can provide them and caregivers with support. As part of Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative, the country has rolled out tele-health rehabilitation, e-services and even robotic nurses, shifting the concept of elderly care from hospital to home.

Smart Sensor Technology to Aid Elderly Care

Caregivers may soon be able to have greater peace of mind when they are away from home, thanks to smart technology, or to be more specific, smart sensor technology. Once installed, these smart sensors can passively monitor the activities of frail or elderly family members and send out an alert whenever an abnormality is detected. Smart homes will also have panic wireless buttons for the elderly to notify their loved ones in the event of an emergency.

Tele-Health Rehabilitation Can Bring Elderly Care to the Home

Seniors who require rehabilitative services may be able to recover from the comfort of their own home soon with the help of tele-health rehabilitation systems. Therapists (or other healthcare professionals)_will be able to guide their patients through the session via an internet-based video call and assess their progress through data provided by the wearable motion sensors attached to the patients' limbs. Caregivers can also join in the session remotely through the video-conferencing service.

Assistive Technology Through Robotic Assistants

Assistive technology devices for seniors are also part of the digital wave that will bring elderly care into a new era. Are you familiar with the names Pepper and Palro? In Japan, Pepper the robot works as a "carebot" in an elderly home, providing entertainment and explaining medical reports to patients, while Palro the mini robot can provide companionship and even assist in physical therapy.

Meanwhile, Singapore has also been exploring how robots can help provide support for older citizens. Robocoach, developed by Ngee Ann Polytechnic, is a robot that can help seniors stay healthy by leading exercise sessions. Currently, research is underway to develop a screen radar that could help people with visual impairments have improved learning and communication experiences.

Currently, research is underway to develop a screen radar that could help people with visual impairments have improved learning and communication experiences.

Wearable Technology for Seniors

Regular exercise is key to healthy ageing! With the help of wearable technology (such as steps trackers) and our Healthy 365 mobile app, hundreds of thousands of participants — both young and old — took part in the National Steps Challenge. Besides tracking their steps and earning rewards, seniors can also track their diet through the Healthy 365 app.

Digital Healthcare Companion

With HealthHub, seniors living by themselves can also be empowered and equipped with health-related knowledge and tools to take greater ownership of their health and wellness. Besides medical information, such as details of the medication they are taking and known side effects, seniors can also make use of the app on their mobile phone to locate healthier eateries and sports facilities nearby, or even set reminders for them to take their medication!

Additionally, caregivers can better manage the health of their loved ones with convenient access to their medical records and appointments! To start, seniors will have to grant access to their nominated caregiver through the app in four simple steps. They can then choose which health records they want to share, including vitals, lab test results, screening results and medical information.

Smart Technology the Elderly Are Already Using

As virtual reality paves the way to virtually visit remote locations, seniors with limited mobility are now able to combat isolation and boredom with VR apps. There are also phone apps that can help seniors monitor their heart rates, or allow their family members to track where they are.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

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