After a certain age, many people begin to dread their birthday. As the number of candles on their cake grows, so too do their worries about aging. With fears of fragility or disease, old age can feel like an overwhelming amount of possible change. We never want to feel like a burden to our loved ones, or even worse, stuck in our bodies. With so much stigma attached to aging, it’s no surprise that in the United States, Canada, and much of Western Europe, 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their homes for as long as possible, a notion known as ‘Aging in Place.’
Many adult children take on the job of caregivers to help seniors as they age in place. In the United States, for example, 53 million people worked as unpaid, informal caregivers in 2020. Today, panic alarms, wearables, and motion sensors are the principal means of assisting elderly people in their homes, but these solutions are proving ineffective; few people go out of their way to acquire them, and they frequently only purchase them after a crisis, such as an injury or illness. The need to act before it is too late is great. According to one study, one-fourth of seniors who fracture their hip in a fall die within six months of the injury.
The health technology market is only at the beginning of a shift away from such reactive thinking and toward proactive or even preventative methods to assist with aging in place. To be genuinely effective and proactive, a solution must be able to identify and monitor important health indicators to offer caregivers early warning of any concerns so that they may intervene before things worsen. In the medical arena, such prompt action is referred to as critical event intervention.
Caregiver Aware: The New Proactive Healthcare Solution
Our sample eldercare solution, Caregiver Aware, employs WiFi Motion technology to monitor loved ones as they age in place, providing caregivers with peace of mind and insights into a senior’s health while maintaining their privacy, dignity, and freedom. Caregiver Aware specializes in providing in-depth health insights to its users through AI-driven pattern recognition along with customizable routines and alerts. By equipping caregivers with the right information, the app can help them make proactive healthcare decisions, initiate health-rated conversations, and ultimately ensure that loved ones can age in place with minimal stress. Whether it’s tracking the average amount of sleep at night or if weekly activity levels are suddenly decreasing, Caregiver Aware encourages a proactive approach.
Caregiving can also be extremely overwhelming and taxing. Scenarios that cause caregivers the most worry and anxiety are those during an individual’s treatment that, if not discovered and remedied quickly, will hurt the individual’s result. They may feel as if they are playing catch-up with their loved one’s health because they were left in the dark leading up to a critical event if suitable systems are not in place or if they rely on outmoded reactive methods. Reactive tactics can leave caregivers feeling guilty, wishing they had known more so they could have prevented a crucial event in the first place.
Managing Health Issues Through Key Insights
By arming caregivers with information about their loved ones’ typical behaviours, they are equipped to respond more promptly and, in some situations, prevent a more serious occurrence. Early intervention can look like increased in-home care, visiting them to go for walks together, scheduling a doctor’s appointment to inquire about new medications, enrolling them in physical therapy, or improving their housing to keep them safe. Most importantly, Caregiver Aware is less intrusive and more reliable than counting on your loved one to either recognize unusual patterns in their own health or share health concerns they may be embarrassed about. The behaviourial analytics driven by WiFi Motion takes out much of this guesswork.
Caregiver Aware monitors several common indicators of declining health such as:
- Decreased activity levels
- Sleeping trouble
- Excessive sleep interruptions
- Missed activities & events
These fundamental indicators can be tracked via customizable routines and alerts that notify users of significant activity events or their absence. Caregiver Aware offers insights on activity in the home by tracking and comparing the amount or absence of movement occurring in the household each day to typical motion patterns. Similarly, the app tracks sleep patterns by monitoring for inactivity and sleep disturbances throughout the night. Caregivers can also set up customized alerts, including a Rise and Shine Alert notifying them if the household has been up and moving around as usual at the start of the day.
Help Your Customers Take Control of Their Health
The four healthy aging markers described above are essential for understanding a loved one’s health baseline. A significant drop in daily activity compared to usual, for example, could suggest that a person is ill, injured, or in the early stages of muscular atrophy, which could make them more prone to falling. Sleep pattern changes can also be an early indicator of many common maladies and illnesses often encountered by the aging population, like depression, insomnia, or even dementia. The caregiver’s early observation of unusual levels of any of these signs could lead to early action and possible prevention of a more serious occurrence.
There are many benefits to using predictive analytics in proactive healthcare systems. This approach is especially important for chronic disease management, early identification, and prevention. In a previous blog, we further investigated the importance of proactive healthcare versus reactive healthcare, which you can read here.
The Changing Demands of Customers
The truth is that customers’ expectations of their ISPs are increasing. Thanks to ever-evolving healthcare technologies and research, the average consumer is becoming considerably more health-conscious than ever before. According to the 2020 ADM OutsideVoice research platform, 77 percent of consumers want to do more to keep healthy in the future. This data emphasises the fact that customers demand more control. They want to be able to take immediate action to enhance and maintain their health, with visible results. The public already places a high value on health technology, with remote patient monitoring services and tools expected to reach 30 million U.S. patients by 2024, according to research from Insider Intelligence. The desire for at-home preventative solutions is increasing, and it will soon become a typical expectation from customers who will look to their internet service providers for solutions that will help them age in place.
ISPs are uniquely positioned to offer a competitive eldercare service with solutions like Caregiver Aware. They have already carefully cultivated relationships with their customers and can leverage their existing infrastructure to offer a Wi-Fi-based motion sensing solution at a fraction of the cost of other services. While many customers might not yet realize the simplicity and peace of mind of an eldercare solution, ISPs have the opportunity to offer a new and attractive service. The unique monitoring insights available with Caregiver Aware that aren’t provided by classic monitoring solutions also give ISPs a competitive advantage allowing them to attract new clients and access the expanding health sector. With a foundational technology like Caregiver Aware, they will be able to add additional capabilities and products for years to come, allowing them to create customised solutions that best suit their customers. Through a customer’s existing wireless network infrastructure, they can utilize motion-based insights as a base service which allows them to prime for future services at additional subscription fees.
How ISPs can Capitalize on Healthcare Tech
Health monitoring is most successful when applied early in a user’s life to increase the amount of data collected to fuel potential analysis. Caregiver Aware is a non-invasive and easy to activate solution designed to be easier for seniors to adopt when they are still healthy and active rather than waiting until an event happens later in life. The earlier in life that Caregiver Aware is activated, the longer the customer’s subscription life cycle is and the more revenue an ISP can target.
Customers are also more willing to pay for healthcare solutions than ever. According to a 2020 PwC Health Research Institute consumer poll, 85% of respondents are eager to utilize DIY healthcare solutions at home, such as remote monitoring. Furthermore, the 2020 McKinsey Future of Wellness survey found that consumers in every country spend the most money on products and services that promote improved health, with 37% planning to spend more on wellness services in the future year. The market for cutting-edge healthcare technologies will only grow in the coming years. ISPs together with Cognitive Systems are in a great position to deliver empowered health monitoring solutions that improve the lives of their consumers, leverage a market set to boom, and future proof for the growth of their own services. Caregiver Aware was created to provide a bridge for service providers to employ data analytics to construct a care-focused ecosystem, which will be a game-changing step in designing future broadband services.