Two ways technology can support an ageing population
Parliamentary findings on the ageing population have revealed that there are currently 10 million people in the UK over 65 years old. With latest projections nearly doubling that number to around 19 million by 2050.
Within the current numbers there are currently three million people aged more than 80 years and this number is expected to grow at an even faster rate.
As the statistics suggest people are living longer, which can be attributed to a number of factors including better healthcare. But how can we ensure that people are kept as healthy as possible into old age?
Our suggestion is that far more focus needs to be put on health screening.
Many will be familiar with health monitoring. It is an important tool in managing conditions which have already been identified but arguably health screening is equally important as this is how conditions can be identified and treated at an early stage.
For example atrial fibrillation (AF) which is suffered by nearly five per cent of the UK population aged 65 and above (which means 500,000 currently rising to 950,000 by 2050). Atrial fibrillation can often result in strokes (people with AF are five times as likely to have a stroke) so early detection and treatment could dramatically reduce the number of strokes. However, AF is one condition which is often hard to detect as it can be asymptomatic and intermittent.
Monitoring in the home with non-contact technology is therefore potentially an ideal application.
Inside the home non-contact technology can also be used to help better manage conditions such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), cystic fibrosis and heart failure recording symptoms, vital signs and then using sophisticated machine learning technology to identify abnormal readings which should be followed up on by a clinician.