Although Fitbits and other wearable technology are popular among the youth, the elderly have been hesitant to welcome the digital trend that can actually be beneficial to them, Stat News reported Monday. The devices which are used to track things such as physical activity, diets and other lifestyle metrics can provide seniors with the opportunity to improve and manage their own health.
One in six consumers sport wearables and 48 percent of them fall between the ages of 18 and 34, according to a Nielsen report from 2014 stated. Aside from alerting a family member to incidents like an elderly loved one having fallen down, wearables are helpful in monitoring heart rate, stress levels, the number of steps taken and more.
The elderly make up an estimated 14.5 percent of the population in the United States and are credited with being the first group to sport wearables. In 1972, the Lifeline call button was created as an emergency response system for seniors to wear should they every need help. The medical alert system worn by millions of elderly Americans is now known as the Philips Lifeline.
In order for seniors to be more open to using updated wearables and integrating them into their everyday life, they need to be designed in a way that caters to their needs, such as features like automatic fall detections, voice communication, alerts and more. Along with improving the health of the elderly, wearables can help their doctors have a better understanding of a patient’s deteriorating health and can help prevent further health problems.
“The most important thing to remember is you are designing technology for people who need the benefits of a device but lack the skills in many cases to use modern tech,” founder of elderly wearable UnaliWear Thor Schrock told Wareable in May. “It is simply not possible to design a device that meets the expectations of a millennial while being operable by an octogenarian,” he said.