In Japan, nearly a third of the population is over 65, and there is a high demand for elder care. The Wall Street Journal reports on a number of new tech innovations that are making it easier for caregivers to improve the quality of life for older people and help them age in place. The Japanese government hopes these innovations will also rein in health care costs.
Health technology may make it easier for caregivers to care for older people in their homes. Older people, in turn, may be able to avoid or delay going into a nursing home, which can be very expensive.
One new tech product, the DFree, produced by Z-Works, can alert a caregiver through a mobile phone that an older person needs to use the bathroom. To alert the caregiver, the person simply needs to wear a special sensor on his stomach. The sensor detects when the person’s bladder is full and may reduce the patient’s risk of incontinence.
The DFree also allows people to monitor their own bladders.
Another tech product monitors a patient’s heartbeat and breathing. It is a small radar sensor that is placed beneath the bed.
Yet another sensor can detect the likelihood of a patient falling out of bed. And, another can measure how long it takes for a patient to return to bed after going to the bathroom.
New health tech devices are also being developed to help people improve function after a stroke. One such device has the patient use virtual-reality goggles that test and improve the patient’s ability to perform simple tasks.
Many of these Japanese devices are likely to find their way to the US, where our population is also aging at a rapid pace. In 16 years, 2035, more people in the US will be over 65 than than under 18.
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