Professionals have been warning society for decades about looming problems associated with an aging population and soaring healthcare costs.
The senior population is growing extremely fast, particularly in booming economies such as Japan, China, and Europe. In the US, those 65 years and older are expected to become 20% of the overall population by 2030.
Obviously, there is nothing bad about increasing life expectancy when we approach the topic in isolation. The danger is in healthcare programs that are dependent on a growing younger population fueling the economy.
Decreases in younger population lead to labor power shortages and the healthcare industry is no exception. In the US, there is already a gap between the required number of health workers and the actual number of physicians and caregivers that are being trained. The US is expected to face a shortage of between 40,800 and 104,900 physicians by 2030. As a result, the number of seniors left on their own grows every year.
To solve this problem, healthcare providers can offload essential components of elderly care to artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.
AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines. Its work is achieved through research and progress in the fields of machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and cognitive computing. AI is extremely helpful when it comes to the analysis of huge streams of data, pattern detection, and the automatization of simple processes. But AI has some shortcomings too. AI is often trained using universally accessible data, which can contain past racial disparities from which AI learns and which it replicates. Thus, we should be careful with the data we input in order to avoid the repetition of past mistakes.
There are several AI technologies already being actively used for senior care. Let’s have a look at them, starting with the least complicated.
It is a fact that the majority of seniors worldwide live alone. This not only causes loneliness, but also increases the risk of unattended emergency as there is no one to monitor a senior in need of care. Home assistants help seniors to stay connected with the world around them. They remind seniors to do important things like take prescriptions, drink water, and switch off gas and electric appliances. Since a decrease in cognitive function is a common condition among the elderly, home assistants help them to stay mentally active using activities like brain-training games. Home assistants do not require deep technical knowledge and are easy to employ, making them elder-friendly. However, their functions are very limited; they cannot provide the close monitoring needed to take optimal care of their charges.
Portable devices and wearables are a strong options for preventing sudden emergency situations among seniors. Smart watches are a good example of wearable devices that help track activity levels, quality of sleep, sleep duration, and location patterns. Data gathered through constant monitoring helps predict possible risks so that caregivers can take action. Some of the latest models of wearable devices can even detect when a senior falls, notifying caregivers so that they can get help as fast as possible. However, despite being extremely helpful in monitoring physical rhythms, portable and wearable devices need to be charged, and some seniors can find them too complicated to use.
The working principles of these home-installed monitoring systems are similar to those of wearable technologies. Monitoring systems can be based on sensors or video cameras, and sometimes both technologies are used together to provide the best service. Sensors can be used to monitor the location of a senior, automatically turning on or off the lights, changing room temperature, and locking doors.
Cameras provide some additional features because they allow not only detection of the exact pose or activity a senior is involved in, but also behavior monitoring.
Let’s take a closer look at behavior monitoring technologies.
AI-based video monitoring is traditional video camera monitoring upgraded with AI software. AI has revolutionized the concept of video surveillance, making the time- and resource-consuming task of video analysis faster and more accurate. Besides saving time and preventing human errors, AI has broadened the applications of video surveillance. In the past, video data obtained from security cameras was mostly used for post-event analysis; in the time of AI, real-time alerts and prediction are possible.
We covered topic of AI-based video monitoring in one of our previous posts. Check here for the full guide on AI-based video analytics.
Camera-based behavior monitoring is considered the most efficient of all remote elderly care systems. Behavior monitoring systems remedy shortcomings of other, simpler AI-based technologies used for senior care. Camera-based monitoring systems don’t need any assistance from seniors, don’t need to be charged daily, and don’t need to be warned of events. 24/7 behavior monitoring-based elderly care becomes possible the moment installation is complete.
Unlike other technologies that are becoming outdated as time passes, AI-based behavior monitoring systems become better the longer they are used and the more data they accumulate. AI behavioral monitoring systems can not only classify activities (standing, walking, running, lying down), but also make predictions about the next movement for a particular person and learn how long it takes them to perform a particular activity. Since different seniors suffer from different conditions, what can be an easy task for one can be difficult for others. This function makes it possible to precisely customize analysis and the caregiver notification system itself.
Constant data collection and analysis allow identification of a decline in a senior’s cognitive and physical functions. Since AI continually analyses input, data systems can catch moments when it takes significantly longer than before for an older person to stand up, gain balance, or use the bathroom.
AIIR Scout behavioral monitoring system by ALCHERA has all of the aforementioned capabilities and more.
AIIR Scout can be applied to existing devices: It is an easily expandable cloud-based solution that does not require additional installation. AIIR Scout is one of the most efficient behavioral monitoring systems in the industry. The accuracy of its monitoring does not decrease even in crowded environments.
It’s a fact that the global population is rapidly aging. Lucky for us, technology is keeping pace. ALCHERA continues to contribute to the healthcare revolution with the goal of making technology affordable and healthcare universal. AIIR Scout reduces the healthcare burden not only on healthcare professionals, but also on caregivers. AI guarantees the right of the elderly to safe and high-quality healthcare.
If you are seeking the best solution for behavior monitoring, contact our sales department to receive a consultation.