The Future of Aging Well Is Here

Telemedicine, age-friendly communities and gene editing for disease treatment: When we look at the many things helping us age well today, it almost sounds like an episode of The Jetsons, circa 1962. The Jetsons was an animated kids’ show about a futuristic family. While everyday use of jetpacks and flying cars may still be a way off, kids who watched the Jetsons back then are now benefiting from real “space age” technology—along with a healthy dose of human compassion. Here are a few tech- and human-related trends that we can all celebrate.

Advances in healthcare

This is probably the most important category of change. Today, all of these once-futuristic technologies are happening every day:

  • Telemedicine: The COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in the use of telemedicine, which allows patients to receive medical care remotely, either by phone or video. This can be particularly useful for older adults who may have mobility issues or live in rural areas.
  • Wearable technology: Wearable devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers can help older adults monitor their health and activity levels. Some devices even have features such as fall detection, which can alert emergency services if the user falls and is unable to get up.
  • Artificial intelligence: Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used increasingly in healthcare to help with tasks like analyzing medical images, predicting patient outcomes, and identifying potential health risks. AI has the potential to improve the accuracy and efficiency of medical diagnoses and treatment, which can benefit older adults who may have complex medical needs.
  • Vaccine development: The development and use of the COVID-19 vaccines represents a major achievement in the field of vaccine development. These vaccines use a small piece of the virus’s genetic material (called messenger RNA or mRNA) to stimulate the body’s immune system to produce an immune response against the virus. One of the key advantages of mRNA vaccines is that they can be developed and produced more quickly than traditional vaccines, which are made using inactivated or weakened forms of the virus. We can expect researchers to develop mRNA vaccines for other diseases.

Support for caregivers

Caregiving for an older loved one can be both demanding and rewarding role. In recent years we have seen increased focus on the challenges of caregiving, as a result of both the COVID pandemic and the ballooning population of aging baby boomers. We hope to see continued support and resources available for caregivers to help them manage their responsibilities.

Age-friendly communities

Many communities are working to become more “age friendly,” which means that they are taking steps to make it easier for older adults to live independently and stay active and engaged. This might involve things like improving transportation options, providing access to health and wellness resources, and creating spaces that are more accessible for people with mobility challenges. Of course, home care and home health agencies like Windward play a big role in this improvement.

Opportunities for socialization and connection

With the rise of technology and the internet, it’s becoming easier for older adults to stay connected with friends and loved ones, even if they are not physically close by.

All of us here at Windward are grateful for our health and well-being in 2022, and for the many clients who allow us to help them age well. We are proud to be a County of San Diego Live Well partner and are happy to see the progress being made in our own backyard, especially with Age Well San Diego. We find our work meaningful and inspiring, so it is always a pleasure to see good things happening that will benefit older adults. Here’s to a healthy 2023!