Augmented Reality Can Benefit Seniors Too
Welcome to the silver tsunami where technologies like AR and VR can bridge the gaps in connections and the tools to support seniors with mental and physical disabilities
Globally, healthcare is monitoring and pushing into the virtual reality space for the “real world” benefits for patients. The Asia Pacific region is diving into the augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) area with an expected expenditure of $7.5 billion in 2019, which has doubled since last year.
The use cases for AR/VR are being produced in the areas of “(educational) training, digital prototyping, architectural designs, retail monitoring” said Avinav Trigunait, research director at International Data Corporation (IDC). “According to IDC findings, the investment rates in AR/AR are expected to grow at an annual rate of 81% until 2023, spanning consumer, enterprise and commercial segments.
“The number of people aged 65 or older is projected to grow from an estimated 524 million in 2010 to nearly 1.5 billion in 2050, with most of the increase in developing countries” reports the World Healthcare Organization (WHO).
The silver economy is real
The silver economy is real and seniors make up 15.6% of the entire US population. The population over 60 is projected to reach 94.7 million in 2060 in the US; this older population is expected to outnumber the youth.“Technology solutions empower the aging by helping build new markets, delivering new products and services, supporting new work practices and creating connected communities that respond to their needs,” as per the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
As we age, the body changes, not only physically but mentally as well. The aging population globally will be focused on the constant battle of the loss of memory, mobility, depression, and disconnection from their community. These moments of loss come in waves. “Reducing severe disability from disease and health conditions is one key to holding down health and social costs.” notes the World Health Organization (WHO).
Technologies like AR and VR can bridge the gaps in connections and the tools to support seniors with mental and physical losses.
Virtual therapy, real benefits
The use of VR for reminiscence therapy to rekindle the flame of time in a senior’s mind and to recall the past in the future is a fresh step. The process of triggering memories virtually with sights, sounds, and storytelling can really stoke the passion for life. When seniors are using VR in a community group, such can lead to continuing conversations of the past.
A group of veterans sharing past experiences of travel during service can reminiscence on places that only lived in the mind’s eye. Such engagement and interactions can break down isolation with shared memories. Case in point: tech startup Rendever focuses on VR for senior living and caregivers to transport the mind and re-engage this population and community.
The senior economy is growing fast, so is technology and to understand the healthcare market is to understand the need to invest in our senior population with innovation.