Though it’s a fair assumption that the future of caregiving will involve plenty of shiny new technology, not every leap forward will resemble science fiction.
From utilizing tech to relieve caregiver shortages to redefining death itself, here are a few ideas on what the future might hold for aging, according to a Forbes article from Next Avenue, a publication for seniors.
Five years from now
In the next five years, caregivers will start to make use of new apps and online tools that are only available to researchers right now, experts told Next Avenue. Meanwhile, as baby boomers age and senior caregivers start to feel the labor crunch, the U.S. health care system likely will shift from providing senior care and services to making sure more people don’t need them in the first place.
Disease trends are also looking a little rosier than previous forecasts. For instance, although the absolute number of people with Alzheimer’s is on the rise, the percentage of the U.S. population developing the form of dementia is actually falling, according to the article.
10 years from now
In a decade, it’s predicted that sensors will be able to spot seniors’ problems as they arise, allowing more people to age at home instead of in an assisted living community or skilled nursing facility. Additionally, things like advances in universal design and urban planning will make homes more accessible and communities more walkable.
The concept of death itself might also get an overhaul in the next decade. Instead of aiming to keep people alive for as long as possible, caregivers might instead encourage patients to think about having a “good death,” free from prolonged suffering.
’The Jetsons’ future is coming
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Any expert worth their salt admits the far future is hard to predict, but it’s likely that big technological changes are on the way.
For instance, caregivers might one day tailor their treatments and prescriptions to their patients’ genetic makeup. Robots that resemble Rosie in “The Jetsons” could also eventually help care for the elderly, and self-driving cars could be commonplace many years from now.
But that’s not the only way the future could resemble the popular cartoon. More housing could become intergenerational, with people of all ages living in close proximity much like the Jetson family packed into their flying car, experts told Next Avenue.
Written by Tim Regan