Never have the worlds of technology and aging been more linked than they are right now. Major advancements in medicine, technological developments, and research have allowed us to not only reframe our perception of growing old, but have given us the opportunity to potentially live far longer than we would without these breakthroughs. This is not to say that new technology has eradicated aging all together–– of course not–– but it has certainly eased the path into aging and made it possible to flourish and feel your best within that season of life.
So what, exactly, does this future frontier of aging look like? How will what Forbes calls “Age-Tech”, or, the intersection of longevity and technology, shape businesses, our healthcare system, and––on a more micro level–– our overall wellness and desire to live longer?
When we think about the link between aging and technology, we’re not exclusively talking about medical technology and equipment that aims to preserve or prolong life, though many developments within this sector have and will continue to take shape. Digital innovation in the aging economy also means harnessing the connective power of app-based services to support the wellness and aging process. Services like healthy meal delivery, upgrading on-site senior care facilities, refining remote care and in-home care options, and even creating easy-to-use social networks for retired seniors to help them find a sense of connection and purpose during a transitional or isolating time.
Of course, research and medicine itself is also undergoing major innovation as we seek to find ways to slow down the aging process. Perhaps the newest and most popular area of development in aging pharmaceuticals is around a class of drugs called senolytics. Senolytics work by targeting aging cells and destroying them, effectively “slowing down” the aging process by ridding the body of cells that are no longer serving it or able to carry out its normal functions to keep the body healthy. Another more familiar area of medicine as it relates to aging is stem cell research. Stem cells are meant to act as regenerators that can restore the structures of damaged tissues and organs. Many age-tech start-ups and businesses across the spectrum of medicine, wellness, and even beauty have harnessed the power of stem cells to reverse signs of the aging process.
Customized Care & Services
For aging seniors or people who may actually suffer a disability because of their age, receiving specialized care that is not only efficient and effective but also allows them to stay comfortably at home is crucial. In the future, care and treatments will be more precise and comprehensive, allowing those just beginning to see and feel the effects of aging to address it at the onset, and for those already aging to identify issues more quickly. As Telehealth and telemedicine services become more accessible and sophisticated, users can get the same type of care and in many cases even more personal and targeted care than one would in a traditional care setting. Customized care also means the possibility of allowing people to pick and choose health plans based on their needs rather than paying for coverage that doesn’t apply to their issues.
New advancements in age-tech also give us the opportunity to identify and support the preferences and needs of aging adults; if we know where needs are lacking–– whether it’s physical, mental, or even wider concerns like health insurance or getting the right medicine at a fair price, companies can create services that fill this void.
A Focus on Feeling
To make real advancements within aging, the focus can’t and won’t be on reversing the aging process alone; ensuring that seniors feel younger and better will be given equal billing in the age-tech space. Prolonging life with technology means that aging persons should get to experience life on their terms and enjoy it to the fullest. As technologies and services devoted to easing the aging process will certainly target the body, paying attention to the potential of a more fulfilling and enjoyable lifestyle means that companies will begin offering services that acknowledge the attitudes and circumstances of older people. According to research from Deloitte, as more tangible issues like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are cured, the focus will shift on addressing mental and behavioral issues as they relate to aging. Social isolation, loneliness, displacement–– all of these are feelings that older people may face as they age, and so tech that encourages mental stimulation, socialization, and inner fulfillment will also be an important sector of the age-tech economy.
A Whole-Body Approach
Like many other health and wellness sectors, the link between technology and aging will assume a more total body and comprehensive approach. Technology that aids in the aging process will not be created to serve the sole purpose of fixing a single issue, but to address all parts of the body, mind, and spirit. In this same vein, creating products and services specifically targeted at old people is not the goal. Companies like ourselves are dedicated to creating services that link everybody and help people of all ages feel good wherever they are at, whether they’re already seniors, heading in that direction, or simply wanting to prepare for that stage of life.
Planning for the Future
Perhaps one of the most significant developments we’ll see in aging is educating and preparing younger generations for old age. Many longevity start-ups are looking at our current health issues and determining where we can improve now so that the aging process slows down. Lack of exercise, childhood obesity, and an inability to access healthy foods are all widespread issues we see regularly right now and that can cause issues down the road once the current younger generation begins aging. Care in the future will be focused on predictive and preventative measures rather than retroactive and reactionary ones. For example, technology and smart platforms that have detailed records of your medical history will be able to detect other possible challenges and provide intuitive recommendations that can counteract potential issues before they actually become them. Deloitte analyzes that soon the focus will shift away from “closing gaps to preventing gaps”.
At Greenfield Groves, founded by Lindsay Giguiere, we are a health and wellness company ourselves, our core value is to help people thrive on the inside and on the outside wherever they may be within their own wellness journey. To us, age shouldn’t apprehend you from leading a healthy, fulfilling life, and we believe using new technologies that not only ease and potentially reverse the aging process, but appreciate and support those who are older through complete customization will be the key in carving out a better path to aging. All of this grows deep within our passion for humanizing health and wellness.