In 2016, 15% of Australians were aged 65 and over. This is predicted to reach 22% by 2056. As Australia ages, so too must its assistive services for seniors.
Advances in technology aim to ease the aches and pains of the elderly and help them to live longer, more fulfilling lives. There’s a focus on supporting independence, providing better facilities to enable mobility, encouraging discussion of mental health and embracing assistive devices. We explore how everyday Australians can help their elderly relatives and close friends to experience vitality and comfort in their later years.
More in-home carers.
From 2013-14, it was recorded that 76% of older Australians owned their own home. Many elderly persons value the freedom, comfort and independence associated with living in the house they have inhabited for many years. While there are numerous benefits to living in an aged care facility or retirement village, living at home is often the desired choice for older retirees. This is why it’s essential that careers in aged care, specifically personal carers who either live-in or regularly visit the elderly in their houses, are highly valued and promoted. An ageing population means more opportunities for people to undergo training in aged care, and provide personal support to the elderly. A personal carer visits several times a day to cook meals, lend a hand with the grocery shopping or even just sit for a chat to provide company. Aged care is a growing sector with demand for workers, so if you like to give a helping hand, are a good listener, and have respect for the elderly, aged care may be a beneficial career path for you!
Better access to facilities for the mobility-impaired.
As Australian seniors age, their mobility often becomes limited. Assistive devices such as mobility scooters, walkers, lifts and ramps are needed for them to move around with relative ease. Shopping centres, entertainment precincts and public transport are all evolving to become much more supportive of people using wheelchairs and scooters. If you own a shop or have friends and relatives that use mobility devices, installing a small ramp to allow easier access to your business or home is a great idea. Likewise, if you have an elderly loved one who finds walking painful or slow-going, hiring a mobility scooter for outings, holidays or everyday activities will allow them to enjoy independence without the struggle.
Access to senior social groups.
Encouraging the discussion of mental health amongst seniors is very important. Loss of independence, the death of partners and friends, the deterioration of health and restricted movement can often lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. It’s therefore critical that elderly Australians maintain a sense of community and regularly attend social gatherings that create a supportive environment where sharing is promoted. Consistent social outings and day trips organised by local community centres are a fantastic way for the elderly to stay active and connected to others. This sector is also seeing many changes as more and more seniors take to the internet to organise groups, clubs and events based on their personal interests. Another way to help assist the older generations would be to consider volunteering with your local senior’s centre to drive buses taking groups on day trips, or teaching your own parents and relatives how to use the internet to connect with other like-minded seniors!
Adoption of new assistive technology.
Technology targeted at the over sixties is growing at a rapid rate, and there are plenty of health devices that can be used to ease a person’s progression into their later years. From bed sensors to digital pill dispensers and visual doorbells, there is a range of devices on the market for seniors who are wishing for enhanced convenience, safety and security. We’ve outlined two of the most useful technological devices to enjoy extensive upgrades in the last few years.
Hearing aids have been around for a while, and are indispensable for many older Australians. Numerous models have been upgraded to enjoy a range of nifty new features that can really help out the elderly. For example, select hearing aids can now be remotely adjusted by the patient’s audiologist when something goes wrong. This saves the wearer from needing to fiddle with tiny pieces and wires to get the sound level or background noise blocker back to the right setting.
Medical Alert Alarms
Medical alert alarms are often a Godsend for both the elderly and their family. Leaving your loved alone in their home can be a daunting prospect. Imagining them falling and breaking a hip when you aren’t there to help, can leave you in a constant state of anxiety. Medical alert alarms are designed to be worn by the elderly just in case anything like this should happen. If they fall and can’t get up to reach the phone to call for help, they can press a button (often hanging around their neck or on a wristband) that will directly alert a 24-hour call centre, which will then dispatch immediate medical assistance. Many medical alert alarms are also fitted with sensor detectors, so if your loved one falls and is rendered unconscious, help will still be called upon.
Macrae Rentals and 1st Choice Rentals provide a range of mobility scooters, wheelchairs and walkers for both short and long-term hire. Alleviate the pain that your elderly relative or friend experiences when walking, by renting a mobility device so that you can both enjoy outings to the fullest!