If you thought tech start-ups have nothing to do with your life or your future, think again. Silicon Valley just might be making the lives of aging baby boomers a whole lot more comfortable (or bearable) than we thought.
There’s gold in them thar hills. Only the hills is us, and it’s beginning to look like some very smart entrepreneurs are recognizing that the silver tsunami could mean gold for them, and greater comfort for us. Health and wellness technology is creating what’s been coined as the “longevity economy” and we should probably jump on the train as investors as well as beneficiaries.
Silver Tech is another name for it, but whatever you call it, competition and profit are going to drive tech companies to make products that allow us to live longer in our own homes and independently. From wearable fitness devices to treadmill desks, new products are coming on line every day. Then there’s the video link-ups that let you talk to a real doctor from your computer (without putting on one of those funny gowns!). Or the geolocation devices that will help find dementia patients. There’s even an airbag device that can be worn around the waist and it deploys when the wearer falls over, preventing the dreaded broken hip accident that often becomes the beginning of the end for elderly patients.
There’s a treadmill desk for those of us still working (although I have visions of becoming distracted by an incoming email and then thrown against the wall) and a raft of new health apps to put on your smart phone and/or strap to your wrist. These gadgets will monitor our heart rate, measure our steps, time our workouts, even tell us when we fell asleep. It’s not too hard to imagine a time when it will tell us when to eat, what to eat, and when to poop. That last alert could be really helpful when dementia sets in.
Perhaps the most telling sentiment about aging among babyboomers is not the fear of death itself, but the fear of having a crummy, dehumanizing assisted living experience. When you’re dead and gone, you’re….well…dead and gone. But to exist as just one more helpless geezer, that’s what all of hope to avoid. If high-tech tools and gadgets will prevent that end, sign me up.