Assistive Technology—Would You Pay? (Family)

 

uncommon wisdomBy Pamela D Wilson CSA, CG, MS, BS/BA

 Technology is everywhere— computers, tablets, laptops, cellphones, games, video cameras, digital cameras—many people are addicted to having the latest technology to the degree that they wait in long lines at technology stores sometimes camping out overnight. Yet, do we see the same desire to acquire technology that has the potential to enhance quality of life for older adults? Most consumers are not even aware that such technology exists.

Called, Quality of Life Technologies, these mechanisms are designed for medication reminding, fall monitoring, monitoring blood sugar, oxygen levels and blood pressure, tracking individuals who might become lost due to a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, motion monitoring or enhancing cognitive fitness. The question remains.  Would you pay for technology that would increase your personal safety, security and health if this technology extended the length of time you were able to remain in your home?

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It is recognized that that technology can play an important role in supporting individuals with physical and cognitive impairment. Among consumers, concerns exist relative to cost, ability of the user to utilize the technology and privacy concerns related to having sensors or video monitors placed in the home.

Research results indicate that most adults are willing to pay more for cellphone, cable television and computer connectivity to the internet than they are to paying for technologies that might enable them to remain independent when faced with functional disabilities. (Schulz, R., Beach, S., Matthews, J., Courtney, K., Dabbs, A., Mecca., Sankey, S. 2013)

This result may arise from a lack of general awareness of available technologies to common beliefs that aging older adults will “never need help.”  Attitudes about quality of life technologies may change as Baby Boomers age and compare the costs of supportive technology versus costs of in home care or moving to care communities or as older adults realize the benefit of using technology to remain in their homes.

Sources:

Schulz, R., Beach, S., Matthews, J., Courtney, K., Dabbs, A., Mecca., Sankey, S. Willingness to pay for quality of life technologies to enhance independent functioning among baby boomers and the elderly adults. 2013.  The Gerontologist Vol. 54, No. 3, 363-374. Doi: 10:1093/geront/gmt016.

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©2014 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved.

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