Aging in Place & Pelesend Story – Marc Bandt
Marc Bandt, CEO of Pelesend (www.pelesend.com) talked about the challenges of caring for older adults and using technology to “senior proof” the home to enable a senior to remain longer in their homes. The talk was at http://www.bio2devicegroup.org.
As boomers are aging, the number of people aged 65 and over, in the US, is expected to increase from the current total of the 39 million to over 72 million, by the year 2030. As medical advances enables people live longer, a disproportionate growth is predicted to be in the “very old” population of those over 85. Along with a rise in chronic disease and obesity, as people live longer, it puts considerable strain on societal resources and rives up the healthcare costs. It is expected that by 2020, 20% of the GDP, to an estimated total of $4.5 Trillion will be spent on healthcare.
Technology is advancing at an equally rapid pace and utilizing technology effectively can perhaps enable senior adults to live longer in their own homes, requiring assisted care facilities much later in life or not at all. If older adults can continue to live for longer period of time in their own homes, in healthy environment, then they could live in comfortable and familiar surrounding, stay connected to their community, family, and friends, retain feelings of independence and self-worth, access services and support easily, and may be less likely to experience depression. Not to mention, that enabling individuals to age in their own homes could reduce costs and strain on healthcare resources. According to a Pew research survey in 2009, over 89% of seniors would prefer to remain in their homes, indefinitely. Estimated costs for assisted living, range between 34K to 70K, annually, while average senior income from all sources is about 29K, annually.
However, making a home environment conducive for older adults at varying stages of health and cognitive and physical capabilities, to remain in their homes, is no easy task and is fraught with many challenges. Just to enumerate a few of the challenges, home and safety modifications can become hugely expensive, geography can create limitations around broadband, community, and mobility, if part-time in-home support is required, care support costs can mount up and cultural and language barriers exist. And yet, there are also technologies currently aimed to enable aging in place. They include fall detection cheap wearable devices to expensive embedded devices, intelligent walkers and other mobility aids, stove use and other smoke and temperature sensors, and door and motion and wander control sensors. These technologies and their use is at a nascent stage in a wide open space of possibilities.
Bandt shared some information about Pelesend, still in early stages. Pelesend is a specialized healthcare technology company, found in 2008, with a vision to provide usefully applications and address these challenges, by offering integrated and affordable solutions, from building on the legacy methodologies. Pelesend strives for consumer engagement, and focuses on handling early, issues related to privacy, security, and speed of technology changes. Pelesend products are powered by their PeleForce platform that can be used to build HIPAA capable mobile and web healthcare applications, speedily. The session was followed by Q&A with animated discussions regarding challenges and opportunities in “aging”.