Medical technology is, for better or worse, evolving faster than the outdated healthcare system it aims to work alongside.
As much as humans are responsible for such innovation, the administrative red tape can make it difficult to give basic care to those who need it most. Two of the more vulnerable groups targeted by the newest advances are the elderly and those suffering from diabetes.
Managing diabetes can be quite laborious, leading to diabetes burnout and a lapse in proper self-care. Reliable and sustainable day-to-day care for the elderly is seemingly scarce, especially as an increasing number of nursing home abuse cases surface each year across the U.S.
Today we highlight some of the more ground-breaking advancements that ease the growing burden of diabetic and elderly care.
Joy For All
Toymakers at Hasbro and Artificial Intelligence (AI) scientists at Brown University have combined forces to develop Joy For All, the first AI robotic cat. Also called Aries, or Affordable Robotic Intelligence for Elderly Support, it provides all of the comforts of a real cat, and treating it as a real pet effectively lowers depression and blood pressure. As part of the toy’s development, the group aims to include tasks like medication reminders and helping find lost items.
Honor was co-founded by Seth Sternberg, a California-based tech professional whose mother started to need more care in Connecticut as she aged. Whether seeking traditional around-the-clock care or short-term nursing service, Honor is an elderly care app that provides you with a database of professionals to choose from. Those caretakers can arrive in two hours, and are alerted to any particularly special medications or allergies to tailor treatment to the needs of the elderly patient.
In response to the all too familiar issue of the elderly forgetting or mixing up their prescriptions, a personal medication device called Pillpresso has been developed by Singaporean company Maxerence Pte Ltd. It offers automated medication sorting, reminds the patient to take their medication, and, amazingly, monitors the patient’s adherence to medication consumption in real time. Pillpresso would be most critical during skilled nursing shortages.
Needing to constantly monitor insulin intake means automation is a very handy feature in a device for diabetics as well as the elderly. Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G works by calculating insulin delivery times as well as dosage amounts when the insulin pump communicates with the glucometer. Occasional sensor calibration means a diabetes patient only needs to input the number of carbs consumed after each meal.
U.S. company Seseonics won approval to develop the Eversense glucometer in Europe last year. The 90-day continuous glucose monitor is implanted under the skin and uses a transmitter to communicate to a matching app on your smartphone. The app will send an alert if glucose levels are not within appropriate levels. A non-invasive option is currently being tested by a few companies, Apple is one of them.
How does “no more test strips” sound? First unveiled and approved in Europe, Abbott Diabetes Care’s FreeStyle Libre device is a hybrid glucose monitoring system. A water-resistant sensor and wireless touchscreen reader allow for multiple glucose readings per day. The sensor is worn for up to 14 days on the back upper arm and the reader holds up to 90 days of blood sugar data.
As exciting as technological advancements are, always consult your doctor or specialist to specify your medical needs before incorporating a new device into your regiment.