Sunday, March 18, 2018

Holistic Ageing

A white paper by Singapore Management University (SMU) and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Tata Consultancy Services written in 2016, explores a concept of Holistic Ageing, which can be used for helping seniors age in place.

“Longevity is the defining challenge of our age. We need to make sure it’s a blessing, not a curse.” Laurence Fink, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, BlackRock, USA
Technology has a role to play to help us as we age, The following chart shows the focus and the impact technology can have on us as we age. Our friends have just bought Alexa for their home and they love it. Alexa is a tool that can be used by seniors in many ways, one way I have not thought about but is one that is worth pursuing is around falls.
One of the biggest issues for many seniors is the risk of falling and not being able to get up. There are many sensors on the market that people can wear and when the individual falls, the sensor sends out a signal. Problem is that many people refuse to wear these devices. There are many reasons for this but if the device is not worn it is on little or no use. If a person had Alexa in the house, and they fall, they could signal the device and ask it to call 911 or a friend.
Alexa or similar devices can and are used by seniors to stay socially connected, to increase their cognitive abilities and to help when they fall and also help them develop a physical activity regime.
Holistic aging is a concept that builds on the above technology focus areas and adds new dimensions. In holistic aging, there are six key wellness dimensions, that constitute holistic aging takes into consideration: physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, emotional and vocational.

The physical aspect is related to the body, and in particular, the ailments of aging: decreased strength, feeble health, increased vulnerability to falls, physical disabilities, chronic illnesses, and the inability to cope with the physical stresses and strains of daily life and activities of daily living.

We are social beings, and new research shows that loneliness can be very harmful to your health. We exist in a community, with others, and for others. We have a need to belong to a community, to have deep, close, intimate relationships — the social aspect — is crucial to the development of our social health, not only when we are young but as we age.

The intellectual aspect of the person directly affects our capability for cognitive reasoning, and the actions of our will, which impacts our ability to perform the activities of daily living. Many seniors are afraid of Dementia and holistic aging take into account, the idea that we need to be intellectually stimulated

As we age, many seniors want to “hedge their bets”, those who were not religious may take a greater interest in this side of living as they age. The spiritual aspect has an effect on our wellbeing and health. No holistic approach towards caring for the elderly can possibly ignore the profound impact of spirituality on the elderly.

If society and caregivers were to always have in mind the wellbeing of the elderly, it would be essential to explore (or to have us explore) our interior life. As we explore our emotions, we want those who we are in touch with to empathize with even our most concealed inner emotions when we express them.

As we age, many of us find fulfillment in making a sincere, disinterested gift of themselves to others. Hence the importance of the vocational aspect of holistic aging. When we accomplish our vocation and mission in life, we feel a serene, peaceful joy that can permeate our whole being.

The concept of holistic aging combined with technology makes the future seem very uplifting and bright.

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