As a Family Futurist, I have been speculating about our ageing population and what the next 10 – 15 years holds for them and their family as our current baby-boomers start to age.
We know the issues before us with problems in our aged care facilities. Often lack of stimulating activities, basic foods and isolation. When our baby boomers start to enter these facilities, this will need to change significantly. There will not be many residents in 10 – 15 years who are not comfortable using the internet, Facebook and checking emails. They will stream shows and Skype family and friends, as they should. So, I wonder how this new era of residents will comply with the current facilities and lack of available opportunities presently offered.
While currently, residents seem not to need access to the internet or use Facebook or Skype to keep in touch with family members, this will significantly be changing before we know it. I speak with many who have visited family and friends within current facilities and most comment the same. Their loved one is bored, inactive and the food is of rather of a poor standard. I remember when my mother-in-law was in a nursing home facility for a short time, while their activities seemed very basic, their meals were horrid. The standard evening meal consisted of soup, cold quartered sandwiches and mini pies.
I cannot imagine many of those currently aged in their mid 60 – 70’s accepting this in later life. What I can see happening is many UberEATS or Pizza orders being delivered at the nursing homes to provide decent, enjoyable meals. After all, what have many of these residents to look forward to most days, their mealtime. Also, many of the activities, and I do use that word loosely in regard to nursing home facilities, are rather dull. Many of our baby boomers are active, currently enjoying the gym, walking, doing yoga, playing golf and travelling. Unfortunately, if they are unable to care for themselves at home or fortunate enough to have a family member live with them in later years, they often end up as a resident in a nursing home facility.
Nursing home residents can be more active if appropriate activities reflect interest for them. In the future I believe many residents will provide their own entertainment, particularly intellectual stimulation by keeping up with current news stories, reading many interesting articles, watching YouTube and keeping in contact with friends and family via Facebook and Skype. They can even do their daily exercise workout watching it on the internet. This enables our ageing population to remain active in mind and body which seems the biggest problem we face. They will be comfortable with computers and devices, have access daily and use them regularly. This is something aged care facilities need to look at adjusting sooner rather than later.
Imagine walking into an aged care facility with residents speaking about current world events, laughing as they stream the latest comedy show, discussing or debating current issues with other residents and ordering meals via the internet. Then, of course, they could enjoy their evening meal alongside their family as they Skype in to talk and laugh with their kids, grandchildren even great-grandchildren during their evening meal. If they are unable to be present in person, they most certainly can via Skype or Facetime. What a difference in life this will be, not only for those residents but also those remaining living within their home. The isolation the majority of our ageing population endure should considerably ease within the next decade.
The future for families, kids, employment and our ageing population is continually evolving. Isn’t it great that it is, particularly for our ageing community? After all, we will all be there one day. Technology can make our lives better, more informed and far more connected. I urge anyone who is yet to succeed with their computer or device use, to make sure you use it regularly, be comfortable with it, as it is your connection to the world.
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