In August, scientists and researchers from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the California Institute of Technology developed a new type of “smart fabric” that can help facilitate advancements in safety and security—as well as medical support for eldercare. According to BioSpectrum Asia, this fabric is a chain-link design that stiffens on demand and can be used as body support for the elderly population.
Over the past few years, eldercare has been an important topic for Singapore’s government and its people. Research from the YCP Solidiance white paper “The Future of Eldercare in Singapore” estimates that by 2030, nearly every one in four Singaporeans will be aged 65 or older—a rate of ageing much faster and larger than the rest of the Southeast Asian region. As such, prioritizing the proper care and resources for the elderly is crucial.
Assistive Technology in Eldercare
One of the most popular ways Singapore is helping its elderly live long and healthy lives is through the continued development and innovation of digital solutions. As more Singaporeans grow older alone—an estimated 10,000 living by themselves by 2030—these solutions have also incorporated ways to include a sense of community, socialization, and easy, self-operated infrastructure such as the aforementioned “smart fabric.”
The government and public agencies like the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) see the benefit in empowering the elderly to live alone and are pushing for home-based advancements in assistive technology:
With the rise of COVID-19, finding touchless yet intuitive solutions for eldercare has grown in popularity and importance, even more so than before.
Helping the elderly age-in-place amidst a global pandemic has only shown just how much technology can assist in making life more comfortable and safe for a vulnerable population, and how players in various fields—healthcare, machine learning, AI, even digital start-ups—can contribute towards innovative products for the elderly.
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