How AgeTech can tackle loneliness and isolation

Vodafone thought leadership piece on the loneliness report 2019
Amer Fasihi, Nick Jeffery, Lisa Smith, Rupinder Singh

As a result of improvements in medicine and healthier, more active lifestyles, we are all living longer and increasingly more independent lives; women in the UK are now living on average 82.9 years from birth and for men average life expectancy is 79.2 years.

This change raises new opportunities and serious challenges for government, society and industry. On the one hand increased longevity carries financial costs at a time when public spending is under increased pressure, while on the other hand it is creating tens of thousands of new jobs in care.

Furthermore, we now have a mobile and dispersed workforce, people are no longer living in the locality where they were born, meaning that families are no longer in regular contact.

As the recent Vodafone Report, “Harnessing technology to tackle loneliness” highlights, loneliness and social isolation is one of the biggest challenges facing society today. The ONS estimates that over 1.5 million people in the UK alone are affected. However, the impact on society goes far wider with care giving now becoming one of the main reasons for reduced employee productivity. This is costing employers an estimated £800m a year with a further £1bn financial cost to the wider public sector.

The Report‘s analysis of the causes and impact of loneliness, and its focus on how the emerging AgeTech sector can help, is welcomed by companies like Kraydel who have user-centricity of their offering to reach the one in three of older adults (65+) who see themselves as only “a little” or “not at all” confident in their ability to use electronic devices.

Kraydel wants technology to be invisible to the User and has developed a service that enables video calls using the TV (the largest screen in the house) with its TV-top hub, which is packed with sensors for User wellbeing monitoring.

With this service, Kraydel meets the challenges of (1) maintaining people’s independence (live in their own homes for longer with wellbeing monitoring), (2) enabling easy access to out of hospital care (through TV-based telehealth), and (3) improving social connections (by easy video calls through the TV with friends and family).
Kraydel is also building a social engagement platform to further help reduce isolation, and incorporate features to support more efficient delivery of domiciliary care (e.g. medication reminders, virtual visits via the TV, and increased compliance with CQC regulations

We’re working with partners across government, NHS, regulators, the domiciliary care sector, customers and their families to develop our solutions to transform the way elderly people and their families live.

We believe passionately in the ability of AgeTech to increase the quality and not just quantity of life. And in the process of supporting a healthier, happier, more active and engaged elderly population we also believe we can improve care and lower the financial burden.

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