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COVID-19 and AgeTech

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PurposeThis paper aims to provide an overview of the emerging AgeTech sector and highlight key areas for research and development that have emerged under COVID-19, as well as some of the challenges to real-world implementation. Design/methodology/approachThe paper is a commentary on emerging issues in the AgeTech sector, with particular reference to COVID-19. Information used in this paper is drawn from the Canadian AGE-WELL network. FindingsThe COVID-19 pandemic has particularly impacted older adults. Technology has increasingly been seen as a solution to support older adults during this time. AgeTech refers to the use of existing and emerging advanced technologies, such as digital media, information and communication technologies (ICTs), mobile technologies, wearables and smart home systems, to help keep older adults connected and to deliver health and community services. Research limitations/implicationsDespite the potential of AgeTech, key challenges remain such as structural barriers to larger-scale implementation, the need to focus on quality of service rather than crisis management and addressing the digital divide. Practical implicationsAgeTech helps older adults to stay healthy and active, increases their safety and security, supports independent living and reduces isolation. In particular, technology can support older adults and caregivers in their own homes and communities and meet the desire of most older adults to age in place. Social implicationsAgeTech is helpful in assisting older adults to stay connected. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of the informal social connections and supports within families, communities and voluntary organizations. Originality/valueThe last months have seen a huge upsurge in COVID-19-related research and development, as funding organizations, research institutions and companies pivot to meet the challenges thrown up by the pandemic. This paper looks at the potential role of technology to support older adults and caregivers. Keywords: dementia; technology; telemedicine; older adults; assisted living; social isolation; COVID-19; assistive devices; AgeTech.
DOI: 10.1108/QAOA-07-2020-0029
Published as
Sixsmith, A. (2020), "COVID-19 and AgeTech", Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.
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Quality in Ageing and Older Adults
Document title
COVID-19 and AgeTech
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