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Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: June 2024

The Role of AI in Enhancing Retirement Living and Healthcare

Ashley Hallene and Jeffrey M Allen


  • AI could be used to assist with the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • AI has innovative solutions that enhance health management, safety, social engagement, cognitive support, and personalized care for seniors in retirement.
The Role of AI in Enhancing Retirement Living and Healthcare

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Artificial intelligence (AI) has been making significant inroads into retirement living and healthcare, improving both the quality and efficiency of services provided to seniors in a myriad of ways. In the healthcare arena, AI applications can analyze vast amounts of health data much quicker than humans. In retirement homes, AI-driven devices can monitor vital signs, detect falls, and even predict medical events before they occur. There are also AI-powered virtual assistants, such as smart speakers with voice recognition capabilities, to help seniors with daily tasks, medication reminders, or simply engaging in conversation. These assistants can make calls, set alarms, provide weather updates, and more, all through voice commands, which is particularly helpful for those with mobility issues or visual impairments.

AI has been integral in advancing smart home technology as well, which significantly benefits seniors living independently. This includes automated lighting, voice-activated devices, and sensors that adjust the living environment to the needs of the elderly, enhancing comfort and safety.

AI assists with Chronic Disease Management

AI applications can help seniors with chronic disease management in a myriad of ways, including predictive analytics, personalized treatment plans, remote monitoring, medication management, telehealth and virtual care services, and more. Some examples of AI aiding people with chronic disease management include:

Diabetes Management

AI algorithms analyze various data points of blood sugar levels, diet, exercise, and medication adherence to predict and prevent diabetic complications. For example, with the steady stream of real-time data from continuous glucose monitors and the information on dietary intake from your logs or food journals, AI can offer warnings and suggestions to help regulate and maintain your healthy balance. Systems that incorporate AI into their process include:

  1. Livongo - Livongo uses AI to provide personalized insights and recommendations for diabetes management. It integrates CGM data, blood glucose readings, and user inputs to offer tailored coaching and alerts. It offers real-time feedback on glucose levels, predicts trends, and provides dietary and lifestyle suggestions.
  2. Omada Health - Omada Health combines AI with behavioral science to support diabetes management. It integrates data from CGMs, food logs, and activity trackers to offer digital coaching, health tracking, and personalized feedback.

Cardiovascular Disease Management

With the potential to enhance diagnostic accuracy, personalize treatment plans, and predict patient outcomes, AI is poised to revolutionize how cardiovascular diseases are managed. AI models help predict the risk of heart attacks or strokes by analyzing electronic health records (EHRs), imaging data, and genetic information. It leverages advanced algorithms to analyze medical images such as echocardiograms, MRIs, and CT scans with unprecedented precision. These algorithms can detect subtle patterns and anomalies that might be missed by the human eye, leading to earlier and more accurate diagnoses. One of the early adopters of this technology, Zebra Medical Vision, launched its first AI-powered imaging analytics product in 2015. The application employs AI to analyze cardiovascular imaging, accurately identifying conditions such as aortic stenosis and coronary artery disease. Another example is HeartFlow, which uses AI to create a 3D model of a patient’s coronary arteries from CT scans, assessing blood flow and identifying blockages, which aids in determining the risk of heart attacks.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a persistent respiratory condition that affects millions worldwide. It is characterized by breathing difficulties and poor airflow. The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into healthcare is offering promising solutions to enhance COPD management with early detection and diagnosis, risk assessments and predictive analytics, remote monitoring, and treatment optimization.

For example, AI algorithms analyze symptoms reported by patients, alongside medical history and lung function tests, to identify COPD at earlier stages. AI can detect subtle changes in lung structure to recognize COPD at an earlier stage. In another example, companies like Propeller Health use AI to analyze inhaler usage patterns and environmental data, predict COPD flare-ups, and provide timely alerts to patients and caregivers.

AI assists with Retirement Living

AI is revolutionizing the retirement experience for seniors, offering innovative solutions that enhance health management, safety, social engagement, cognitive support, and personalized care. In addition, AI also provides peace of mind to their families and caregivers. The many contributions include:

  • Smart Wearables: Devices like the Apple Watch use AI to monitor vital signs like your heart rate, detect falls, and provide reminders for medication. These features ensure that seniors maintain their health routines and receive immediate assistance in case of emergencies. For example, in June 2020, a 92-year-old farmer fell off a ladder in Omaha, Nebraska, and his Apple Watch detected the fall and called 911 automatically with a message like:

    This is an automated emergency call on behalf of John Appleseed. John is a 38-year-old man who has had a hard fall and is non-responsive. His current location is approximately 767 5th Ave, New York, NY 10153. John’s current heart rate is 33 beats per minute. His normal resting heart rate is 42 beats per minute. John is five feet and 11 inches tall and weighs 168 pounds. His BMI is 23.5 and his body-fat is 22%, both within healthy ranges. He shows no sign of afib. John takes regular exercise, and the health data on his phone does not record any known medical conditions or medication. This message will repeat a further three times, with updated heart rate.

    Emergency responders were then dispatched to his location and he received timely medical assistance.

    Don’t like the feel of a wearable device? Check out the Walabot HOME which uses AI to detect falls in real-time without the need for a wearable device. By analyzing movements and identifying falls, these systems can promptly alert caregivers, minimizing the risk of prolonged injury.
  • Companionship: AI-powered virtual companions, such as Elliq by Intuition Robotics, engage seniors in conversation, remind them of daily tasks, and facilitate connections with family and friends. These companions help combat loneliness and keep seniors mentally active. You can also adopt AI-driven robotic pets like Joy for All Companion Pets for comfort and companionship, especially for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s. These pets mimic the behavior of real animals, offering emotional support without the responsibilities of traditional pet care.
  • Security Protection: AI-enhanced security systems, like Vivint Smart Home, offer seniors peace of mind by monitoring their living spaces for unusual activity, potential intrusions, or emergencies. These systems can automatically alert authorities or designated contacts, ensuring rapid response to any incidents.
  • Cognitive Support from Virtual Assistants: AI assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant provide seniors with easy access to information, entertainment, and reminders. By simply using voice commands, seniors can play music, set reminders, and control smart home devices, enhancing their daily living experience.

As AI technology continues to advance, its potential to enrich the lives of seniors will only grow, making managing your health easier and retirement a more enjoyable and fulfilling phase of life.