Seven in 10 adults in the UK say their parents are now open to having preventative care technology installed in their homes as a result of the pandemic.
A study of 2,000 adults aged 40 and over with elderly parents found 43% of adults believe their parents are now “better than ever before” at using technology – after becoming adept at communicating via the likes of social media, Facetime and video calls.
And as a result, 70% ‘firmly believe’ their parents would now be more open to considering some sort of passive, non-intrusive technology in their homes.
More than half (53%) also said they would like to know more about technologies that would allow them to monitor their parent’s wellbeing without taking away any of their independence.
The study was carried out by Anthropos, provider of a connected care platform, which allows care companies and family members to monitor the daily routines of isolated older people, and spot when there are changes that can indicate when additional support is needed.
It also found that more than six in 10 adults admit the Covid-19 pandemic has heightened their fears and worries for their parent’s need for care in the future.
And for 57%, Covid has given them a glimpse at what life for their parents could be like if they were unable to check in on them regularly.
More than four in 10 adults (41%) worry that their parents will be isolated and alone, while one in three (33%) are concerned about the risk of falls.
Other fears include that they are not eating and drinking properly (16%), they aren’t safe and secure in their home (11%) and that they aren’t as active as they should be (31%).
As a result, 62% have made more effort to call their parents on the phone during the pandemic.
Jim Patience, CEO of Anthropos, said: “For many people, the pandemic will be the longest they have spent apart from loved ones, particularly elderly parents.
“And it seems this time of limited contact has undoubtedly increased concerns of their safety and wellbeing with limited additional care available at present.
“Thankfully, there are new technologies available that help families to stay connected: not just smartphones, but other internet enabled devices.
“Being able to know that your elderly family members are OK or of they need help, even when you can’t be in the same room, can go a long way to providing reassuring that their relatives are getter the care they need.”
The study found technology has played a crucial role during the pandemic, with 43% of adults admitting their parents are far better now at using smartphones and laptops to stay connected with them.
Before the lockdowns, 66% of adults felt guilty if they don’t phone or text their parents daily.
But during the pandemic, elderly parents were becoming proficient at conversing over video calls (32%), communicating by text (19%) and 14% embraced social media.
To combat any anxiety they may have, more than half of adults would like daily updates from their parents on how they are feeling, with 11% wanting information in real time, the study found
More than a quarter (26%) would also like them to use care technology, such as monitoring devices.
And while 74% of adults haven’t yet broached the subject of future care options with their parents, four in 10 believe their parents would be willing to use technology to help reassure them they are okay as they get older.
More than half of those polled via OnePoll would therefore like to know more about technologies which would allow them to monitor the behaviour and movements of their parents, without taking away any of their independence.
Jim Patience of Anthropos added: “Older people want to remain independent and that explains the increased willingness to look at technological solutions. It is also a key reason why so many adults often put off the question about needing additional care.
“However, technology to support them in a non-intrusive way can be a great first step in reassuring the bond and safety among family members.”