Tazeen H. Rizvi – How Health Technology Is Helping Older Adults Face Aging, and Disease

EPISODE 156

Join me in conversation with Dr. Tazeen H. Rizvi, Digital Health Transformation, HealthTech Advisor & Disruptor, to discuss “How Health Technology Is Helping Older Adults Face Aging, Disease, and Disability.”

As we age, it becomes increasingly important to take steps to maintain our independence and live healthy lives.

However, many older adults find this difficult due to the challenges of aging. These include health problems, social isolation, and a lack of access to necessary services.

Age tech has emerged as a solution to these challenges. By providing older adults with access to technology-enabled services and devices, we can help them stay healthy and connected. This allows them to live fuller, more independent lives.

This is going to be a great conversation. Here are the topics we’ll cover:

  • Tech-enabled services like remote patient monitoring, on-demand home care, assisted technologies, and social networks support healthy, independent aging.
  • Technology-enabled multidisciplinary techniques and interventions combine mental exercises, nutrition, physical exercise, & social interaction to promote healthy aging.
  • Devices using VR, robotics, cloud-enabled fall detection watches, and other health technologies.
  • Age tech is creating a safer, connected, and more prepared environment for older patients.


Bio:

Dr. Tazeen Rizvi is a healthcare technology leader, clinician, and digitization expert with over 15 years of experience designing and developing data-driven systems.

She holds an MSc in Healthcare Management from the Royal College of Surgeons.

Recently, she ventured into emerging technologies after completing a degree at the University of Oxford in Blockchain strategy, cryptocurrency, and NFT.

Dr. Tazeen is passionate about using technology to improve patient care and expand market growth.

Find Dr. Tazeen Rizvi on:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drtazeenrizvi/

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Hanh Brown

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Hanh Brown / Dr. Tazeen H. Rizvi

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Episode Transcript

EPISODE 156

[0:01:25]
Hanh Brown: Hi, I’m Hanh Brown, the host of the Woman Living Broadcast. As the baby boomer generation ages, they are facing a variety of unique challenges, including senior healthcare, dementia, Parkinson’s, caregiving, technology adoption, and affordable senior living options. 

[0:01:44]
Hanh Brown: Concerns and financial insecurity, all of which can be very difficult to navigate. The Woman Living Broadcast is here to help. We provide accurate and up-to-date information on all of these topics so that the baby boomers and their loved ones can make informed decisions about their future.

[0:02:01]
Hanh Brown: We also offer a wide range of resources and support to help the baby boomers and their families at every stage of their journey. We believe that aging should be celebrated, not dreaded. Please check out our newly launched Performer Senior Care System, an all-in-one sales and marketing platform for individuals and businesses.

[0:02:22]
Hanh Brown: We aim to provide care for the aging population. Performer Senior Care System: an initiative to replace the small thank you. So much for joining us, and we’re excited for you to ask questions, chime in, and let us know what’s on your mind, and we’ll do our best to answer them. Because together we can learn a lot from each other. So, today’s topic is how health technology is helping older adults face aging, disease, and disability.

[0:02:50]
Hanh Brown: As the baby boomer generation continues to age, there is an increased demand for technology-enabled services that can support healthy, independent aging. From remote patient monitoring and at-home care to assistive technologies and social networks, these tech-enabled solutions are helping seniors to live fuller, more engaged lives. Beyond direct-to-consumer solutions, there’s also a growing focus on using technology to enable multidisciplinary approaches to promote healthy aging.

[0:03:27]
Hanh Brown: These techniques and interventions combine mental exercises, nutrition, physical exercise, and social interaction to create a holistic approach to aging well. By utilizing devices like virtual reality headsets, robotics, cloud-enabled fall detection watches, and other health technology, we are able to create a safer, more connected environment that is better prepared to meet the needs of our aging population. So today, my guest is Dr. Tazeen H Rizvi.

[0:04:07]
Hanh Brown: Dr. Rizvi is a healthcare technology leader, clinician, and digitization expert with over fifteen years of experience designing and developing data-driven systems. She holds a master’s in healthcare management from the Royal College of Surgeons. Recently, she ventured into emerging technologies after completing a degree in Blockchain Strategy, Cryptocurrency, and NFT at the University of Oxford.

[0:04:25]
Hanh Brown: Dr. Rizvi is passionate about using technology to improve patient care and expand market growth. So, Dr. Rizvi, welcome to the show. 
Tazeen H Rizvi: Thank you very much, Hanh. Thank you so much for inviting me to the discussion. I must say that you guys are doing incredible work. And as you said, we have to have more people talk about it. It’s a collaborative effort and I am glad that I can be a part of it.

[0:04:58]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Thank you for the kind introduction. I will talk a little about my story. I’m a clinician, but I’ve been designing digital technology for the last fifteen years. What I do and how I’ve changed is that I bring a clinician’s perspective and patient’s point of view on how these technologies shape the way we deliver care today.

[0:05:18]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Because it’s very important. And I advocate that care is always clinician-centered. Everybody, every key driver along the care path has a role to play and they should be part of the process of digitization, which always has to be patient-centered. That’s where I come in. I am working in the space to develop better solutions and use technology as an enabler to promote healthy living and healthy aging.

[0:05:53]
Hanh Brown: Thank you, Dr. Rizvi, thank you so much for your work. We’re very blessed to have you in the industry.

[0:06:02]
Hanh Brown: Yes, thanks to technology we pretty much can do almost anything from our home like ordering groceries, and socializing, which is very good for seniors who have trouble getting around. Tech-enabled services can help seniors stay connected to the things that they need and enjoy without leaving their homes. So, what are your thoughts on tech-based services and social networks that support aging? 

[0:06:22]
Tazeen H Rizvi: I think technology has crept into every aspect of our life. As you said, we shop online, book car tickets online, we plan our holidays and do banking online. Pre-Covid age we were healthcare was just standing at the brink where we knew technology could help, we were just a bit scared to take the leap. But, I guess Covid propelled us and created an environment for everybody in the world at the same time, which only a pandemic could do, to realize that technology can actually improve access to care. 

[0:07:07]
Tazeen H Rizvi: It had to be a mindset shift. We knew we couldn’t go into a hospital to see a doctor, we knew we couldn’t go to the clinic to see our GP, and this was replaced by telemedicine. Technology was used in the past three years and now, thankfully, we’re over Covid. But in the post-Covid world, the last three years have taught us that technology is actually a great enabler. It is actually providing opportunities and avenues for us to improve care, not only for the aging population, which is a big concern because of the number of people that are reaching seventy and sixty five plus, but across the entire population. 

[0:08:11]
Tazeen H Rizvi: As I always say, technology is an enabler, it’s a tool right, and it has to be used within a system. It has to be used with the condition, with the care team, with the nurses, with the carers. It should focus on the patient. When we talk about how technology is helping the older population or the aging population, I usually always answer this question whenever technology is asked. There are two main areas: prevention and management. 

[0:08:34]
Tazeen H Rizvi: I see when we talk about the aging population, the last data that I think I read online was that there’ll be a sharp increase in the number of people over seventy, from 12 to 22 percent by 2050. This is a stark increase and it really does show us that we need to focus on preventing certain diseases before they become disabling, before they go to a point of no return. The one thing technology can really, really help our existing healthcare system is the prevention model. 

[0:09:15]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Now, how does this work? And I think that’s where we are focusing on, and that’s where the bulk of the focus should be, because then you prevent the person from being disabled, you decrease the burden of disease off the older population, and also help the loved ones who are taking care of a person. 

[0:09:55]
Tazeen H Rizvi: We all know there is a healthy aging and pathological aging. The aging process is natural. You’re not going to be as active as you were in your forties and obviously not as vibrant as you were in your fifties. But there’s a general decline in physical strength and a normal aging of your cognitive ability. But then there’s pathological aging where there are underlying conditions like dementia or other chronic illnesses like hypertension, diabetes which really add on to the burden of aging. That’s where we see a more rapid decline in physical and cognitive frailty.

[0:10:47]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Technology is a great tool for monitoring the population before they reach the point where they become a burden. So, when we talk about remote patient monitoring and virtual telemedicine, technology can be used. As you grow older, it’s difficult for people to go out and to meet their friends or to see the doctor. Now, technology offers these platforms from mobile applications to web cloud-based applications where you don’t really need to step out to see a doctor, you can see a doctor on your phone. 

[0:11:28]
Tazeen H Rizvi: This is a way where you can actually empower patients to become more compliant. Like when you know you don’t really have to step out, take a bus, or call your daughter so she can take you to a medical appointment, you can see it from the comfort of your home, and you’re more likely to take that appointment. That’s where I think adherence to seeing your doctor becomes easier, more accessible for the older population. 

[0:11:58]
Tazeen H Rizvi: With the advent of virtual platforms and frequency in telemedicine, we have numerous mobile applications, we have web-based applications where you can take a consultation on your iPad or any device on a big screen as well. You can have a video call with a doctor, and when you know that you can talk to a specialist without waiting in line or getting exposed to other infections, you’re more likely to keep that appointment. 

[0:12:38]
Tazeen H Rizvi: And then once you have a chronic illness or you get diagnosed with a common cold or a common illness, you obviously get a prescription. Now, as human nature, research has shown that we are more compliant to taking our medications after we see a specialist and as time goes by, as that reminder fades off, we become less compliant. This is what we’re talking about people in our age range. Now, I definitely would say that about myself. If I get advice from a doctor, I will remember their words for like a week, and then I’ll think, “Oh, it’s okay if I miss the pill, or it’s okay if I miss today,” because we see positive results and think that’s enough.Hanh Brown: [0:06:02] Yes, thanks to technology we pretty much can do almost anything from our home like ordering groceries, and socializing, which is very good for seniors who have trouble getting around. Tech-enabled services can help seniors stay connected to the things that they need and enjoy without leaving their homes. So, what are your thoughts on tech-based services and social networks that support aging? 

[0:06:22]
Tazeen H Rizvi: I think technology has crept into every aspect of our life. As you said, we shop online, book car tickets online, we plan our holidays and do banking online. Pre-Covid age we were healthcare was just standing at the brink where we knew technology could help, we were just a bit scared to take the leap. But, I guess Covid propelled us and created an environment for everybody in the world at the same time, which only a pandemic could do, to realize that technology can actually improve access to care. 

[0:07:07]
Tazeen H Rizvi: It had to be a mindset shift. We knew we couldn’t go into a hospital to see a doctor, we knew we couldn’t go to the clinic to see our GP, and this was replaced by telemedicine. Technology was used in the past three years and now, thankfully, we’re over Covid. But in the post-Covid world, the last three years have taught us that technology is actually a great enabler. It is actually providing opportunities and avenues for us to improve care, not only for the aging population, which is a big concern because of the number of people that are reaching seventy and sixty five plus, but across the entire population. 

[0:08:11]
Tazeen H Rizvi: As I always say, technology is an enabler, it’s a tool right, and it has to be used within a system. It has to be used with the condition, with the care team, with the nurses, with the carers. It should focus on the patient. When we talk about how technology is helping the older population or the aging population, I usually always answer this question whenever technology is asked. There are two main areas: prevention and management. 

[0:08:34]
Tazeen H Rizvi: I see when we talk about the aging population, the last data that I think I read online was that there’ll be a sharp increase in the number of people over seventy, from 12 to 22 percent by 2050. This is a stark increase and it really does show us that we need to focus on preventing certain diseases before they become disabling, before they go to a point of no return. The one thing technology can really, really help our existing healthcare system is the prevention model. 

[0:09:15]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Now, how does this work? And I think that’s where we are focusing on, and that’s where the bulk of the focus should be, because then you prevent the person from being disabled, you decrease the burden of disease off the older population, and also help the loved ones who are taking care of a person. 

[0:09:55]
Tazeen H Rizvi: We all know there is a healthy aging and pathological aging. The aging process is natural. You’re not going to be as active as you were in your forties and obviously not as vibrant as you were in your fifties. But there’s a general decline in physical strength and a normal aging of your cognitive ability. But then there’s pathological aging where there are underlying conditions like dementia or other chronic illnesses like hypertension, diabetes which really add on to the burden of aging. That’s where we see a more rapid decline in physical and cognitive frailty.

[0:10:47]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Technology is a great tool for monitoring the population before they reach the point where they become a burden. So, when we talk about remote patient monitoring and virtual telemedicine, technology can be used. As you grow older, it’s difficult for people to go out and to meet their friends or to see the doctor. Now, technology offers these platforms from mobile applications to web cloud-based applications where you don’t really need to step out to see a doctor, you can see a doctor on your phone. 

[0:11:28]
Tazeen H Rizvi: This is a way where you can actually empower patients to become more compliant. Like when you know you don’t really have to step out, take a bus, or call your daughter so she can take you to a medical appointment, you can see it from the comfort of your home, and you’re more likely to take that appointment. That’s where I think adherence to seeing your doctor becomes easier, more accessible for the older population. 

[0:11:58]
Tazeen H Rizvi: With the advent of virtual platforms and frequency in telemedicine, we have numerous mobile applications, we have web-based applications where you can take a consultation on your iPad or any device on a big screen as well. You can have a video call with a doctor, and when you know that you can talk to a specialist without waiting in line or getting exposed to other infections, you’re more likely to keep that appointment. 

[0:12:38]
Tazeen H Rizvi: And then once you have a chronic illness or you get diagnosed with a common cold or a common illness, you obviously get a prescription. Now, as human nature, research has shown that we are more compliant to taking our medications after we see a specialist and as time goes by, as that reminder fades off, we become less compliant. This is what we’re talking about people in our age range. Now, I definitely would say that about myself. If I get advice from a doctor, I will remember their words for like a week, and then I’ll think, “Oh, it’s okay if I miss the pill, or it’s okay if I miss today,” because we see positive results and think that’s enough.

[0:13:18]
Hanh Brown: And then we stop doing what we’re supposed to once we start getting better. It’s human nature. A lot of people say, “You know what, I don’t think I need this every day,” because there’s no one telling us that we need to take this every day. To again combine to work drunk every talking about these medic unit medicine alerts and reminders I think these are green he could.

[0:13:38]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Yes, it is very useful for people who have a cognitive decline, or just have memory loss. There are applications available that serve as a positive reinforcement by reminding the users, “Did you take your medicine today?” And now, technology is so advanced to the point where if a patient is supposed to take certain medications every day and they miss a couple, it can send a reminder to their next of kin, or their carer, or their nurse if they’re in a managed care setting that the person has not gone on the app or has not taken the medications.

[0:14:14]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Medicine adherence is a big part of preventing patients from reaching a point where they need to be hospitalized. Technology is really augmenting our existing systems because our existing systems of healthcare delivery are overwhelmed, as we saw during the Covid pandemic. We have an acute shortage of healthcare professionals across the continuum, and if we somehow use technology in the right place, we are preventing people from reaching the end stage of various conditions.

[0:14:55]
Tazeen H Rizvi: We can intervene significantly before they reach a point where they have to be hospitalized. I think that’s where technology can bring the most value to the current system. We’ve got virtual care, and medication adherence platforms which are plentiful. These can give you alerts on your phone, devices, or even on your TV. You can program your devices to remind you to take your medicine in the morning. You’ve got these alarms fit into robots, that’s one way of making sure that people are preventing further deterioration of a condition once diagnosed. 

[0:15:35]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Then we have these really amazing tools specifically designed for the aging population, or as we call them, “geron-technologies.” These are technologies and platforms specifically designed for helping the aging population to help them age in a healthy way and to prevent further deterioration of the condition if they have one.

[0:16:01]
Tazeen H Rizvi: And now we’re frequently talking about the concept of aging in place. A lot of older people want to live in their own home because when you tell them, “You need to come live with us,” or “You need to go into a care facility,” their sense of identity or independence is taken away. 

[0:16:40]
Tazeen H Rizvi: It feels like, “Now I can’t even live alone by myself.” It just gives you a further negative effect on your mental health. 

[0:16:52]
Hanh Brown: Absolutely. You’re already losing so much, perhaps your mobility, your cognition, and now your home, where you’ve lived in for thirty, forty plus years. All of this can significantly impact your mental health.

[0:17:12]
Hanh Brown: And to your point, as far as technology helping day-to-day living, we all experience this. For instance, like Skype and FaceTime for people who want to connect with their households, help services like TaskRabbit, grocery services from Amazon Fresh and Walmart. You can also join local seniors group or clubs and make new friends. That certainly helps with the isolation.

[0:17:40]
Hanh Brown: You can find a trusted caregiver too through online sources like Care.com. There are tracking devices, ride-sharing services, and opportunities to make extra money by renting out your space on Airbnb. 

[0:18:07]
Hanh Brown: You can order food through GrubHub. Aging in place is being promoted now and technology in that particular space is great. From my personal experience, my father-in-law is eighty and he absolutely refuses to stay with anyone else. 

[0:18:28]
Tazeen H Rizvi: He’s healthy, but obviously he has normal aging problems like frailty, but he’s all right. He says, “You know what, I don’t really need you guys at this point.” So, what do we do when I see so many people my age going through this? Even if you’re not living alone, you would want to be comfortable on holidays without having to monitor them 24/7, and I think that’s where technology is seen as an amazing tool.

[0:19:06]
Hanh Brown: Innovations are emerging where people have developed amazing technologies to help people of older age live safely in their homes. Apart from ordering food or groceries, now we have motion detection sensors. Speaking from my experience, I moved my father-in-law into his house.

[0:19:26]
Hanh Brown: He lives alone, but his entire house has extra motion detection cameras now. What we do is we just want to know if he’s alright. Did he get out of bed? Did he go to the bathroom? Did he have his meal? We know that he prays from this time to this time, don’t we? 

[0:19:46]
Hanh Brown: It’s just an assurance that he’s alright. These tools are really amazing for people who are living alone, and they range from these passive technologies. Passive meaning they’re not intrusive. For example, you could have motion detection…

[0:20:02]
Tazeen H Rizvi:…like motion detection that can sense if you’re moving around. If you’re not moving, it can detect that no one was moving. But we also have active sensors now that you can wear. A bracelet that provides real-time information, like “this person moved this much.” We also have weight…

[0:20:22]
Tazeen H Rizvi:…sensors in bed, which track how much you’re moving in bed, how many times you went to the bathroom. These are patterns of behavior. And that’s where I think technology, even passively, non-intrusively, really has come a long way in providing a safe environment.

[0:20:42]
Tazeen H Rizvi: It’s great for people who are physically frail or who are vulnerable to falls or forgetting things. It really helps with aging in place. They are in their place, they feel independent, but we, as their loved ones, know that they’re okay.

[0:21:02]
Tazeen H Rizvi: And God forbid something happens, we know that we will be alerted in time. And again, connecting back to the idea that in med school, we were always told, “You never know the abnormal if you don’t have the normal.” Or how do you measure the normal if we don’t have a baseline, then we don’t know if something is going up or down.

[0:21:22]
Tazeen H Rizvi: And that’s where these data-driven technologies have been beneficial. By tracking somebody’s mobility over a period of time, we kind of have an idea about their patterns in the day. If you get to have somebody who lives alone and these sensors give you an idea of how much they moved…

[0:21:42]
Tazeen H Rizvi: …let’s say you see two days where they didn’t get out of bed or didn’t make breakfast. Or they had breakfast in bed, didn’t sit at the table. These are early signs that something’s wrong. 

[0:22:02]
Tazeen H Rizvi: When you have a cognitive decline, you might also have a decline in communication. A lot of people are not able to express that they need help and may not even want to say out loud. And that’s where we say the soft skills of how to manage a person who’s aging come in. Now, with technology, you’re not living with them but you seem confident.

[0:22:22]
Tazeen H Rizvi: If they were grumpy in the mornings or if they weren’t looking themselves, that’s telling you there’s a change in their behavior. It’s a great indicator of a person’s physical and mental well-being. Now, if you see through these sensors that they haven’t moved much in the last two days, they didn’t really go out for their walk…

[0:22:42]
Tazeen H Rizvi: …or didn’t sit at the table, didn’t pray. That’s an early indication they haven’t told you they’re not feeling well, but you know that something’s not right. So, if you are caring for them, you can also decide to go and just have a conversation with them. Or, you as a loved one, could go and pay them a visit.

[0:23:03]
Tazeen H Rizvi: These are early detection signs that a person may be getting a bit depressed or may not be feeling really okay. They’re great at preventing cognitive decline.

[0:23:14]
Tazeen H Rizvi: That you would see if you had no idea that patterns of behavior had changed. And this is where I think technology can really come into play, indicating exactly where and when intervention is required.

[0:23:34]
Tazeen H Rizvi: I mean, there are really smart, really nice looking lamps now that are motion detecting. They’re so smart they will detect motion and track your moves. When you go to the bathroom, they’ll turn on the light…

[0:23:54]
Tazeen H Rizvi: …and adjust your room temperature according to the weather outside. These kinds of things really assist a person who’s living independently.

[0:24:00]
Tazeen H Rizvi: They provide a sense of peace or comfort to the loved ones. You know, I know they want to be independent, but I also know what they’re doing, they’re okay, they’re out and about, they’re doing their activities.

[0:24:19]
Tazeen H Rizvi: One of the things we talked about initially was how technology can aid people dealing with cognitive decline or visual impairment. One of the fears there is that a person living independently, who might be physically frail, could have a fall.

[0:24:39]
Tazeen H Rizvi: This is a scenario where technology has made a great impact. In terms of passive and active recording of behavior. We have sensors, mobility sensors right now, that actually can measure your gait, your posture, your mobility around the house. If it has changed, it’s an early indicator…

[0:24:59]
Tazeen H Rizvi: …that something has changed. And then we have active sensors. If somebody is really frail or maybe had a fall before, to prevent further falling, there are tracking belts, which provide instant alerts. You wear a belt, and they’re active.

[0:25:19]
Hanh Brown: Of course, it’s not just the passive sensors, but the active ones that keep on giving real-time data. They can even detect a slight change in posture. If a person were to fall, even if they didn’t hurt themselves, if it’s recorded, it’s an indication to the caregivers that something happened.

[0:25:40]
Hanh Brown: This kind of decline in posture could indicate the need for interventions that prevent further disability. I think that’s where technology can really make a difference. It’s about prevention before a disability reaches a point where an individual has to be moved from their home to a care home.

[0:26:00]
Hanh Brown: We all know with the overwhelmed care delivery model, we have a shortage of people. These tools are really good at augmenting…

[0:26:13]
Hanh Brown: The existing care teams and assisting with the shortage of resources that we see. And I mean, there are so many innovations – there’s social media, communication aids, AI-enabled robots…

[0:26:40]
Tazeen H Rizvi: That can carry on a conversation. Amazon’s Alexa, for instance, can tell you what the weather is like or help you order groceries. These are great aids to assist people and help them to age in place. Although there’s a lot of innovations around robots…

[0:27:01]
Hanh Brown: There’s a time and place for them, right? I have my reservations, but I also see potential. In terms of prevention, prevention is cheaper than a cure. It saves lives. So anything that we can do to be proactive in supporting independence and healthy aging…

[0:27:24]
Tazeen H Rizvi: …that will defer or postpone certain inevitable things, is crucial. There’s a normal cognitive decline and a pathological cognitive decline. Both are inevitable, but prevention can ease this process…

[0:27:47]
Tazeen H Rizvi: …which is natural. As you said, aging should be celebrated and we know that technology can assist us in taking care of our loved ones in a more managed and monitored way. It provides comfort as well.

[0:28:07]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Now as we talk about cognitive decline or diseases like dementia or Parkinsonism, any talk about prevention reminds me of a study I read recently. Professors from MIT said that from nocturnal breathing patterns, they can pick up early cases of Parkinson’s…

[0:28:27]
Tazeen H Rizvi: These are the kinds of interventions and uses of technology that will really make a difference in early detection, early diagnosis, better treatments, and better prognosis. We, as a society, are moving toward a more proactive…

[0:28:47]
Tazeen H Rizvi: …preventive care delivery model assisted with technology. But, technology doesn’t have all the answers. It’s an enabler, it’s a tool, but it cannot do the job on its own. All these alerts and detection capabilities, what do they do when something happens? They alert a human being, a caregiver, they call an ambulance…

[0:29:15]
Tazeen H Rizvi: In the end, we need to remember that in this entire ecosystem, technology is just one part. It does not replace all the other pieces. It will not replace you for your parents. It is an instrument that can greatly improve…

[0:29:36]
Tazeen H Rizvi: …life when all the stakeholders are on the same page. It really does improve the quality of life for people and promotes proactive and preventive care delivery models.

[0:29:56]
Hanh Brown: Absolutely, thank you so much for that. You know, I often think there are apps out there that could determine or predict if you might be at risk for dementia, which is great.

[0:30:14]
Hanh Brown: And I ask myself, what would I do differently if I knew I was at risk? I try to live every day as if I might be at risk. We all should be proactive in our health, outside of our doctor’s office visits, which may be only once a year, right? 

[0:30:35]
Hanh Brown: I can use an app, but I don’t really care to use an app to determine if I’m going to be at risk because I’m going to live every day as if I am at risk. I think we’re all at risk, and we can’t really predict the course our aging will take, as we were talking about before we went live.

[0:30:58]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Absolutely. Genetics plays an important part. We’re doing genome studies to understand the effects, but that doesn’t mean that if I’m not on that spectrum I won’t get it. And absolutely, our health is just one part.

[0:31:18]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Diseases like dementia and cognitive decline are also affected by healthy living and environmental factors. What you eat, what you do, how much you exercise, how much you exercise your brain, not just physical activity, all of these combined together make us who we are…

[0:31:39]
Tazeen H Rizvi: It’s everything. It’s your social interaction, it’s your diet. We know now that diet is a big part of how we’re going to behave. We need to…

[0:32:02]
Tazeen H Rizvi:…take an active part in our health. And that’s where technology comes back into play. Remote patient monitoring gives us a tool where we know that something abnormal has happened.

[0:32:22]
Tazeen H Rizvi: For instance, with an Apple Watch, people can understand their sleep patterns better. Sleep, diet, and exercise are all integral parts of our overall health and mental wellbeing.

[0:32:42]
Hanh Brown: Absolutely, it’s very important. I want to acknowledge our guest, thank you so much for joining us, Tazeen.

[0:33:02]
Hanh Brown: Dr. Meta, thank you so much for joining us. You folks are really asking some good questions and we’ll go on to answer them. Thank you so much for also being here, Robbie. How are you?

[0:33:18]
Hanh Brown: Also, Barbara, thank you so much for being here and asking some questions. So let’s address Ravi’s question. “Is there a biomarker library that lists the various biomarkers by disease, in other words, nocturnal breathing for early stages of Parkinson’s and gait variation for potential UTI?”

[0:33:38]
Tazeen H Rizvi: That’s a good question, Ravi. I don’t have access to a biomarker library right now, but I can definitely…

[0:33:46]
Tazeen H Rizvi: I can definitely send you this information after because there are so many out there we’re tracking now when it comes to studies of how biomarkers are predicting diseases. It’s definitely an area that’s getting a lot of focus and I will share that information with you.

[0:34:04]
Hanh Brown: After our recording, sure. Absolutely. And thank you, Barbara, for sharing something about the phototherapy, and MK, thank you for staying alive with the therapy. Let me see here, just want to acknowledge a couple. Hey Maria, thank you so much.

[0:34:22]
Hanh Brown: Moving forward, let’s talk about the point of view from a consumer, the baby boomers, the older adults. Change is very hard, we get comfortable with the status quo and it can be tough to break out of our routines, especially as we get older.

[0:34:42]
Hanh Brown: And when it comes to technology, this is doubly true. Some seniors may be reluctant to use technology, or tech-enabled services and social networks, despite their use in connection and security. So I think the biggest challenge facing seniors when it comes to using technology may not be the technology itself, it could be the willingness to embrace change. What do you think is the most difficult challenge for seniors when it comes to adapting to technology?

[0:35:18]
Tazeen H Rizvi: That’s a very valid point. Adoption is not only an issue for the aging population, we see that a lot all the time. Why aren’t more people adopting technology? This is a barrier, but communication is important. Messaging is so important.

[0:35:38]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Technology companies out there and people who are actively producing technology for this demographic need to understand that this population didn’t grow up with an iPhone. My instinct is not to go on Facebook and ask a question. That has to be trained and it has to be more informational.

[0:36:18]
Tazeen H Rizvi: If you really talk to people and give them the benefits of what it can do, they really aren’t averse to using it. I’ve been reading a lot of studies, and even from personal experience, when I talk about passive and active technologies…

[0:36:49]
Tazeen H Rizvi: I think that if technology is designed to cater to their needs, they wouldn’t be averse to using it because, in the end, everyone wants to be healthy, everyone wants to feel good, everyone wants to get out of bed in the morning, be able to walk, see their grandchildren.

[0:37:28]
Tazeen H Rizvi: It’s very important for adoption to consider how you message it, how you package the message, the social interaction, how you tell it, how you design it, and how you personalize it so that they feel that this is what they need.

[0:38:09]
Tazeen H Rizvi: It’s a misconception that the older generation is averse to tech. Some of them might be open to new technologies. Again, it’s so important how it’s presented to them.

[0:38:28]
Hanh Brown: Absolutely, and I think there’s no absolute answer because there is the usage, those who support them, the education side. I am wholeheartedly a believer in that. You know, I’m trying to put myself in the position of a consumer, like my sister who is seventy-five years old.

[0:38:47]
Hanh Brown: She uses technology, but not regularly. She might remember how to use it one month, then forget a couple months later, and then she may not have anyone to support her. And then she wonders if the people claiming to be helpful are really who they say they are. And then, of course, when people use too much technology, they…

[0:39:08]
Hanh Brown: For instance, Facebook, or any social network, can sometimes make people feel more isolated from those around them. Support is key, right? And even you and I need support with our third-party app that we’re streaming right now, conditionally.

[0:39:28]
Hanh Brown: The information that you’re getting from their service, is it safe and secure online? Are these people qualified and trustworthy? These services that I’m using, right? Let’s say I stop using this tool, what happens to my data? You’ve got my phone number, you’ve got my address, you’ve got my credit card?

[0:39:51]
Hanh Brown: And then, of course, how much is this costing me? Some are free, but for how much? This technology cost in terms of money and time can be very important for seniors because some of them are on fixed income.

[0:40:11]
Hanh Brown: We need technology to promote healthy aging, but there’s also the support, the infrastructure, the education, and the assurance that you’re in good hands, that’s a different topic, right?

[0:40:27]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Yes, again coming back to the same point, technology is a solution. It can’t do anything right on its own. It has to have the support of people and infrastructure.

[0:40:42]
Tazeen H Rizvi: When you talk about safety, talk about cyber or disinformation, it can’t replace human interaction. Social media can’t replace human interaction either. Technologies are enablers, you have to use technology to benefit, to get value-driven information.

[0:41:15]
Tazeen H Rizvi: But it’s so important to make them understand, to get their trust, to make them part of this. When we talk about data, how they’re sleeping, eating, moving, where’s that data going, who owns this data, is anybody taking?

[0:41:36]
Tazeen H Rizvi: We’re continuously monitoring their everyday activity, and doctors agree, it’s important. But who gave permission for it? Was it a loved one or was it the senior themselves?

[0:41:56]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Don’t assume they won’t understand what it’s doing, because they will. Give them information, take informed consent, tell them that their data is being used for extracting meaningful information for better treatment and personalized care.

[0:42:16]
Tazeen H Rizvi: They have to be part of the journey. It has to be transparent, they have to give informed consent. If there’s a cognitive decline or disability, it’s a different thing. But if you have people living alone, wearing sensors or bracelets, they need to be aware, they have to give consent.

[0:42:56]
Tazeen H Rizvi: More work needs to be done in this area. We have so many data-driven technologies, but where are these guidelines? What about the ethics of the data?

[0:43:20]
Hanh Brown: Absolutely. Let’s acknowledge some of our audience’s questions. John, thank you so much for asking. 

[0:43:32]
Hanh Brown: John asks if you can provide a thorough review on tech that helps with age inflation. We did talk about the role of technology in prevention, healthy aging, monitoring and prevention of chronic conditions and disability.

[0:43:52]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Thank you, John, for the question. I think technology can really help us do predictive analysis, make use of data to make informed decisions about treatment plans, remotely monitor patients to see if there’s an abnormality, and provide more personalized treatment plans. 

[0:44:21]
Hanh Brown: Let’s acknowledge Ravi’s question. Thank you so much, Ravi, for asking. You said, “Technology done well, will enable us humans to do more of what only humans can do.”

[0:44:42]
Tazeen H Rizvi: Absolutely, Ravi. AI is only as good as the data you feed it. We are the ones feeding it.

[0:45:00]
Hanh Brown: We’ve got a few minutes left. Let’s end the conversation on this note: How can families ensure the safety of their loved ones when using technology and social media?

[0:45:19]
Tazeen H Rizvi: That’s a great way to finish. We talk a lot about our children’s safety using these apps. The same goes for our aging population. They weren’t trained in the digital era. Even for me, my kids know more about the perils and dangers of being online than I do.

[0:45:39]
Tazeen H Rizvi: For people who were never exposed to this technology, it’s very, very important that we make this a conversation with them.

[0:46:00]
Hanh Brown: Safety in using social networks and devices is paramount. There’s a lot of software that can be installed on devices to ensure the security of your loved ones. For instance, if they’re using an iPad, there are various applications that can protect your ID and any information that is being stored. These apps also alert you to any abnormal activity.

[0:46:20]
Hanh Brown: Education about passwords and password protection is vital. I would always suggest changing your password once in a while and enabling two-factor authentication. It ensures a safer environment, especially since if you can talk to your loved one on FaceTime, that means anyone can.

[0:46:51]
Hanh Brown: It’s crucial to understand that if I can message my loved one on Facebook, then anyone else in the world can as well. We know that there are people out there who can exploit this information. This makes it vital to have these conversations with your loved ones about internet safety when you gift them a new device.

[0:47:32]
Tazeen H Rizvi: We need to tell them how to use it safely and what not to say. Remind them not to share their password, and to change it regularly. Installing protective software on your devices that can track abnormal activity is absolutely essential.

[0:47:52]
Hanh Brown: Anything that I would instill in my younger kids is the same thing that I would share with my elderly mom to take extra precautions. This includes blocking unwanted calls and messages and taking screenshots of fishy conversations.

[0:48:25]
Hanh Brown: So, what are your thoughts on the future of health tech?

[0:48:45]
Tazeen H Rizvi: I want the future of health tech to be affordable. Not everyone has a smartphone or access to the internet. According to the last survey I read, there are around two billion plus people who don’t have access to the internet. All this technology is dependent on smart devices which are extremely expensive and need fast internet connections, which isn’t available everywhere. 

[0:49:05]
Tazeen H Rizvi: What I want is for technology to become more affordable, so that we can offer these solutions to all segments of the population and not just those who can afford it.

[0:49:25]
Tazeen H Rizvi: We need to work on making technology more affordable. What I want for the future is more collaboration. Every day, I see some great apps out there, but we’re not really integrating them into a system where everyone is sharing information.

[0:49:59]
Tazeen H Rizvi: I want technology to become more integrated and to promote more integrated care delivery, where the information trickles down and we have patient-centered care models. This information should encompass the physical, mental, emotional, lifestyle, and environmental aspects of a person’s life to make informed, value-based decisions.

[0:50:30]
Hanh Brown: Absolutely, we need to make it more affordable, available in rural areas, in multiple languages, and inclusive of all genders.

[0:50:52]
Hanh Brown: Do you have anything else to say before we conclude?

[0:51:11]
Tazeen H Rizvi: No, but thank you, Hanh, and to everybody who joined the conversation.

[0:51:32]
Hanh Brown: We are on the cusp of a health technology revolution that will help us meet the challenges posed by aging, disease, and disability. The future looks bright for older adults and their families as we move towards more sophisticated ways.

[0:52:03]
Hanh Brown: This week on Thursday, we’re going to have Christopher Canning at 11 o’clock. Our topics will include blockchain healthcare revolutionizing health data and its impact on baby boomers, research in age-related cognitive decline, and connecting the world of neuroscience, neurology, and psychiatry.

[0:52:23]
Hanh Brown: We will also discuss ways to breathe new life into your multi-family and senior living assets, safety and success while preparing for long-term care, and reframing the perception and experience of growing older.

[0:52:41]
Hanh Brown: If you’d like to stay informed and up to date with upcoming events, please leave a comment below and subscribe, and I will add you to the distribution. Thank you so much for joining us, Tazeen.

[0:53:01]
Hanh Brown: Thank you for listening to another episode of the Boomer Living broadcast. I know you have a lot of options when it comes to podcasts, and I’m grateful that you’ve chosen this one.

[0:53:17]
Hanh Brown: Please share this podcast with your friends and family, write a review on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play. It helps others discover the show. You can also contact us at (736) 350-6842 to leave a review and request content for the show.

[0:53:37]
Hanh Brown: We love hearing from our listeners. Check out our TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube channels at AARP Media Show, and subscribe to receive weekly tips on how to best serve the senior population. We want to help them have a great experience as they age. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time.

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