Mexico City wants to address the rising cost of caring for its ageing population with digital technologies. Within the 8.85 million population of the city, 11.6% are over 60 and with the low birth rate of 1.7 the percentage is rising. Tackling this issue with information technology will help enable senior citizens to stay independent for longer whilst providing innovative ways of reducing the costs of health care.
The challenge is to integrate digital health and wellbeing tools into the lives of those least likely to be comfortable with technology. The introduction of computing power into the lives of the elderly can offer reminders to take medicines, dietary advice, immediate access to medical professionals and much more. It also reduces the need for visits to a local doctor or other health care professional. New technologies allow users to take important measurements such as their blood pressure, weight and body fat and have that information directly transmitted to their doctor or uploaded to their medical files.
Mexico City has been successfully running a pilot program “Un botón de ayuda” (A pushbutton for help), for almost two years with 100 users. The project provides help for elderly people if they have an accident at home or need some kind of assistance and it will soon be extended.
However, the City is now looking for more services that can be offered by a range of different agencies to address the diverse needs of its citizens. Solutions must be based on new technologies and must benefit senior citizens and their relatives, improve communication with doctors for better diagnosis, and reduce costs to government. It is also important that these technologies are accessible and affordable for the majority.