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Technology and Aging - Conclusion

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The future of technology is vast and largely unforeseeable. Many of the innovations described in this entry were unimagined in the 1980s or 1990s, and undoubtedly future developments will be equally surprising. Some features will certainly become a more important part of the technological solutions applied to everyday aspects of aging. The increasing use of ‘‘intelligent’’ systems, and eventually of robotics, seems assured. Even now, technologies such as specially designed global positioning systems, to reduce wandering among Alzheimer’s patients, and intelligent wheelchairs are being tested. Further research is needed to understand the limitations of technology. For example, an increased dependence upon assistive technology should not replace rehabilitation therapy, and no number of ‘‘smart’’ devices can assure complete independence for an older person with advanced dementia. In addition, the broader use of computers for day-to-day tasks, such as shopping and banking, has yet to resolve problems related to the reliability of information on the Internet, privacy concerns, access to technology for low-income persons, and the needs of the disabled elderly.



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