Potential Applications of Smart Multifunctional Wearable Materials to Gerontology.
Smart multifunctional materials can play a constructive role in addressing some very important aging-related issues. Aging affects the ability of older adults to continue to live safely and economically in their own residences for as long as possible. Thus, there will be a greater need for preventive, acute, rehabilitative, and long-term health care services for older adults as well as a need for tools to enable them to function independently during daily activities. The objective of this paper is, thus, to present a comprehensive review of some potential smart materials and their areas of applications to gerontology. Thus, brief descriptions of various currently available multifunctional smart materials and their possible applications to aging-related problems are presented. It is concluded that some of the most important applications to geriatrics may be in various sensing scenarios to collect health-related feedback or information and provide personalized care. Further described are the applications of wearable technologies to aging-related needs, including devices for home rehabilitation, remote monitoring, social well-being, frailty monitoring, monitoring of diabetes and wound healing and fall detection or prediction. It is also concluded that wearable technologies, when combined with an appropriate application and with appropriate feedback, may help improve activities and functions of older patients with chronic diseases. Finally, it is noted that methods developed to measure what one collectively manages in this population may provide a foundation to establish new definitions of quality of life.