Give Seniors Safety,
Care, and Home Independence
(photo below not part of original article)
An article from C-Net.com examines recent advances in
technology that would enable caregivers to monitor older
parents more carefully, and give seniors more at-home
independence. Here are some excerpts from that article.
Armed with everything from sensors,
Webcams and GPS devices to pendants and bracelets with
emergency buttons, caregivers are increasingly relying on
technology to keep track of their parents remotely while
allowing those seniors to have a sense of independence. While
the market for this technology is wildly fragmented and not
easily measured, few doubt it's growing.
"I believe the technologies on the
market are very promising. And what is coming down the pike
will be more integrated systems that include monitoring
wellness, safety, physiological and medication monitoring all
tied together into a personal health record," said Majd Alwan,
director of the
Center for Aging Services Technologies.
Perhaps of greatest interest to tech
buffs is what a number of companies are doing to bring various
monitoring pieces together. Home Guardian, a start-up that
came out of a University of Virginia project, for example, is
working on a detector that uses floor sensors, rather than a
device strapped to the body, to detect when someone falls.
In Australia, information technology
lecturers Peter Leijdekkers and Valerie Gay of the computer
systems department for the University of Technology Sydney,
are developing a mobile heart rate monitor called
Health Monitor.... That information is then remotely sent
to a health care service, or patient's doctor, as well as
their caregivers, via text messages.
...several devices are already
available that send an immediate alert to a monitoring
service, should a senior suffer a fall or ailment while in the
A senior wearing a bracelet or pendant
personal emergency response system (PERS) could hit the
emergency button if he or she falls or has a heart attack, for
A signal would then be triggered to a
communicator device hooked up to the senior's home phone,
which would call the monitoring service. The service would
then use the communicator as a two-way intercom to talk to the
senior and determine whether an emergency vehicle, family
member or friend should come over.
for example, sells such a service for $35 per month for
equipment and monitoring.
Security company ADT, for
three home health monitoring services. One is a PERS
product called Companion Service. Another is a sensor-system
set-up called QuietCare, and a third service combines both
Webcams to monitor
seniors inside their homes are also hitting the market. Last
October, AT&T launched its Home Monitoring Service, which
includes sensors and Webcams. And although the Webcams feature
a privacy button, it can be overridden by the account holder.
The question, of course, is who will
pay for this technology--insurance companies, the government,
adult caregivers, or seniors on a fixed income?
"A lot of people think insurance
companies should pay for it," Home Guardian's Kell said.
"Right now, it's the consumer who pays for these types of