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New Technology Gives Seniors More Time at Home

Most people probably remember the old TV commercial where an elderly woman collapses in her home and calls out, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”
Today, more advanced at-home technology is available that can perform a number of functions for the wearer, including reminders to take medicine, alert him or her to a fire, and answer the phone. These new devices are allowing seniors to stay in their homes longer, rather than moving to a nursing home or assisted living facility.

An article we found on TheReporterOnline.com explains that some systems cost about $150 to $200 a month and can help monitor how well a senior is managing the chores of daily living. They are most successful when they are tied to an agency that can dispatch meals, medical help, or other senior services. They are often prescribed to seniors for a limited time after a hospitalization.

But many seniors would like to see this technology become more mainstream, as long as it is affordable. Elinor Ginzler, senior vice president for livable communities for AARP, said, “We’re at the beginning of the wave. Money is an issue.”

Home for Life Solutions, out of Lee Summit, MO, sells equipment that monitors falls and day-to-day activities, and will turn off a stove if the user forgets. A built-in motion detector turns the appliance off if the user leaves the room and does not return within a specific period of time.

GE Healthcare of Wilwaukee offers two products: 1) Health Guide allows users to check their blood pressure, sugar levels, or heart rate, and sends the information to a medical provider who tracks it; and 2) QuietCare, which uses sensors that learn a customer’s daily activities and behaviors, and then watches for changes. Sensors can be placed near a medicine cabinet or refrigerator to track whether the person is taking their medicine or eating.

Agnes Berzsenyi, general manager of home health for GE Healthcare, said, “It makes them feel someone’s taking care of them but no one is watching them.”

At-home technology will help increase the quality of life for more and more seniors and can help provide the peace of mind that their caregivers and families deserve.