Technology that gives you peace of mind
Using technology to maintain the health and safety of older adults is not new — medical alert jewelry, for example, is one example. But advances in technology have now given family members and caregivers an opportunity to monitor for themselves the well-being of the ones they care for.
A number of in-home safety systems and personal tracking devices being offered by Baltimore-based Health Trends is affording elders (as well as individuals with disabilities) the ability to remain in their own home, while providing peace of mind to their family and caregivers.
According to a survey conducted by AARP, being able to remain in their homes as they age (age in place) is of paramount concern to those 65 and older. While awareness of assistive technology is not yet widespread, those who were surveyed said they would be interested in using such devices.
“This technology has been used for a long time in the professional security industry,” said Dr. Boris Kerzner, medical director of Health Trends. “But it is only now beginning to be used to monitor the elderly and the disabled.”
Among the systems available are wireless home sensors, GPS locator watches with the ability to detect falls, medication management systems, easy-to-use wrist blood pressure monitors, and remote monitoring systems.
Sensing something amiss
With the wireless home sensor system, for example, up to 10 sensors can be placed throughout the home. By selecting locations such as the bed, the bathroom, the stove, the front door, etc., family members, neighbors or professional caregivers who have been designated to receive alerts (via email, text or phone call) can determine if there is a shift in a pattern of behavior: (“Mom used to get up at 8 a.m., but now she’s staying in bed all morning,” or “Dad hasn’t been to the kitchen today; maybe he’s not eating”). There may be a possible emergency if the sensors have picked up no motion at all.
The notifications can go out to as many people as you would like and in any order. They can also go out to multiple individuals at one time.
In addition to the wireless motion sensors, door sensors and lock controls are available, as are refrigerator door sensors, surface and area temperature sensors (so a stove, for example, could be turned off automatically), video surveillance, and wearable health- or location-alert personal emergency response solutions.
“The devices can be customized for the individual living situation, and can be added on to as conditions change,” said Kerzner, who is consulting not only with individual families but home health agencies and assisted living facilities as well.
How much does it cost?
The equipment is leased, and the monitoring service costs an additional $100 to $175 a month. Some costs may be covered by long-term care policies or charitable programs.
According to Kerzner, all of the products have been tested by Health Trends for reliability, consistency and accuracy. “The choices available and the decision about what would be best for your individual situation can be overwhelming,” he said. “We not only test all the products, but provide insight and education so you can make the best decision for yourself or your loved one.”
For more information about the
company, call (410) 484-9400 or visit www.healthtrends.us.com.
For more information on home monitoring and other useful technologies for aging in place, see “High-tech gadgets monitor safety at home” and “Gadgets to consider” in the Housing & Homecare Options section of the July Baltimore Beacon.