This week my google alert feed on aging in place has been submerged in a wave of announcements about newer better electronics for safety at home and on the go. In preparing for my Staying Independent in Your Home class in May, I was not surprised when I reviewed the tech part of the presentation to find that some of last years products were now not so bright and shiny and maybe even non existent. It is a trillion dollar venture as companies try to steal the show with their more reliable more efficient products for aging in place.
Yes, I would hope that if you are relying on a fall detection monitor as an adjacent service to your I have fallen and can not get up response button/bracelet/pendant, that it works well and every time. I will hold to my personal mandate of not using brands names to let you judge for yourself what you think could make a difference for someone you love or maybe you own self in future years. Goggle medical alerts and you will be bombarded with info on specific products.
The latest greatest medical alert system has 4G connectivity and an 80 hour battery and better GPS and fall detection. The point is that they do keep improving the mPERS (mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems). Big brother issues aside, moving towards greater reliability is a good thing.
Another area is that of medication reminders. They go from classic to sophisticated. Missed or incorrect dosing of medication is a huge problem for those living alone. Dementia like behaviors and falls can evolve quickly from incorrect medication. If you can not rely on your own organization/memory skills there is everything from a talking robot monitor to a larger plastic pill minder with an alarm clock on it.
The fact that you have to speak to the robot to make it works seems counter to the logic of why you may need it in the first place. Also somebody has got to sort the pills and insert them in the machine or holders. A newer version has a lock on it with remote internet access and will alert the adult child minder if things are not on schedule. There is still a lot of work that need to be done here, or maybe there may be a finite limit to the safety of relying on non/remote human means.
Morale of the story: Stay tuned for even better versions of the above technological aides to help you be able to stay at home. It might be 5, 10 or even 20 years in the future when such interventions mean all the difference. Do not resent the ‘intrusion’, sometimes freedom comes in shiny packages that talk to you in your relatives voice or from being wired up to instant internet connections. A technological tide may lift all boats or at least those who pay the fee. You may be willing at some point to go along for the ride.