The event was hosted by a Wharton School academic John Whitman and the Philadelphia Health IT Circle (PHIT Circle). It included a discussion panel of professionals in the senior healthcare area. These are some of the technologies discussed that day.
Aging the Easier & Better Way
A majority of seniors want to age accordingly. While aging, they prefer to be living in their residences, rather than in nursing homes. As much as they wish to remain bustling as if they are in their twenties, they have accepted the reality that gradually losing their physical and mental adeptness is in their cards.
They are glad that with medical monitoring technologies, they can lead independent lives and have a worthwhile battle as they progress past their prime. With the devices, they can accommodate their own needs (I.e. take medications on time, check their blood pressure and glucose levels regularly, set up a security system in their home, etc.) instead of turning to health aides and other people for assistance with almost every habit.
Medical alert systems like Life Alert were noted as “one of the oldest and most reliable electronic tools in the health technology market.” A list of the best medical alert systems on the market can be found on this site. New technologies that help the aged live independently were discussed during the event:
Caring for the Elderly with GrandCare Systems
GrandCare Systems is a touchscreen computer that tracks daily activities. In a way, it serves as a digital nurse. It has a medical monitoring system designed to watch oxygen, glucose, weight, and blood pressure. Other than that, it is capable of displaying almost anything from dietary practices and exercise routines to medication schedules and hospital discharges. Through it, seniors can read the news, play games, video chat, and even log onto Facebook. Simultaneously, through it, their caregivers can keep their activities under the radar.
To Be Lively with Lively
A “Smart Home” – that is what Lively promotes. It is a product created with six wireless sensors placed around seniors’ home. It is a system that operates based on the principle that everybody is likely to follow a habit. Aside from learning about daily activity patterns, the sensors send notifications to caregivers if something does not seem right at the elderly’s home and that they need to worry.
At first glance, this system looks like it can replace some of the functions of a medical alert system. However, there is no easy two-way interaction between the monitoring center representative and the senior user. It sounds like the rep will be receiving a signal and then initiate a phone call to check on the senior after the help button is pressed. If the senior cannot get to the phone, it’s a problem.
MedMinder for Seniors
MedMinder is a digital dispenser. It dispenses pills. As its name suggests, it allows seniors to mind the fact that they are on medication. It looks like any other pillbox but functions like modern devices in which caregivers can create a program that schedules, as well as monitors, medication intake. It beeps whenever the elderly forgets to take their much-needed meds.
Is Telikin the Ideal Device for the Elderly?
Telikin is a touchscreen computer, large and user-friendly, designed to assist seniors. Through it, the elderly can interact with others. They can compose emails, video chat, and share photos to family and friends. Furthermore, it facilitates interaction and socialization while offering to be a nifty support system.
Do Medical Monitoring Technologies Have to Be Expensive?
The primary concern with medical monitoring technologies for seniors is that they are quite expensive. Properly tracking daily activities and devising preventive measures need heavy funding. Otherwise, there may not be a guarantee that the elderly will remain secure in their homes. Even for the manufacturers who would need to conduct researches and invest in biometric sensors, they can be difficult to afford. At the moment, it is not clear who will foot the bill.
A “low-tech” but practical approach to aging in place called the Village Concept. This is based upon the idea of communities of the elderly in the same neighhorhood coming together, looking out for each other, and pooling their resources to allow members of the group to get the help they need. The concept promotes independent living.
On a related note, a few basic and affordable medical technologies were previously discussed on in this article: 4 Handy Medical Alert Devices for the Elderly.
New products using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are widening the type of product choices that seniors have with regard to aging in place. Some of these products are not developed specifically for seniors, but in the field, caregivers and seniors have found them to be helpful. It is expected that more and more of these products will develop given the growing demand.
Reference: Technical.ly Philly.