New Technology Detects Changes in Seniors’ Behavior for Better Caregiving
Technology is evolving to make caregiving easier for the sandwich generation with aging parents. From hearing aids to walkers, all the way up to personal GPS systems that let caregivers detect when an aging parent or Alzheimer sufferer has roamed, technology permits seniors who need a little assistance or monitoring to age-in-place longer and remain independent in the face of diminishing abilities.
According to a recent study published by the American Journal of Public Health and reported here at SeniorLiving.net, 9 million seniors on Medicare have successfully adapted to a disability with the help of assistive technology. This number could increase as technology evolves and, even more importantly, as awareness of available technologies grows.
A new technology scheduled to ship this fall could help even more seniors age-in-place.
Technology Detects Changes in Behavior
CarePredict Tempo is a new wearable sensor that tracks activity and locations of a senior within the home. In much the same way a “smart” thermostat learns how you prefer to program room temperature settings and then mimics that behavior even if you’re not programming it, the CareDirect sensor first learns the senior’s “typical” patterns of behavior.
Then, if there is a deviation from this pattern, the program alerts loved ones or caregivers. This technology is different from current GPS technology, because it monitors the senior rather than the environment and does more than just detect a location or a change in location beyond specified parameters.
Like many personal GPS systems, the sensor is unobtrusive and can be worn on a men’s watch band or a ladies’ bracelet. Four additional room sensors and a communications hub that connects to the cloud complete the kit.
Sattish Movva, founder and CEO of CarePredict and a member of the sandwich generation himself, with three young children (including a set of twins) and two aging parents he cares for, references a recent incident he experienced with his father. “I noted my dad had started shuffling instead of walking because of water retention in his feet, which, if left untreated, would have resulted in an ER visit.”
Movva was lucky that he noticed the change in behavior during a routine visit but, with CarePredict Tempo, he would have been alerted even sooner in order to get his dad the treatment he needed.
“As part of the sandwich generation we try to find a balance between competing demands on our time: work, taking care of parents and taking care of children among others,” Movva says. He points out that time spent on one activity, say, taking a parent to the hospital in an emergency situation, must come from some place else, perhaps time spent working or at a sports competition for a child. In a sense, technology like CareDirect Tempo helps caregivers be in two places at once, or at least be able to monitor an aging parent while you’re at work or at the park with your children.
Technology, of course, should not replace personal visits and one-on-one care, but can make seniors feel more secure and comfortable when they are left alone, and can provide them with greater independence. Both seniors and their caregivers can enjoy a peace-of-mind they may not achieve without monitoring through technology.
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