Living an independent life might feel like an achievement of self-sufficiency for seniors, but their relatives often stress about their health and well-being. “Are they eating regularly?” they might ask themselves. “Are they taking their pills in an orderly fashion? They won’t pick up the phone, what if they have fallen again? I wish I could keep an eye on them all day…“
These are just a few of the worries that might plague the mind of a caring relative that will not be cured by calling on a daily basis. To make matters worse, many seniors neglect themselves without regular human contact, but many families cannot afford to hire a caregiver to attend to the needs of the elderly person non-stop. Fortunately there is a non-intrusive way to monitor your loved one’s life.
Activity Trackers Are the Future of Senior Monitoring
Many would argue that the most prudent option would be to set up a few IP cameras inside the senior’s home so that family members can check the stream whenever they like to learn about the elderly resident’s current status and daily life. This idea is only viable on paper though, as seniors would feel like prisoners under surveillance. Placing a camera in the kitchen to see whether the senior eats regularly could easily have the reverse effect, as they may end up actively avoiding rooms that contain recorders out of frustration or fear of being filmed.
For these reasons a more subtle approach is recommended. Activity trackers are passive in the sense that they log someone’s actions without violating their privacy. The list includes smartwatches that count the steps the wearer takes on a daily basis, GPS medical alert buttons that use GPS to pinpoint the wearer’s location, fall detection pendants that call for help if the person falls unconscious, medication dispensers, or safety sensors that form a picture of the senior’s activity based on how often they interact with a particular object such as a refrigerator.
Fall Detection Buttons
The importance of activity tracking for seniors’ well-being is underlined in a research where the usefulness of different wearables was analyzed. Fall detection buttons incorporate numerous gyroscopes and barometric sensors to monitor the wearer’s movement and height, making them capable of sensing drastic shifts in stances and deduces that the wearer has fallen. Unfortunately the technology isn’t without flaws and it may fail to register an accident if for some reason it happens slowly or the person is rolling on the floor in pain, since the device can be confused by all the movement.
GPS buttons are must-have additions for any medical alert company. Being able to leave the home without compromising safety will grant more freedom to seniors, and such a device enables them to live a more active lifestyle too. The GPS tracking leaves information breadcrumbs that can then be reviewed on a smartphone or computer by family members so they can always know where the beloved senior is hanging around.
Medical Alert Sensors
In-home sensors aren’t that common, with Medical Guardian being the most recognized provider that features a kit of senior monitoring units as part of its package. These are similar to home security alarms that are stuck on doors or windows. These sensors don’t ring the alarm, however, and instead track how often the appliance they are attached to is being used. In other words, if you stick one to the refrigerator door you’ll be able to receive detailed reports that indicate the frequency of the resident’s meals. On the downside, you still won’t know whether the senior is eating proper meals or just snacking.
Medical Alert Smartwatches
Smartwatches could very well be the next evolution for medical alert buttons. They are lightweight and boast numerous features that could help the aging wearer in their everyday life. The Freedom smartwatch by Medical Guardian offers the same push-to-call mechanic as the traditional button, but also shows the time, sends medication reminders and keeps track of the person’s physical state with a fitness tracker. The family members are also able to receive the results and even contact the senior through the smartwatch.
If done correctly then monitoring the activity of the elderly can prolong their independent life. It goes without saying that smartwatches are the future, though less tech-savvy seniors might be better suited to learning to use a medical alert button instead.
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