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Thoughts to ponder

Occasionally we find something potentially useful to share with others, especially regarding integrity, transparency, and accountability in the field of services. Health care, elder care, child care, pet care, home maintenance, lawn care, property management. The common theme is that people do things for other people millions of times every day. And today more than ever, we need to share what we learn with each other.

Home monitoring is a rising trend in eldercare

Home monitoring is a rising trend in eldercare

Apr 12 2014

In my research and reflected by discussions with real people, it is clear that home monitoring is increasing nearly as fast as "aging in place". Of course these two trends are related, as people that want to support their elder family members' desire to age in place, also want to be more aware of their status. In part because I see these as potential synergistic partners for TaskAssure, I keep abreast of this trend. I divide this trend into these subcategories:

  • Personal emergency response (PERS) - This market has seen substantial expansion and diversification from the original "I've fallen and I can't get up" days. We can now choose from different devices such as pendants, bracelets, mobile phones, and even sensors woven into clothing and integrated into shoes. And if the person becomes unconscious the monitoring service can now detect prolonged lack of activity and automatically alert the family. The latest services can alert designated individuals if the person being monitored leaves a geographic area, which is often a concern for people with "wandering" related issues. To find potential products in this category, I recommend using your favorite Internet search tool for "personal emergency response". There are many!

  • Surveillance and alarm - In the surveillance segment of this category, the last few years has seen tremendous increases in use of Internet compatible in-home camera systems. Family members can visit a dedicated private website to see live feeds from the cameras they install in their loved one's home. In addition, product engineers have invented ways to re-purpose the original alarm systems to now also act as monitoring services. So, when at night the system is detecting unexpected movement that could be a burglar, now during the day the same system can discriminate between normal movement patterns and potential trouble. For example, with movement detection sensors, the system can deduce if someone likely passed out in the hall way and has not moved for a prolonged period. Just search for "alarm monitoring", and add the term "eldercare" if you want to narrow results.

  • Comprehensive home monitoring - With the increase in elders aging in place, products are being offered with comprehensive monitoring capabilities to help family members and professionals get detailed status about their loved ones. Such products can prompt the person for answers to questions to help determine their wellness. They can also collect health information such as weight, respiration, blood pressure, blood glucose and other measures. At the other end, family and professionals can view trends, events, and receive alarms about potential trouble. Some specific products that we have seen are BeClose, Care Connect, Castlight, Family Health Network, i-Saiso, and Phillips Home Monitoring. 

I am planning to evaluate these products in the near future. Let me know if you have specific models that you would like to be tested.

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