“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” We’ve all heard the commercials, probably even laughed about them. But the risk of falling without assistance is too real for many older adults. For seniors who live on their own, independence can easily turn into a prison when mobility prevents getting out, and even getting up if there’s an emergency.
We hear from families every day who are worried about their aging loved ones living alone. Many are no longer able to drive and family members can’t always get there for grocery trips and doctor appointments.
Technology is coming to the rescue for not only those who have fallen, but those who struggle living independently. Telemonitoring is a relatively new concept that enables individuals to take their vital signs (weight, blood pressure, oxygen levels, temperature, etc.) from the comfort of their own home. A device then sends the information directly to health professionals. It’s a virtual vital check and it’s saving lives.
With heart disease, seemingly harmless changes in weight and blood pressure can mean a heart attack is on its way or medications aren’t doing their jobs. So, for these chronic conditions, daily vital checks are important. But when a patient can’t drive to appointments, a new solution is needed and telemonitoring has fit the bill -- catching warning signs before they become problems.
The technology doesn’t stop at vitals. Voicecare, Tabitha’s “medical emergency alert system” helps in case of a fall or other emergency. If help is needed, seniors need to only press a button and health professionals and family members will be notified. Activity trackers (think Fitbits) are also being developed to help track activities of seniors in their home. If the device shows no movement for an extended period of time, help is called.
it’s not always possible to live independently. But a little technology is bringing independence within reach for many older adults.