Home Monitoring: More Than Falls
Life expectancy is becoming higher and higher every year in most developed countries. While this is a positive, the old-age dependency ratio is expected to double within the next 25 years. This is a challenge on the sustainability of healthcare models, and several studies reveal that the majority of the elderly, around 90%, attempt to live independently in their own homes.
The boom of the aging population, and their increasing desire to live independently, are cause for great motivation in the development of healthcare models. While existing approaches are based on direct-health monitoring, which is precise and accurate, they are widely seen as intrusive, causing non-acceptance.
New approaches to monitoring seek to be much more indirect by monitoring the activities of daily living (ADLs), as opposed to body sensor networks (BSN’s). Using only smart meter data, leading to minimum intrusiveness, this could be the key to sustainable healthcare models for smart homes capable of complying with senior demands.
How this can help seniors:
Activity is an important new healthcare metric
The home becomes an intelligent partner in monitoring wellness, and activity becomes an important new metric for healthcare monitoring. Know whether your loved one has left their bed or hasn’t gone to bed, indicating a potential problem. Make the home into an intelligent unit that gathers and shares feedback of daily activities, acknowledges unusual activity patterns and receives alerts.
Different stages of life wellness all benefit from activity monitoring.
For highly independent seniors, it provides transparent monitoring of household activity signaling healthy living, and optimizes the home for maximum safety and comfort. Mid-functioning seniors who may be living with chronic conditions that call for vigilant attention, can receive quantified wellness information regarding eating, sleeping, mobility and other key wellness indicators.
Intelligent Monitoring of Daily Patterns
Utilizing sensors, can accumulate data pertaining to daily wellness activity, ranging from simple ambulation patterns to how many times the fridge has been opened, or how many times the bathroom has been accessed. This alerts the caretaker to any abnormalities in living patterns for loved ones aging in place.
Quick tips for ensuring a safer home for seniors:
Tip #1 – Don’t attempt to run or rush to answer the telephone. Many people fall trying to do so. Keep a cordless phone nearby or let it go to voicemail and call back.
Tip #2 – Medicate safely. Improper use of medication can have serious safety and health implications. Routinely check all medication expiration dates.
Tip #3 – Keep emergency numbers easily accessible by placing them next to all phones, as well as in them as saved contacts.
Tip #4 – Install secure handrails and bright lights with switches at the top and bottom of stairs.