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Closing the Gap in Remote Caregiving
Technology Offers New Tools
By Frank Graff
The roughly seven million
Americans who are long distance caregivers share a constant worry—what if
something happens and I’m not there? The reality is no matter how careful
family members and caregivers are in making a home safe, falls and accidents
can happen. The good news is that technology can help.
An online survey shows
that caregivers are more open to using technology to keep stroke survivors
independent in their homes. The survey of 1,000 families by The National
Alliance for Caregiving, found 77 percent believed technology would save time,
76 percent thought it would makes their lives easier and 75 percent thought it would
make the care recipient feel safer.
The biggest developments
are in the area of automatic fall detection. New systems are the next
generation of the original pendant alarm which required people to push a button
if they fell. The new systems use motion sensors and accelerator technology to
identify a fall. They then automatically contact a call center for emergency
help. The person does not need to push a button. Sensors can be worn around the
neck, on belt clips and even on chest straps under clothing. In addition, the
systems can be tied into the Internet, allowing families and caregivers to
remotely monitor a survivor’s health and physical activity through a secure
Several other new technologies are available
in the market to help caregivers achieve more confidence and peace of mind when
caring for someone from a distance. Visit halomonitoring.com to learn more.
This is a variation of
the home security system. Sensors placed around the home track daily movements.
They can sense whether doors are opened and even if a bed is occupied. The information
is then sent to a secure website. Some systems can be programmed to send alerts
to caregivers if there are medication issues or if a person does not get out of
bed. Survivors can also use medical devices such as a blood pressure cuff which
sends the information to a secure website.
This kind of electronic
lifeline is designed to keep track of loved ones when outside of their homes.
There are several variations using computers or cell phone applications to keep
track of a person’s location.
Multiple versions of this
technology exist and all of them help survivors who sometimes forget to take
medication doses. Some of the systems generate automatic telephone calls or
voice recordings, reminding care recipients to take their medicines. New cell
phone and computer applications allow caregivers and relatives to remotely
monitor medication intake, receive refill reminders and create a detailed
professionals, caregivers and family members must assess people for their
individual needs, modify their living arrangements and if needed, use the right
technology to help someone continue to live independently”, says Chris Otto,
President and CEO of Halo Monitoring, an automatic fall detection technology
Graff works in public relations and as a freelance contributor to many
publications, writing about healthcare and long-term caregiving issues.
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