We have come a long way from the old “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” pendants of the past, which worked only at home with a base unit connected to a telephone landline.

Nowadays, with dramatic advances in mobile and internet communications, new systems work wherever you are, monitor all parts of your house, and help you manage your daily life. You can now monitor yourself and your home whether you are in your home, at the grocery store, or even in another state.

The integration of personal technology, with home sensor systems, the internet, voice activation and advanced video opens up a whole new world that can allow you to stay in your home longer. It can also comfort your loved ones and caregivers with the knowledge that you are safe and sound.

Where to Find Tomorrow’s Technology…Today

Searches of the internet for local sources to purchase and install Senior Home Technology systems yielded us limited results. Perhaps, you can do better. To keep up with emerging technologies the SourceBook is conducting ongoing research from all sources with the goal of providing Talbot County Seniors with a resource guide of local home technology providers. For an up-to-date list feel free to call us at 410-443-2369.

Today’s Smart Home Technology provides options that run the gamut from basic alerts to sophisticated computer controlled network interfaces. Some of the monitoring or safety devices that can be installed in a home include lighting and motion sensors, environmental controls, video cameras, automated timers, emergency assistance systems, communication systems, health monitoring and alerts.

The system you choose can be simple or complex; the menu of choices is long and you can order to fit your own appetite. If your fingers aren’t as nimble as they once were you might want voice activated controls. If your eyesight is failing, large screen readouts are available. And, if you tend to forget things you can set reminder messages. You can also choose how much you wish to integrate your new systems with loved ones and caregivers so they can lend a helping hand and “be there” when you need it. While today’s technology is complex, using it can be simple and it can make your life easier – and you don’t have to be a whiz at computers to make it all work for you.

Here are just a few of the Smart Home Technology advances that you can put to work for yourself:

  • This electronic medication management system reminds the user, dispenses medications, alerts caregivers, and monitors adherence.
    Photo courtesy of TabSafe Medical Services – www.TabSafe.com

    Control from a Favorite Chair – Thermostats can be voice-activated or set by remote control

  • Medication Reminders – Smart pillboxes can offer audible or visual cues that prompt you to take your medication or even alert loved ones when you have
    – or, haven’t
  • Danger Detection Devices – Smart stove alarms can sound alerts when a burner is left on, smoke is present, or toxic gases are produced. Other detection devices can determine water leaks, air quality issues, or bath overflow issues – and shut off water before a bath becomes overfilled.
  • Smart Watches – These can include medication reminders, fitness trackers, and activity sensors for the home and can pair with your cell phone so you can use it when you leave the house. Soon, they will even include a fall detector.
  • Smart Security Systems – These can be programmed to automatically lock doors, provide video pictures of visitors at the front door or notify you, or your loved ones, remotely, if issues arise.
  • Lighting – Lights can be voice or motion activated and motion sensitive devices by the doorway can remind you to lock the doors at night.
  • GPS Insoles and Watches – Many Smart watches come with GPS, but there is now a product that puts a GPS in an insole that can be comfortably fit into any shoe. This will help you keep track of anyone who wanders, or help you if you get lost.

 

There is now a new generation of monitoring systems that don’t require the person being monitored to wear a device. Rather, a network of in-home sensors connects to a cloud-based algorithm that learns your daily living patterns and can recognize any deviation. If something happens that is out of the ordinary, it can send an alert, via smartphone or the internet, to a loved one or caregiver who can take action if necessary.

 

Today’s digital smart
watches function
like wearable computers.
Photo courtesy of www.123RF.com

Some of the behavior patterns that these sensors can monitor include:

  • Your location within your home
  • Your bed-time and awakening time
  • Meal times
  • When you leave and return to your home
  • What lights you are using
  • When you watch television
    and what you watch
  • When you cook and whether
    you are cooking
  • When you use the bathroom
  • Whether you have taken your medication
  • Temperature of heating and air conditioning and adjustments

There is little question that these technological advances have brought a new era of safety and security. They can also allow Seniors to continue to remain in their homes for longer. In many cases, they will decrease the need for on-site caregiving. In virtually all cases they will give your loved ones peace of mind that you are safe and secure. And, if you are not, caregivers will be notified so they can take appropriate action. The trade-off is that you may find this new technology intrusive. Only you can answer the question of whether remaining in your home is worth this level of monitoring and oversight.

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