New technology allows seniors to stay at home - KMSP-TV

New technology allows seniors to stay at home

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Many of us hope to stay in our homes as long as possible instead of entering assisted living as we age. FOX 9 medical expert Dr. Archelle Georgiou discusses new technology that allows seniors to do just that.

Sensors placed strategically in a senior's home can alert a caregiver to a potential health crisis. A central command center uses analytics to email or send a text message to the caregiver, prompting him or her to check in on the senior. Over time, the analytics can identify unusual or atypical patterns that might suggest that the senior needs help.

Here's how they work:

REFRIGERATOR

A sensor indicates when the fridge is being opened and shut, telling the caregiver whether the senior is getting adequate nutrition.

TOILET

Indicates usage patterns – for example, heavy use could alert the caregiver to a UTI or other ailment.

BED

Monitors under the bed can measure heart rhythm, respiration rate, while sensors in the mattress detect movement and restlessness. According to a University of Missouri study, restlessness might be an early indicator that an illness could develop in 1 to 2 weeks. Therefore, restlessness detectors could prove highly valuable as a preventative monitoring tactic.

PRIVACY CONCERNS

Many seniors say privacy is a tradeoff. While these sensors are not cameras or recorders, some may feel their privacy is being invaded, but consider this: In an assisted living center, how much privacy is there in comparison to the privacy of your own home?

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