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Technologies for Aging in Place

By: Celeste Begley – Aug, 2016

The proverbial “an apple a day will keep the doctor away” is today more likely “an app any time of day will keep the doctor away.” The latest in remote healthcare innovations can instantly connect a person with not just a doctor but an entire medical team, and all right in the comforts of home. The upsurge in health-monitoring technology is particularly beneficial to older adults as the world’s population over age 60 is expected to reach nearly 1.2 billion people by 2025.

To respond to an increasing demand in caring for these seniors, home-monitoring devices and systems are redefining the landscape of “aging in place,” the decision to continue living in one’s home of choice as independently and safely as possible. AARP reports that nearly 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age. Even with certain health challenges, older adults now have a number of more affordable and user-friendly advancements to help them live in their homes as long as they can.
From data-compiling motion sensors to Bluetooth connectivity, aging home dwellers and clinicians can stay in communication around the clock. Special apps also equip family caregivers with visual check-ins with their loved one or allow adjustment of home controls for their senior even from thousands of miles away.

“Often family caregivers do not live close by their aging loved one, so personal at-home care coupled with high-tech remote health monitoring offers continued oversight of the senior and tremendous peace of mind to caregivers,” said Celeste Begley, Community Relations Director of Right at Home Boston and North and local Merrimack Valley resident.

Right at Home, a leader of the in-home care industry, is partnering with global health technology innovator Philips to beta test a flexible and affordable blend of in-home and remote care options for seniors. The CareSensus well-being monitoring features unobtrusive, camera-free sensors placed strategically in the home to watch out for older adults 24/7. Data from the connected sensors process any unusual patterns of activities, such as a senior taking much longer to get out of bed in the morning, and delivers the personalized blueprint of behavior to the Right at Home remote care team. The behavioral changes displayed via an intuitive online dashboard alert the off-site Right at Home care staff to intervene earlier during a health complication or before a more serious medical event. Also, family caregivers can access the dashboard to periodically review their loved one’s care.

Seniors also have the option of being provided with a tablet equipped with video chat technology, so the Right at Home remote care team can schedule regular check-ins customized to meet the senior’s needs. Video visits can range from a casual discussion about dinner, to reminders for the senior to take their medication or blood pressure. The CareSensus well-being monitoring and remote check-in pilot continues in 25 Right at Home U.S. locations until December 2016.

In addition to the Right at Home/Philips blended care solution for older adults, Rosaleen Doherty notes a number of other home health innovations designed to keep elders safe while living on their own:

• Wearable health devices such as wristbands, biometric shirts, goggles and more measure and collect data on everything from blood pressure to vision.
• Mobile device apps remind older adults to take their medication or can measure on the spot vital signs such as glucose and skin temperature.
• Sensor mattress mat tracks air-pressure fluctuations to monitor a person’s sleep patterns, heart rate and breathing. The thin pad fits under a mattress.
• Telemedicine features in-home movable robotic devices to allow doctors to complete real-time medical appointments or track health conditions.
• Home automation auto-sets smart devices to simplify daily tasks such as opening or securing windows and doors, turning off appliances, adjusting the home’s temperature, and lowering countertops and shelves.

When hands-on care is not always possible for seniors who choose to age in place, assistive health technology may do more than keep the doctor away. In many cases, the “always on” remote care services prove to be life-saving measures.

Right at Home of Boston and North is a family owned home care agency that opened its doors in 2002. It is owned and operated office by Rosaleen Doherty and Jay Kenney, serving the communities of Boston, the Merrimack Valley, and the North Shore. Right at Home provides RightCare. This is the Right People – the most professional and passionate employees to serve our clients, RightServices- Wide range of services delivered with excellence, RightApproach – Comprehensive care tailored to client’s needs, and the RightMission – Improving the quality of life for those we serve. For more information, contact Right at Home of Boston and North by visiting our website /www.rightathome.net/boston-north/. Phone: 781-744-5151 or by email at info@rightathomemass.com.

ValleyPatriot

ValleyPatriot

The Valley Patriot is a free monthly journal of news, commentary, and events, serving Northern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire.

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