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Aging in Place and Technology #2

by Louis on September 29, 2008

I view Aging in Place technology in five categories in addition to low tech technology which I consider the baseline and most economical way to invest. Low tech is my career focus and the point of the first posting in this series (Aging in Place and Technology #1).

Alert Systems
Many folks are familiar with the most basic technology, the Personal Emergency Response System (PERS). The most familiar brand is Philips Lifeline but many others are available. This consists of a pendant or wristwatch the user wears. When an emergency occurs the user alerts a call center by pressing the button. Most have a high quality speakerphone so the call center can talk to the client who may have fallen. The call center operator has a list of responders they call to assist the client. The last resort call, or first – depending on the status of the problem – is emergency services in the client’s area. This is an advanced and portable version of the pullstring located next to the toilet in hospitals and nursing homes.

There are two major downsides.
1. The user must be wearing the button when they need it.
2. The user must be conscious and cognizant.
Neither is a given.

I agree this is a step up from someone who checks on you (and or your pulse/blood pressure) in a visit, but it hardly helps prevent injuries or illness. It may keep someone from dying or being found dead on the floor a few days later or from the misery of lying there hoping someone finds them. These are not small consolations. This is valuable stuff, but the limitations are important.

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