Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Technologies That Empower Seniors and Caregivers

by Zinta Aistars
Published at Golden Slippers Network
January 2015

Find out what kind of new technologies are available that help seniors stay independent while giving caregivers peace of mind.

Mom gets around well. She’s independent and lives at home alone despite her advanced years. But you worry. Just last week, she twisted her ankle coming down the stairs and took a spill. You live an hour away, and although you check on her regularly, it’s frightening to think about what might have happened if you hadn’t stopped by that day. 

That’s a scenario that many are facing as parents age, in one variation or another, but technology is available to expand the reach of caregivers, keeping seniors safe and living at home independently longer than ever before. With technological advances, caregivers who live at a distance, or are simply not able to check in on senior family members at a moment’s notice, now have life-saving and empowering technologies to help them stay connected. 

“The personal emergency response system, or PERS, is most common,” says Leslie Knopp, co-owner of Comfort Keepers of Northern Lower Michigan, a leading provider of quality in-home senior care located in the Traverse City area. “They range from the simplistic that allow you to push a button to call 9-1-1 to the more complex, sending a pulse signal to an emergency response center that monitors calls 24/7.” 

PERS are small, light-weight transmitters that run on batteries. They can be worn around the neck like a necklace, as a wristband, carried in your pocket or clipped onto a belt. When needed, someone wearing a PERS can push a button for help, sending a signal to a console that has been set up to call one or more emergency numbers. 

“The simplest PERS works only within the range of home,” Knopp adds. “The next step up is a unit that works with a GPS technology like the one in your car, giving your location.” 

A PERS can be purchased, rented or leased. At Comfort Keepers, prices begin at $30 for a monthly monitoring fee, but can be higher for more complicated units. “The entire field is expanding,” says Knopp. “Accessories can be attached to the PERS that connect to a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alerts—alerts that don’t just make a sound, but submit reports and call in to an emergency response center. Or, you can install ...


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