Senior Care and the Internet of Things
Advances in medicine and health care have brought us to a place where life expectancy is better than ever, but with that comes an increasing need for adequate senior care. As the “baby boomer” generation ages, there are more seniors than ever before. (In 2000, about 10% of the US population was over 60 years of age, but by 2015, this percentage was as high as 12 or 13%.) Because the elderly account for as much as 34% of healthcare expenditure, providing quality healthcare to seniors may become challenging in the near future. This is where the Internet of Things is expected to have a major impact on senior care.
The Impact of IoT on Senior Care
In case you didn’t know, the Internet of Things refers to the simple practice of connecting smart devices to the internet. It is currently used in home automation, but it has far reaching benefits in other areas as well. This specific form of advanced technology has tremendous potential to help the elderly receive cheaper and better healthcare, without an inevitable reliance on human intervention. The Internet of Things, or particularly the Internet of Medical Things, is a highly anticipated means of coping with the rising costs and demands of senior medical care.
How Sensors Can Help Seniors
The introduction of IoT into senior care can mean better adherence to medication regimens for seniors, and as a result, better overall quality of life and health. More often than not, old age is associated with a degree of cognitive decline, which may make seniors more prone to forgetting to take their medication. In turn, this may exacerbate their conditions, which incurs further costs on the healthcare system.
One way to tackle the issue is by introducing digital tools or IoT devices that can remind patients when to take their medication or alert caregivers about medicine that has not been taken, to ensure better adherence. Additionally, sensory- and cognitive-impaired seniors may benefit from digital devices that remind them to start, perform, and complete daily tasks.
IoT Provides an Extra Hand for Caregivers
At BrickHouse Security, we provide a variety of home automation tools like sensors that can help users monitor whether doors or cabinets that hold medicine have been accessed during specified time periods. This allows caretakers or concerned family members to effectively monitor whether the senior under their care has been accessing their medications. These tools can be used in a number of other ways as well, from monitoring comings and goings, to tracking how often the refrigerator is accessed. Implementing home automation tools can be a great way to keep senior safe, but can also be a great option for homeowners in other circumstances as well.
What would a caregiver do with this data? Digital monitoring tools of this type give caregivers the opportunity to watch for patterns and notice deviations. For example, a patient may be required to take meds 3x a day, but the sensors monitoring the cabinet notice that the medications are only accessed once per day. This deviation notifies the caregiver that something is wrong and needs to be addressed.
On-the-Go Emergency Call Buttons
Perhaps it’s because the population of seniors is so large, or perhaps it’s because modern medicine is offering us a longer lifespan, but today’s seniors are among the most active in remembered history. Because of this, many family members are concerned about their senior loved one being able to maintain some semblance of independence.
Through BrickHouse Alert, we offer mobile personal alert systems that provide seniors with the ability to call for help no matter where they are. Unlike older personal alert systems that were linked to the landline and caused seniors to be housebound if they were at-risk, BrickHouse Alert operates over cellular, allowing users to call for emergency assistance anywhere there’s a cell signal. This gives seniors more freedom and mobility than ever before!
Monitoring the Mobile Senior
For seniors who are physically mobile but unable to travel unaccompanied, like Alzheimer’s or dementia patients, it may be necessary to keep tabs on the patient themselves. WanderAlert allows caregivers to monitor the BrickHouse Alert device’s location and receive alerts when the wearer has left the premises. This gives caregivers added peace of mind, ensuring that if their patient or loved one has wandered off, they will be discovered and found as quickly as possible.
Internet of Things Solutions for Senior Care
Using these kinds of advanced monitoring options can be perfect for caring for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients who are unable to adequately care for themselves. The Internet of Things has immense potential to transform senior healthcare by helping the elderly receive better and cheaper care. For more information about senior care and our Internet of Things product offerings, call BrickHouse Security. Our team is always available to help!