CARING FOR YOUR ELDERLY OR AILING FAMILY WITH ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY

AGING PARENTS ARE A WORRY – WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Definitely, having aging parents is a worry, especially when they live alone and may be some distance from where you live. Making regular phone calls and visits whenever possible will help to reduce their feeling of loneliness and isolation but it does not stop you worrying if they are OK.

Medpage Limited is a family owned and ran company with personal experience of the worry and complications of having elderly parents. Having supplied electronic aids to help care for people for over 30 years, the last few have certainly been a learning curve when it comes to “Assisitive Technology” (handy gadgets).

SO WHAT’S OUT THERE THAT’S USEFUL, WHAT’S IT CALLED, AND WHERE DO I GET IT?

The majority of people with elderly parents are unaware of products referred to as “Assistive Technology” (AT), “Telecare” “Daily Living Aids”, “Telehealth”, which are designed to offer care support using simple, or sophisticated electronic products, or gadgets. Some products are everyday items that people do not usually associate as being AT, such as simple rubber caps to help a frail person open a jar, or an easy-grip tin opener. So to help, let’s cut the jargon, briefly explain each type of care support, and provide some examples.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY (AT)

The term ‘assistive technology’ can be defined as “any device or system that allows an individual to perform a task that they would otherwise be unable to do, or increases the ease and safety with which the task can be performed.” (Royal Commission on Long Term Care 1999). This includes a wide range of devices from simple “low tech” items such as calendar clocks, memory aids, remote controls for switching lights on/off to more “high tech” items which, can provide and remotely relay alarms, data or information gained from Telecare sensors to distant carers or Local Authority community monitoring services.

DAILY LIVING AIDS – INDEPENDENT LIVING AIDS

A quick search on Google for Daily Living Aids, will reveal a magnitude of Organisations and Companies offering information or products to support Independent Living. Basically, products which support daily living are handy gadgets, again some simplistic, some more “High Tech”, and usually offer a useful benefit to the person to help them cope better with their daily routines – independent living.

TELECARE

Now here’s a strange one. Telecare has several interpretations but this one I feel best fits. The TSA’s (Telecare Services Association) telecare definition is: Telecare is support and assistance provided at a distance using information and communication technology.  It is the continuous, automatic and remote monitoring of users by means of sensors to enable them to continue living in their own home, while minimising risks such as a fall, gas and flood detection and relate to other real time emergencies and lifestyle changes over time.

TELEHEALTH

The Telecare Services Association definition of Telehealth is: Telehealth is the remote exchange of data between a patient at home and their clinician(s) to assist in diagnosis and monitoring typically used to support patients with Long Term Conditions.  Among other things it comprises of fixed telephone line or mobile phone type (GSM) home units to measure and monitor temperatures, blood pressure and other vital signs parameters (and the answering of targeted questions) for clinical review at a remote location using phone lines or wireless technology.

Was that useful?

So now that you have a better idea of how these gadgets are best described by the healthcare industry, and have continued to read this far, thank you. Now let’s have a look at a couple of examples, presented as actual scenarios with actual solutions.

WHAT IS THE MAIN WORRY FOR YOUR ELDERLY PARENT(S) LIVING AT HOME ALONE?

I guess the major concerns of most families are:

Personal health

Personal safety

Home security

Falls

Forgetfulness

Social Inclusion

IS MUM AT HOME? – HAS HER CARE WORKER VISITED? – HAS SHE CLOSED THE FRONT DOOR

Let’s have a look at an easy one first. I would like to know when the entrance door to my parent’s home is opened and closed. I want this information sent to my mobile phone, and maybe other family members.

I want to know what time Mum goes out, when she returns.

  1. I want to know that Mum’s health visitor has called in the morning and how long she stayed for.
  2. I want to know if Mum opens the front door late at night.

Providing there is an active broadband (internet connection) at the home, there is a very simple and affordable solution, our Wi-Fi Door Security Alarm WT06. In less than 5 minutes, you can have alerts going to your phone when the door is opened and then closed with time and date stamp. With a free powerful APP to use with your phone, it’s really easy to set everything up. You can opt to store door alert messages only, make your phone “ping” or have a full on claxon alarm from your phone. You can also set the times when the door alarm is active, 10pm – 7am for example. It works, it provides great peace of mind and at only £49.99 + VAT it won’t break the bank either. Search Wi-Fi on our website to view our complete range of Wi-Fi alarms.

See our other posts for further scenarios and product solutions and please let us (and others) know if you found this information useful.