What types of new home technologies can you recommend to help me keep tabs on my elderly mother? She lives alone, about an hour’s drive from me, and I worry about her safety.
— Concerned Daughter
BRADENTON HERALD – Helping an aging parent remain independent and living in their own home has become a little easier in recent years, thanks to a host of new and improved assistive technology products. Here are some top rated options you should know about.
Another more sophisticated technology for keeping tabs on your mom is with a home monitoring system. These systems will let you know whether she is waking up and going to bed on time, eating properly, showering and taking her medicine.
They work through small wireless sensors (not cameras) placed in key locations throughout the home. The sensors will track her movements, learning her daily activity patterns and routines, and will notify you or other family members via text message, email or phone if something out of the ordinary is happening. For instance, if she went to the bathroom and didn’t leave it could indicate a fall or other emergency.
You can also check up on her patterns anytime you want through the system’s password-protected website. And for additional protection, most services offer SOS call buttons as well that can be placed around the house, or worn.
Some good companies that offer these services are BeClose (beclose.com, 866-574-1784), which runs $399 or $499 for the sensors, plus a $69 monthly service fee if paid a year in advance. And GrandCare Systems (grandcare.com, 262-338-6147), which adds a fantastic social component – through a senior-friendly computer – to go along with the activity monitoring. GrandCare leases for $150 to $300 per month.
If you want to make sure your mom is keeping up with her medications, there are medication management devices you can now rent, that will dispense her medicine on schedule, provide constant reminders, and even notify you if her medicine is not taken. Two products that offer this are MedMinder (medminder.com, 888-633-6463), which rents for $40 per month, and the Philips Medication Dispensing Service (managemypills.com, 888-632-3261) that costs $75/month.
Jim Miller, a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book, can be reached at Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.
Or visit www.savvysenior.org.