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Technology Helping Caregivers Of Elderly
New technology is making it easier to keep close tabs on seniors while allowing them to stay in their own homes. These gadgets can give both you and your elderly parents peace of mind.
Eric and Joanne Boyce are prime examples of the sandwich generation.
They have kids at home but are also caregivers for Eric's 85 year old mother, Helen.
They want Helen to live independently and avoid costly assisted living, as long as possible.
Eric says, "We've tried for the last several years to simplify her life and provide a sense of comfort for us. We are not under the same roof. We want to know if something happened, there would be a quick response."
The Boyces have found that comfort and quick response with the latest high tech gadgets. Helen takes more than a dozen different pills. Now instead of making daily trips to check on her medication, Joanne fills up a computerized dispenser every ten days that pushes out the right pills at the right times.
It's been a godsend for Joanne, "it keeps us organized and on track of what she is taking and what needs to be refilled. It has made a huge difference."
Repeated falls are also a common problem for the elderly. That's why Helen wears a monitor, 24-7. It electronically detects a fall without needing a press a button.
Jim Sease works for Philips Lifeline, one of the companies that makes and monitors these devices. He says, "Auto Alert has an accelerometer in it, so it can tell how fast it's dropping. It has to drop at an angle because we don't fall straight down with a sudden stop at the end. If it hits that parameter, then this device registers that as a fall."
Within 30 seconds, someone at the monitoring service is supposed to call Helen and then alert Eric and Joanne or an ambulance, as needed.
Helen doesn't mind wearing the monitor, "I like it very much. I've fallen three times and all three times I was able to get help."
Gadgets and monitors can never replace human touch and face to face visits.
But they can complement the loving care already in place and some families find them a godsend.
By Judy Maggio