Beyond Life Alert: Gadgets for Health and Safety at Home
Most people know about personal emergency response systems (PERS), like Life Alert. Once a PERS is set up, generally all you have to do is push a “call” button to alert medical and other first responders if you need help at home. These systems may offer peace of mind for older adults or people with disabilities, their families and their caregivers.
Home safety and health monitoring technology is advancing well beyond PERS. This is good news since most people want to live at home in their later years. The majority of American adults worry as much about losing independence as they do about losing memory as they get older, according to a 2013 AP-NORC Center survey.
Monitoring packages are already available that place motion sensors in the home to alert a family member if there is too little activity, for example. “Smart” pill bottles can remind you to take your medication. And other gadgets can wirelessly send information like blood pressure, blood glucose or temperature readings to care providers.
In the future, it may be possible to detect changes in activity, pulse rate or breathing patterns that could predict problems before they happen. But before we go too far into the Twilight Zone, it’s good to know that there are some real down-to-earth home solutions that you might find useful right now. These include, for example:
- Fall prevention technologies, such as bed and chair alarms
- Unattended stove shut-off systems
- Systems to detect persons entering or leaving the home
- Personal GPS devices for wander management
Talk to your doctor or other health care provider about any assistance you need to feel safe and comfortable at home. Medicare generally does not pay for home monitoring except when it’s provided under covered home health care services. But it may be worth investing in a little peace of mind.
–This information was provided by Medicare Made Clear