The number of seniors over 80 will increase by 50 % from 2007 till 2030. The socioeconomic challenges are significant. The future needs of manpower in welfare services are not possible to meet with today’s solutions. There is a great potential in using ICT to enable seniors to live independently and healthy for a longer period of time.
Most of us wish to live in our own homes for as long as possible, and research show that seniors who live at home, with their own familiar things and surroundings, stay healthier - both physically and mentally - than people of the same age living in retirement homes.
Need for safety
So why doesn’t every senior stay at home as long as they are physically and mentally fit to do so? The answer is very often a sense of lack of security. Their own, or their relatives’, fear of something happening to them, without anyone being around to help. It simply feels safer to be somewhere where there are people and nurses who can help you if anything happens, even if the price to pay is loss of personal independence and freedom.
New technology and new use of technology
A retirement home does not need to be the answer. Existing technology can offer the necessary safety to offer peace of mind both to the elderly resident herself and her relatives, without bringing the sense of being watched.
Sonitor Technologies’ USID technology is already used in hospitals to locate and track patients. The same technology can be used to identify the movements – or lack of movements - of the senior resident. As long as the movements and locations registered by the ultrasound Receivers are within the frames of what is defined as normal, the system is idle. If a situation not considered normal occurs, information – or an alert – can be automatically sent through standard communication networks to relatives or a home care or security call central.
Situations that would trigger an alarm would typically be:
- fall (resident by the floor for more than a certain amount of time)
- irregular movement pattern (leaving home at night, not getting out of the bedroom at the usual time etc.)
- lack of movement
- active alert (resident has pushed the alert button)
It is also possible to imagine that the movement information is combined with other security solutions in the home. An example is warning the resident if leaving his or her home while the stove is on, or leaving the bathroom with the faucet on.
With a robust and reliable home care solution offering a true feeling of safety, living home longer will be an easier choice - both for resident and relatives.