The claim from makers of the next generation of senior monitoring devices is that they will enable seniors to stay in their homes longer, living independently and feeling safer, knowing that they are being watched over, if only initially by a machine.
At the same time, their adult children’s lives are less disrupted. As long as Mom and Dad’s daily behavior falls within the tolerances of the algorithms that the monitoring devices have learned, everything is okay. They don’t have to call five times a day to check up on them.
Emerging sensor and connectivity technology has made possible the development of a new generation of monitoring systems that don’t require the person being monitored (the resident) to wear a device. Instead, networks of sensors within the home connect to a cloud-based algorithm that learns the daily living patterns of the resident. The algorithm recognizes if there is a deviation that may require sending an alert to a smart phone or social media app so someone can take action, or at least pay closer attention.
The behavior patterns that Internet of Things (IoT) monitoring systems are able to detect and learn include these activities:
- location of the resident within the home
- light sources being used
- bed time and awakening time
- television watching
- bathroom usage
- leaving the home and returning
- heating or air conditioning temperature and adjustments
As you can see, all of these depend on either motion or an electric appliance or source being utilized, which pretty much encapsulates everyone’s home life.
Is this the technology system we’ve been awaiting? Is the Internet of Things ushering in a new era of safety, security and independence that will allow seniors to age in place longer? Surely anything that can reduce the astronomical number of human caregivers that would be needed over the next few decades to care for the exploding elderly demographic is welcome. Let’s hope the Internet of Things begins to provide the solutions we need.