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Checking in on my 96-year old grandmother

Written By: Jason Shafrin - May• 27•08

My grandmother is 96 years old and incredibly lives on her own.  My mother drops off packages of food she prepares for my grandmother and gets her mail, but my grandmother still does her laundry and gets herself ready in the morning. Bringing in some help for her or moving her to an assisted living facility are options, but my grandmother loves her home, sees herself as fiercely independent, and a change would be difficult for her at this age.

Lately, however, it has been getting tougher for my grandmother to live on her own, which is why a New York Times article on high-tech elderly monitoring systems caught my attention.  The article talks about how some sons and daughters have installed motion sensors and a remote monitoring systems to check up on their aging parents.

Sensors attached to the wall are able to register when Mrs. Trost [an elderly parent] gets out of bed and whether she stops at her medication dispenser, and to alert her daughters to any deviations from her routine that might indicate an accident or illness. The family is updated by electronic report every morning.

This technology not only is beneficial for the elderly individual (who gets to stay in their home), and for their family (who can more quickly check up on their loved ones), but can also saved costs by delaying the time when the elderly are moved to an assisted living facility.  Elderly concerns with privacy is a problem and people (like my grandmother) would likely resent the monitoring…at least at first.

Nevertheless, as people around the world continue to live longer, monitoring technology can help keep the elderly in their homes and out of assisted living facilities.

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  1. AnnR says:

    My sister is considering this with our aged Aunt.
    It offends me greatly.

    While high-tech monitoring might tell you whether the relative is flat-out on the floor or hasn’t opened her pill bottle, it is impersonal.

    I much prefer the idea of a daily phone call. If a relative is incapable of answering the phone then I’d suggest they have no business living unattended.