At-Home Technology Allows Seniors to Remain Independent

At-Home Technology Allows Seniors to Remain Independent

Most seniors would agree that one of their biggest concerns about growing older is the eventual loss of their independence. They worry that as they become unable to engage in certain activities of daily living, they will become a burden on loved ones or have to move into an expensive nursing home or assisted living facility. Fortunately, technological advances are offering seniors a variety of options to avoid unnecessary early institutionalization and allow them to stay in their homes if that is where they want to remain. A recent article on MSNBC.com examined these at-home monitoring systems and how they allow seniors to remain independent while providing families peace of mind.

Technology has come a long way since the days of devices which simply alerted someone that the wearer of the device had fallen and couldn't get up. At-home technology can now monitor senior citizens' movements and sleep and bathroom patterns. A senior's vital signs including blood pressure, pulse, weight and blood-oxygen levels can also be monitored at home. The information is sent to a medical provider who tracks it. If problems occur, then the patient can have a teleconference with a nurse or schedule an appointment with a physician. Some equipment can even be programmed to answer the telephone, turn off appliances that are inadvertently left on, and alert an individual to a fire or other emergency.

There are also products available that remind seniors to take their medications. These medication dispensing machines are programmed to hold a certain number of doses of medication per day. The machine will announce to the individual when it's time to take medications. Usually the individual is required to push some sort of button for the machine to dispense the allotted dosage of medication. If the button is not pushed within a certain amount of time of the reminder, then the device will typically alert a call center which will in turn notify the individual's caregiver. Additionally, some machines will move any medication not taken into a locked chamber to avoid an overdose. This is extremely helpful to those patients who are on a lot of medications or who have memory problems.

All of these at-home devices are designed to allow older individuals to remain in their homes with more oversight from loved ones or medical specialists. These products can monitor how well seniors are managing the chores of daily living and offer peace of mind to caregivers or family members. For example, through these devices, a son living in California can see how his mother is doing in Virginia. The ability to closely monitor a person's lifestyle can assists family members in knowing when an older individual can no longer remain at home. Seniors like having technology provide this extra layer of security so they can maintain their independence as well as their privacy. These products tend to be the most successful when they are tied to an agency that can dispatch meals, medical help, or other senior services. On average, these at-home monitoring systems cost around $150 to $250 per month.

If maintaining your independence and privacy for as long as possible is an important goal for you, then at-home monitoring devices may be an option for you. Oast & Hook now has a life care planner on staff who can assist clients with these issues as well as help coordinate care for clients who need assistance in their homes. The attorneys at Oast & Hook can assist clients with their estate, financial, long-term care, insurance, veterans' benefits, and special needs planning issues.

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Oast & Hook has been providing quality legal services in Southeastern Virginia and North Carolina for more than 80 years. The attorneys at Oast & Hook can assist clients with their estate, financial, insurance, long-term care, veterans' benefits and special needs planning issues. Visit their website at www.oasthook.com for more information.

Sandra Smith

Sandra L. Smith joined the firm in 2003. She practices primarily in the areas of elder law, estate planning, estate and trust administration, special needs planning, asset protection planning, long-term care planning and Veterans' benefits. Ms. Smith is certified as an Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by The National Elder Law Foundation (NELF).

In 2008, Ms. Smith was named as a Rising Star by Virginia Super Lawyers magazine. Rising Stars names the state's top up-and-coming attorneys.