Senior Care Products
Each day 54 year-old John Miller completes his morning routine by checking to see if his 78 year-old mother, Barbara, got out of bed safely and is ready for a cup of coffee. Before leaving for work he updates her day planner and reminds her to take a look at the new pictures and videos from his children. This scenario may sound like a fairly typical caregiving situation, but consider the fact that John lives with his family in Michigan while Barbara resides independently in Arizona and the picture changes dramatically.
It is a well-known fact that most seniors wish to remain independent at home for as long as possible. A 2007 “Aging in Place in America” research study commissioned by Clarity and The EAR Foundation reported that senior citizens fear nursing homes more than death. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 90 percent of Baby Boomers indicated they want to age at home. This trend is timely, because as the aging population explodes Americans are realizing there won’t be enough care facilities or professional staff to fully support their numbers—not without some technological assistance.
According to Elizabeth Vierck’s Fact Book on Aging, “Two-thirds of all men and women who have lived beyond the age of 65 in the entire history of the world are alive today.” This includes 45,000 Americans over the age of 100. According to the National Institute on Aging, Americans over the age of 85 are the fastest-growing segment of the population. Further complicating matters is the fact that the younger population is not large enough to provide the same level of care for the Boomers that the Boomers provided for their parents. In fact, the younger population will likely be responsible for caring for their living grandparents and aging parents while simultaneously caring for their own children. The burden may well become overwhelming to many families.
Some of us will remember the 1989 Lifecall commercials featuring a senior woman lying on the floor next to an overturned walker who cries out, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” Technology has come a long way since then. In addition to PERS (Personal Emergency Response Systems), available options include activity of daily living monitors, automated medication dispensers, communication/socialization portals and biometric measuring devices. Patients can proactively manage their own health while professional and family caregivers check in remotely to help maintain overall wellness. Some technologies are single-function tools, while others have multiple features.