By Emily Curtis, Staff Writer
are developed for emergencies. These devices can be worn either
as a bracelet or necklace while others are a box attached to a
telephone with a speaker system. These systems provide peace of
mind to long-distance caregivers because the monitoring station
can be alerted with the push of a button.
these devices are now wireless, thereby limiting the number of
connections that need to be made in order to install the device.
Even if they must be hooked up to a phone line, they will not
interfere with normal functioning of the phone. In the event
that the system is activated, a two-way voice communication is
activated so that the monitoring company can talk to someone who
may have fallen or is not able to get to the telephone.
One PERS in
this category is Main Street Monitoring through Home Technology
Systems (www.hometechsystems.com). This system offers wireless
transmitter buttons worn by the person either around the neck or
on the wrist. A two-way communication system links into the
phone and can open a dialogue between the monitoring station and
the individual when it is activated.
There are PERS that will give reminders about when medicine is due.
“Medication buddies” can help those who have difficulty
remembering when to take medicine. Some systems, like American
Medical Alert (www.amac.com) can organize and dispense
medication at the appropriate time. Others may display a
reminder and beep to notify the person so they can take
a study published in PubMed (1999, Abstract indexed for
Medline), a variety of methods, including “pre-poured pillboxes,
automatic dispensers with voice-activated message, and regular
or video-telephone call reminders have been useful for enhancing
medication compliance.” In addition, the study noted that
advances in technology can reduce hospital admissions and costly
errors in medication management.
Activities of Daily Living
What if a
caregiver needs more information from the patient than the
patient is capable of providing? The Quiet Care System (www.quietcaresystems.com),
for example, uses small motion detectors throughout the home to
provide insight into how the person is functioning in their own
Some of the
areas that can be monitored include wakeup and bedtimes,
bathroom times, activity in the home, meals, and medication
usage. No cameras are installed and patient privacy is
protected. Family members and geriatric providers can receive
information as needed or at regular intervals through phone
calls, emails, or logging into a secure website.
Disease and other dementia related disorders cause a high level
of concern, even for the at-home caregiver. There are monitoring
devices that notify the family as soon as the person has
wandered past a specific point. HomeFree at Home (www.homefreesys.com)
offers a home-based system that is easy to use and unobtrusive
in its monitoring.
wears a monitoring device on their wrist, similar to a watch.
Caregivers can customize the range to allow flexibility while
limiting the distance someone can travel from the monitoring
device. Alerts can be given visually or audibly. Pager alarms
are also an option if the caregiver is not near the monitoring
system at the time of the event.