Senior Related Technology Makes Sense, If It’s Used
After fifteen years of working with seniors, their families, and their Circle of Care, it is obvious that each and every one of the seniors, those recovering from an injury or illness or those with disabilities, are very different from each other. So why are we told that “one size fits all”? An emergency pendant will not work if it’s left in the drawer. A fall detection pendant will not work if it’s sitting on the counter. A medication dispenser will be worthless if it is not filled properly or compliance is non-existent. A Mobile Emergency Alert FOB won’t help emergency crews or family find someone who leaves it in the car. Weight scales, blood pressure cuffs, glucose meters and pulse ox meters are wonderful tools if they are actually used. Compliance is a serious issue and the World Health Organization has determined that adherence to therapy for chronic illnesses is about 50% in developed countries. Sabaté, E., & World Health Organization. (2003). Adherence to long-term therapies: Evidence for action. Geneva: World Health Organization.
What can we do about non-compliance? Educate, Evaluate, Eliminate.
Education can be achieved through a thoughtful in-home assessment that includes a holistic approach to the person’s life. Evaluating nutrition is a huge factor so we must ask about eating habits. How often do they reach into the refrigerator for healthy snacks instead of ordering in fast food? How often is the refrigerator cleaned out and expired food Eliminated? If base-lines are understood through the assessment, a simple door sensor can be placed on the refrigerator so the Circle of Care knows if their loved-one tried to eat or not. The in-home assessment can determine education needed about throw-rugs, electric cords, extra furniture and other fall hazards. Evaluation of how each piece of furniture is used and if some can be eliminated. Education about lighting throughout the living space can lead to the evaluation of bathroom habits. Additional lighting can illuminate pathways to the bathroom at night, which can lead to the elimination of falls. Education about bathroom habits leads to evaluating how hydration plays an important role in eliminating Urinary Tract Infections (UTI), which can be a result of dehydration. The person may be afraid to drink more because they don’t want to fall on the way to the bathroom at night because it is dark. If bathroom baselines are understood, a simple motion sensor can be placed in the bathroom to notify the Circle of Care if their loved one visited the bathroom more than normal. Do they have food poisoning, a UTI? Education about the need for daily weight readings with a CHF patient leads to evaluating fluid retention, a critical indicator of deteriorating health. A weight scale connected to a central hub that can alert the Circle of Care about threshold breaches can eliminate ER visits and potential hospitalizations or re-admits. Each example can lead to uncovering what each individual actually needs in the home. Digging in can open the door to additional exploration to get to the root issues and increase compliance.
To find out more about understanding the needs of a loved one, visit https://www.behomesafe.net or call 414.253.2883.