Sensor Monitors Seniors and Aids in Care

If help is needed, aging parents' movements can be tracked

seniors-smiling-couple
(Image: Thinkstock)

Technology is stepping in to lend a helping hand to adult children taking care of their aging parents.

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Lively–stylized as Live!y–is featured in a video from The Associated Press. The emergency response system uses a series of sensors to monitor things such as the openings of pill bottles, the refrigerator, a stove or even the bathroom door, and tracks instances in data that can be accessed through a smartphone app.

That information then allows a third party–theoretically a senior’s children–to monitor their parent’s movements. If something seems amiss, the children can place a phone call or pay a visit to their parents to make sure they are OK.

The motion sensors are a great way to keep up with seniors who live in their homes, according to Lively co-founder David Glickman, though the devices do bring up some privacy issues. But according to CBS News, Dr. Christine Ritchie–a geriatrics professor at the University of California, San Francisco–believes the idea will integrate into regular use as more people use smart items such as exercise monitors and other gadgets.

“Many of my older patients would be totally unenthusiastic about having anyone monitor any part of their life,” Ritchie told CBS News. “But some would be grateful for the prospect of continuing to live in their own home, rather than an institution where they have less control.”

Indeed, the device is touted as a way to help the elderly live independently for a longer period of time before they may face the possibility of having to move in with children or to an assisted-living home. And the sensor is part of an ever-growing collection of tech tools that could change the way seniors live in the future and interact with technology beyond social media.