Remote monitoring keeps tabs on care for seniors living alone


Technological advances in remote monitoring, formerly called telemonitoring, have advanced to help seniors age-in longer and helps keep tabs on post-op patients. It ultimately could cut down on hospital admissions and emergency care.

Before remote monitoring systems, loved ones would have to call their parents several times a day to make sure they were OK. Now, technology enables family members to have a peace of mind by verifying that their loved ones are properly taking medications, eating at regular intervals and returning home safely after excursions. It also monitors sleep habits, bathroom use, body temperature and whether seniors are entering and leaving the house.

In the systems, sensors are placed around the house that detect habits and behaviors. A sensor could be positioned by the bathroom to detect potential slips or falls or placed by the senior’s medications to ensure that the proper dose is taken at the proper time. Sensors can detect motion or sound, record sound or video, and track object contact, among other functions.

In-home sensors often are combined with wearable sensors that can alert emergency services for immediate care. The caregiver most often will be notified first followed by emergency services if there is no response. Telehealth strategies might be especially effective for seniors with chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, heart failure and COPD.

According to a recent study, remote monitoring technology is able to improve patient engagement and empowerment, bring about reliable and correct data, and enhance patient health outcomes.

This technology could be used by both the family of elderly patients and the doctors who treat them. Remote monitoring also gives seniors a peace of mind in their homes, with the assurance that someone will be alerted in the case of an emergency.

These developments are welcome and timely, considering the rapid aging of the population.