Technology enabled elderly care systems comes in many familiar forms. Activity monitors, fall detectors, medicine dispensers and reminders are some that come to the mind immediately. However, as we know, there are no limits to innovation. And some innovators have taken a step beyond the traditional to come up with new approaches to ease the life of the elderly.
In Singapore, Maizal Care has teamed up with the 1.Care Employment Agency to provide a combination of caregiver and technology. The 1.Care Employment Agency provides caregivers who are trained in basic nursing skills and personalized elderly care at home. These caregivers use a remote monitoring system developed by Maizal Care which is used to measure vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and blood oxygen levels. The system also monitors the daily intake and output. All measurements taken by these devices are automatically uploaded to Maizal Care’s secured cloud storage.
Family members can use Maizal Care’s App to access the collected data. There are multiple views of the data available, including a summary for those who are not medical experts. Where necessary a detailed record of the data can be sent to a physician for further analysis. Besides this, alerts are also available in case if any health concerns are detected, or scheduled measurements are missed.
The intention here is to use technology to improve the trust in the caregivers and also provide a daily trend of vital signs. The availability of a historical record of the vital signs of the elderly is expected to provide a better insight into their health than a one-time measurement.
Traditional emergency medical alarms require a wearable or a wall mounted device where a button has to be pressed to request help. Created by a Singapore based company of the same name, Sound Eye does not have a button, but uses a motion sensor and a microphone to detect a potential emergency situation. The microphone analyzes the sounds it receives, and is capable of identifying sounds like screaming and prolonged crying. The motion detector is used to detect a long period of inactivity. In either of these cases it sends an alert to one or more predetermined family members. The alerts receivers can verify the alerts through a short audio clip and an image. In case an emergency situation is suspected, Sound eye provides a live video feed and a two way audio communication. If required a built in alarm can be activated.
The sound analysis system is based on advanced sound event classification technologies and has a low false alarm rate. Sound Eye runs on mains power and does not require batteries that need to be changed or charged. It requires a stable wifi to connect to the internet. Family members can download the App available for both the Android and iOS platforms, using which the device can be monitored and controlled.
Named after the giant in Greek mythology, who had 100 eyes, the Argus chair constantly monitors the surrounding environment and the human occupying it. The seat of the chair is made of a transparent acrylic and is mounted on slide rails. A microcomputer and the battery are installed under the seat and can be accessed by pull it back. Sensors built into the seat track body movement and the surrounding temperature. The body movement is used to measure heart rate, respiratory rate and stress levels. The microcomputer uses a WPAN network (such as Bluetooth) to connect to the LAN and then internet. All collected data is stored in cloud servers and analyzed there. The visualization can be accessed using a PC or a smart phone.
It is true that one solution does not fit everyone. Innovative solutions and products like these add to the available choices, giving the elderly the freedom to personalize their healthcare management.