It’s no surprise that most seniors (96 percent) want to live meaningful lives at home, and that nearly 8 out of 10 adult caregivers in the U.S. worry about the health and safety of a parent or grandparent living alone.
Luckily, Philips Lifeline has a lot of great technology to make being a caregiver easier. “Our parents want to live independently and well at home for as long as possible, but we carry a burden of worrying about what’s happening with them,” says Kimberly O’Loughlin, senior vice president and general manager of Home Monitoring at Philips, who’s also a long-distance caregiver. “These solutions help our parents live with more independence and dignity. And they help us feel less stressed, make fewer trips to check on our parents, and reduce worry over costs related to trips to the hospital, long hospital stays and assisted living or home care.”
Medical Alert Systems to Fit Every Situation
According to American Broadband Households and Their Technologies, a report from Parks Associates, caregivers’ top two concerns are seniors falling and not getting up, followed by their getting hurt doing daily activities. “Being 3,000 miles away from my dad, I was often worried. What if he fell? What if he got locked out? What if he passed out or had a heart attack?” says TV host and caregiver advocate Leeza Gibbons, who gave her dad a Lifeline medical alert device as a gift. “I know now that help is on the way 24/7 no matter what.”
Lifeline with AutoAlert fall detection can detect 95 percent of falls1 and alerts the Response Center even if the senior can’t or forgets to press the button.2 And you can choose the system that best meets your parents’ needs – and your concerns:
- HomeSafe with AutoAlert: This base unit and wearable, waterproof pendant enables seniors to move freely in and around their residences. They can press the button on the Communicator or their wearable to connect directly with trained associates at our Lifeline Response Center, and the system includes our exclusive AutoAlert automatic fall detection. HomeSafe is also available in a standard configuration without automatic fall detection (as a pendant or wristband).
- GoSafe: Designed for on-the-go seniors or those with may wander, the solution features 6 state-of-the-art locating technologies.3 “Dad likes to fish, and now he can be alone in his boat on the lake knowing that if anything were to happen, his GoSafe system would provide his location to Philips and help would be coming,” Gibbons says. That gives father and daughter significant peace of mind. GoSafe also features AutoAlert fall detection and is served by the AT&T wireless network.
Minding Medication Management
Another top concern of caregivers is medication management. Not getting medications right has serious implications, says Andrew Duxbury, professor of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. “Medical problems can become worse, providers can misinterpret what's going on and add even more medications to the stew, and side effects can be mistaken for new disease,” he says. “The worst thing that can happen, of course, is death, especially from medications that must be carefully monitored such as warfarin — a blood thinner.”
When reminded by Philips Medication Dispensing Service, seniors dispense their medication on time 98.26% of the time, and reduce ER visits by 53 percent.4 This technology can dramatically reduce your concerns about your family member taking medication correctly, as well as lessen worries about potential medical expenses.
Other Emerging Technologies to Help Caregivers
Philips is continuing to innovate, identifying new solutions to empower caregivers and seniors. CareSensus combines three technologies to increase home safety, inform healthcare providers with valuable information, and provide you the highest peace of mind. Connected, discreet motion and open/closed sensors strategically placed in the home (does not involve cameras) provide constant monitoring of your parent. Algorithms and predictive analytics evaluate subtle changes and anomalies in normal activities and behaviors, and send early warnings of potential problems for healthcare providers. A tablet-based communication system enables immediate two-way video engagement with caregivers and health professionals.
Philips is also working on further innovations to make caregiving easier for adult children and independent living easier for their parents. The Philips Digital Health Suite is a cloud-enabled ecosystem for consumers, caregivers, and patients that links devices, apps, and other digital tools to empower personalized health and continuous care and make caring for your elderly parent easier.
This National Caregiver Month, Philips Lifeline has a special offer to help you take care of your loved one and yourself. Learn more.
1 Based on the number of undetected falls that have been reported to Philips Lifeline by U.S. AutoAlert subscribers for the period from January 2012 through July 2012. Undetectable falls can include a gradual slide from a seated position – such as from a wheelchair, which may not register as a fall.
2 AutoAlert does not detect 100% of falls. If able, the user should always push their button when they need help.
3 Philips Lifeline wireless communicators connect to the Philips Lifeline Response Center using the AT&T wireless network.
4 Journal of Gerontological Nursing, July 2004