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Connected Healthcare Solutions to Help Aging Parents Live More Safely and Independently

“For seniors with multiple health problems, medications, and therapies, [connected healthcare] offers a new way to proactively coordinate care that can reduce frustration from trying to coordinate multiple specialists and referral services,” explains Diane Feeney Mahoney, PhD, RN, FAAN, Jacque Mohr Geriatric Nursing Research Professor and director of Gerontechnology R&D at the MGH Institute of Health Professions School of Nursing.

If you’re looking for different options to help with caring for an aging parent or even thinking about your own future care, here’s a run-down of connected healthcare solutions:

Apps

There are lots of apps that send reminders and alarms that help with physical therapy, check-ins, mobility, and medication management. Some even connect to other devices in the home, like a scale or blood pressure monitor. And don’t overlook apps that help with basic tasks that provide quality of life, like ride-sharing or food, grocery, and medication delivery.

Wearables

Medical alert systems can provide a connection to help when your parent is scared or not feeling well and can provide them quick access to assistance in an emergency. Advanced devices, like the Philips Lifeline with AutoAlert, use barometric sensors and accelerometers to detect falls and automatically dial a call center if a fall is detected, whether your parent presses the alert button or not.

Home Healthcare Monitoring

Home healthcare monitoring technology enables safer independent living. Connected healthcare solutions like the Philips CareSensus combine discreet motion and open/closed sensors, algorithms, and predictive analytics with a tablet-based communication system to monitor, safeguard, and interact with your parent.

Medication Reminders & Dispensers

Prescription bottles that detect openings and amount of medication remaining, wearables that track systemic changes of medication, and medication with tiny sensors to indicate ingestion are all in the offing. But you don’t need to wait to safeguard your parent. Connected healthcare devices like Philips Medication Dispensing help you by reminding your aging parent to dispense their pre-sorted medications at pre-scheduled times. 

The Cloud

The future of connected healthcare is in the cloud, where devices can be linked and information shared from any location at anytime. For example, the Philips Digital Health Suite connects devices, apps, and other digital tools to help caregivers and healthcare professionals deliver more targeted and continuous care.

Combining connected healthcare solutions like these with predictive analytics “opens the door to avoiding future catastrophic events like falls and heart attacks,” says Paul Adams, senior director of product management for Philips Lifeline. “We’re aiming for a suite of tools that work alongside the senior, the caregiver, and the clinician.”

Mahoney agrees. “Each upcoming decade of seniors will have more technology experience and openness to new applications. The future potential is great!”

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