Medical Minute 4-13: Smart Home: Safe Seniors

By: Casey Taylor Email
By: Casey Taylor Email

Nothing slows Josie and Bernie Shankman down.

"We usually ride every Saturday to a different place. I've never been afraid a day riding with him. I got on it the first day, and I've never been afraid," the couple said.

Although she's not scared on the road, Josie worries a fall at home will put the breaks on life.

"I think that's always on your mind. If you were to fall and one or the other wasn't to be here," she said.

As we grow older, we also lose balance. One in three people over age 65 fall each year. 40% of nursing home admissions are because of a fall.

"Half of those will not return to their own homes and be able to live healthfully," said Debra Krotish, Ph.D.

But new technology is keeping a watchful eye on the elderly. This vibration detector can be placed on the surface of a floor to detect if a person has fallen and notify caregivers. These motion detectors track a person's movement.

"For example, if you put them by the bedside or the bathroom door, you know that Mom's gotten up in the middle of the night," said Debra Krotish, Ph.D., Assistant Director for Senior Smart.

And this piezo-electric material can be put underneath a mattress to read a person's heart rate and respiration.

There are also devices to monitor a person's health. This blood pressure cuff and scale sends data by bluetooth to an online system family members and caregivers can access.

91-year-old Helen Coplan still lives alone. She thinks the technology would be very useful.

"If anything can help a person stay in their own familiar surroundings, it's well worth it," said Helen Coplan.

Keeping seniors safe and giving peace of mind to loved ones.

For more information: Ivanhoe Broadcast News2745 W. Fairbanks Ave.Winter Park, FL 32789http://www.ivanhoe.comJulie Marks, Supervising Producer of Prescription: Healthjmarks@ivanhoe.comDirect Line: (407) 691-1500Viewer Line: (407) 740-0789 ext. 579

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