Even if your elderly parent is still fairly active, keeping an eye on them will give you peace of mind about their safety. Monitoring elderly at home is becoming more and more usual these days.
Parents will usually be the last to accept that they need some help. So you’ll need to convince them of the importance of monitoring them. You can say it is for your own sake; you don’t want to keep worrying whether they are okay.
There are various ways to monitor an elderly person at home. They mostly involve gadgets, sensors and remote monitoring systems.
Being discreet and courteous
Before you turn to technology, make sure you are constantly checking in on them via phone or by visiting them. They might be more amiable to monitoring gadgets later on.
Keep a close eye and watch out for changes that necessitate closer monitoring. Perhaps they are getting weaker, are in the beginning stages of dementia or seem to be getting injured more often.
If you notice such changes, talk with them about turning to technological solutions. Make sure they understand why you are doing it and what exactly it will involve.
No one likes to feel like someone’s watching them all the time. So it’s important that you be discrete with your monitoring.
Choose gadgets and systems that can be installed out of sight and don’t interrupt your parents’ lives.
If they are not very comfortable with gadgets and devices, you can start with some low-tech monitoring. This works best if they are still fairly healthy and in a relatively good mental state.
Some ideas include labelling light switches, gadgets like remote controls and things like spices and teas. Use brightly coloured labels that are easy to read.
Things like automated night lights (both indoors and outdoors) and medication timers can also prove very helpful.
Discrete tech monitoring
Ultimately however, you’ll have to turn to tech monitoring especially if you need to keep an eye on them from wherever you are.
Today there are all sorts of gadgets and sensors that you can use to monitor the elderly at home. There are also dedicated monitoring systems that will alert you in case there’s a problem and can even contact emergency services.
But you can start with individual gadgets and devices including:
- A phone. There are specially designed mobile phones for seniors that are easy to use and provide a quick way to make an emergency call. They’ll have features like big buttons, a dedicated SOS emergency button and accessibility features such as talking numbers.
- Wearable sensors. These are usually worn around the wrist. They can detect a fall and monitor vital health information like heart beat and temperature. Some sensors are integrated into medical systems such that parent’s doctor can also keep an eye on their health.
- Sensors that can be attached onto doors, near the medicine cabinet and other crucial areas. These sensors can be used to monitor movement and activities like eating and taking medication.
Depending on your budget, you can combine these with monitoring systems. There are different types. Some use multiple sensors while others combine several devices like cameras and wearable sensors.
They’ll alert you via text or through an app when they detect something like a fall or inactivity.
Most of these monitoring systems require a monthly subscription so make sure you consider that in your budget.
Smart home solutions
In addition to monitoring your elderly parents, you’ll also probably need to control various aspects of their home.
They might forget to switch off the lights or even the stove and may sometimes leave the door open.
To make sure they are safe, consider installing smart home gadgets and systems.
For example, you could have smart lights that you can monitor and control from your phone. A smart door lock will tell you whether the door is open or closed. A smart fire alarm and detector will immediately alert you if smoke or carbon monoxide is detected.
Something else to consider is a smart speaker like Amazon Echo. This allows you to check in on them without having to call them. With a screened speaker like the Echo show, you can even video chat.
To choose the best way to monitor your elderly parents at home, consider their needs, privacy as well as your budget.
Choose non-invasive solutions that allow you to monitor them effectively without making them feel uncomfortable.