With the AARP’s findings that 75 percent of adults aged 50+ intend to stay in their own homes, a pressing concern for families and caregivers is how to maintain the delicate balance between independence and personal safety. Advancements in remote monitoring and personal emergency response systems (PERS) are making that possible. As a result, they’re changing the face of elder care and telehealth for seniors.
An excellent example of this next-gen thinking is WellAware Care, a remote caregiver for senior citizens. The company’s services include remote monitoring solutions for assisted living facilities as well as home-based senior care providers and individuals. In that line of work, there are several issues they have to be mindful of in order to offer their customers the best possible solutions.
One such issue is that one-quarter of elder Americans fall each year. Twenty percent of those falls require medical assistance as a result of severe physical injury, leading to a total annual cost of $67.5 billion for their treatment. On top of that, the vast majority of seniors’ falls take place at night when they’re groggy from sleep and the house is dark.
Unfortunately, the electronic wristbands and necklaces that have been used for fall detection since the 1980s are not always as effective as they need to be under these circumstances.
Innovating an effective, holistic remote monitoring solution
WellAware Care felt that modern remote monitoring offered an ideal way to address this problem. The company imagined a scenario where a senior might get out of bed late at night—a time when home-based senior care services would be expecting very little activity.
In WellAware Care’s scenario, carefully placed sensors would quickly detect the individual’s movement. They would then communicate instantly with other devices that would illuminate a path to the bathroom, the kitchen or down the hallway. Additional devices would monitor activity and trigger external alarms if the individual didn’t return to bed within a set period of time.
Along with being reliable, this system had to be versatile enough to work in any home-based environment. Beyond that, it had to provide remote monitoring services with enough detail to prevent false alarms and respond rapidly to actual emergencies.
Using off-the-shelf IoT products and consumer-grade smart home appliances, WellAware assembled the hardware for what would become its Sleep Sound solution. But one challenge remained: How could these disparate components be integrated into a single connected senior care solution with the necessary reliability and flexibility?
Robert Colantuoni, President of WellAware Care said, “We believe the growing evolution in wellness solutions will allow our aging population to live longer and safer in their homes, while also alleviating some of the burdens family caregiver experience.”
“We are really excited with the evolution of smart technology paired with Bridgera’s IoT platform. It removes the need to wear a watch or necklace, but more importantly, it will offer a more reliable solution, along with the benefit of a predictive care model based on each individual’s behavior and history.”
“The collected information provides insight as to why falls happen. Do the falls occur in the same room or do they occur at a certain time? Understanding the underlying causes provides insight for improved predictive care solutions and decisions.”
Bridgera: The unifying force behind custom IoT
That’s when they reached out to Bridgera. Working closely with WellAware Care on every aspect of their project, we built the custom technology platform that integrated the various components of Sleep Sound into a unified whole. Through Bridgera’s first-hand expertise in PERS and related healthcare applications, Sleep Sound was able to leverage the functionality of each discrete IoT device in combination with the others.
This made WellAware Care’s vision for its Sleep Sound solution into a reality—without requiring the company to invest massive amounts of resources in developing its own IoT platform.
With Sleep Sound powered by our cost-effective IoT solution, caregivers can now keep track of elders’ behavioral events in real time. They’re alerted immediately if there seems to be a need for intervention. At the same time, the Sleep Sound thermal cameras (as opposed to video feeds) maintain seniors’ privacy; its smart home integrations, such as automated lighting, foster safe self-sufficiency. Both parties enjoy peace of mind as well as a sense of freedom and independence.
As shown, the possibilities for home-based senior care and other remote monitoring use cases are infinite. In the future, PERS and telehealth for seniors could be integrated into Sleep Sound and similar solutions. That would augment emergency features like fall detection with daily quality-of-life improvements. For instance, Bridgera’s extendible IoT platform might be fused to provide caregivers with a real-time patient health dashboard that also integrates with whole-home smart functionality using popular off-the-shelf brands.
If you’re excited by the future of senior care and want to help shape it, get in touch with us today. Or simply request a demo of our powerful IoT platform. Together we can take remote monitoring and senior care services to the next level.