Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tech times at the Senior Citizen Home

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most in my own personal transition from a senior care provider (through the assisted living communities we owned and operated) to an online senior care skills trainer is getting first hand look at the range of technologies that can help us all live fuller, more independent lives as we grow older.

I was fascinated by a news alert that popped into my mailbox today about a new link to a weather satellite that the Hong Kong Observatory is making available to seniors to help them prepare for “extreme weather”. The news report indicated that 10% more seniors experienced health-related problems when the weather dropped below 12 C (that’s a frigid 54 degrees F) than at usual, balmy temperatures. The story indicated that this data was derived from the number of seniors who first used the Personal Emergency Link before going to the hospital.

With just a few minutes of research I discovered that this Link is an emergency call system available throughout the country designed to contact help in case of a physical or emotional crisis. I was hoping to read that it was state-sponsored, at no charge to elderly residents, but that appears not to be the case.

What is cool about this program is the fact that technology is being widely used, monitored, and responded to (by the government, apparently, as indicated in the news story about the weather information) in an effort to keep seniors healthy and independent.

How else can we apply emerging technologies to senior care, both in home and in care settings? Only our imagination – and our determination to live out long, healthy, independent lives – will answer that question.

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