Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer
Home Health Monitoring
The social aspect of a long-distance caregiving
relationship is very important, but for the
senior population, just as vital as their
medical care. Technological advances are
offering caregivers a way to keep abreast of
their loved oneís medical status from miles
away. In the past few years, the number of
products on the market has exploded, and because
the technology is more common, the cost has
Livestrong.com divides the home health
products into three categories. The first is
vital signs monitoring devices. A tabletop
monitor can be used with either a land-line
phone, or cable Internet connection, and
measures vitals such as temperature, pulse,
blood sugar, weight, EKG, etc. The device even
alerts a loved one to the need to perform a
daily vitals check.
Once the data is collected, it is
electronically submitted to a center staffed
with medical personnel, and a summary is posted
on a private Web site, which caregivers have
access to. When a cause for concern arises, the
appropriate action is taken, from scheduling a
physicianís appointment to calling for immediate
assistance. The vitalsí monitors are not
available for sale to the public yet, but
available through home health agencies, clinics
The second category includes mobile vital
sign monitors. These are established through a
cell phone and monitor mainly heart function.
The user wears a watch or other small device,
which tracks heart rate and records the
information just as with the home monitors.
These monitors are not new to the market, but
the ability to connect to a service center,
which tracks the information, is.
The third category the Web site lists is
reminder technologies. Most of these are for
medication-taking. Whether the tool is a
vibrating watch, timer, electronic pill
dispenser, the options are plenty. Computerized
pill bottles even track consumption, to protect
from overdose and also alert a caregiver when
supplies are low.
Whether for a loved one at home, or on the
go, technology is available to keep an eye open
for the long-distance caregiver. Just as every
person is different, every loved one has unique
health monitoring needs. Research the options,
and design a system that works best.
Research in Full Swing
The University of Miamiís Center on Aging is
developing solutions to facilitate even more
advanced technology. CREATE, the Center for
Research and Education on Aging and Technology
Enhancement, is a multi-site center involving
the University of Miami, Georgia Institute of
Technology, the University of Pittsburgh, and
Florida State University.
The centerís goal is to help older people
adapt successfully to the information age and
ensure that they receive the maximum benefits
from existing and emerging technologies.