Healthcare Technology Featured Article

June 25, 2012

Technology Gives the Elderly More Independence and Security



As baby boomers head into retirement, many of their children will grapple with questions about living arrangements and healthcare for seniors. New technology for seniors like the Nurse Alert pendant may allow senior citizens to maintain their independence for a longer period of time.

The Nurse Alert pendant utilizes two distinct buttons. One button connects seniors to a 24-hour emergency monitoring center where seniors can obtain emergency healthcare. The other connects them to a Nurse Triage Call Center that can answer their less pressing health questions, such as questions about medications or questions about their chronic health conditions.

Nurse Alert’s triage center is staffed with licensed nurses. If they receive a call that warrants emergency attention, then they will dispatch emergency services to the senior citizen’s house and alert family members to the potential emergency. Otherwise, they will access the subscriber’s medical records and use the information to answer questions or to make a diagnosis.

“Nurse Alert gives seniors the opportunity to live a quality life in the comfort of their own homes without constant health-related supervision,” said Nurse Alert co-owner Chuck Kienzel.

In addition to devices like Nurse Alert, robotics technology is expanding to include assistance for seniors. From a Japanese robotic seal that comforts dementia patients to a washing tunnel geared to provide patients with more efficient baths, the world of technology is developing solutions to help seniors live more comfortably.

Japanese firm Cyberdyne is creating an “exoskeleton suit” that may help patients walk more easily. Additionally, Panasonic plans to test a bed containing a built-in wheelchair.

Even the world of mobile has caught on to the need to service elderly customers. The Doro Android phone is specifically designed for senior citizens, featuring a large touchpad, loud volume and a simple interface.

Apps for Android phones, including Safety NET and Rescue Me!, can report falls or other emergency situations to emergency services personnel. Safety NET uses an accelerometer to detect falls, and Rescue Me! sends a text message at specific times of day that an elderly person has to deactivate in order to keep emergency personnel from arriving on their doorstep.

Devices and apps for the elderly will help children and caregivers to cope with an aging population. Senior citizens can also keep their independence for a longer period by making use of increasingly available technology.


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Edited by Braden Becker




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