There’s a small, but growing trend in senior caregiving, the use of remote video cameras and other electronic monitoring equipment. Here is how it works:
George, an 86-year old man that is getting forgetful and frail, lives alone in his house. His daughter is concerned, because she can’t visit him as much as she’d like. To help monitor his safety, she either installs or has a company install basic, low-cost remote video cameras in his living room and kitchen, then wires them to a computer. Remotely, from her own home, she is then able to log onto her own personal computer and see through the cameras inside her father’s house. She is able to see whether he’s napping in the chair, whether he’s eaten breakfast, etc. If something is out of the norm, she knows to call or visit.
The equipment is inexpensive compared to the caregiver’s peace of mind and elder’s improved safety. Businesses that specialize in helping people do this, if you can find them, will increase the initial and ongoing cost; but if doing so postpones admission to an assisted living facility, the cost pays for itself many, many times over, and George gets to stay in his home.
One small, Maine business that is helping elders and caregivers with this task, Elder Power, was recently featured in a regional newspaper discussing their business model. Elder Power not only installs the equipment, but they also help monitor. Having a business monitor the home of your loved one naturally causes some privacy and safety concerns, but they are no more than the concerns people have when placing a loved one in a facility under the care of others. Such a business model is yet untested on a long-term basis, but given the rapidly growing need for eldercare services, and elders’ overwhelming interest to age-in-place, the potential is huge.