IoT: Improving Elder Care & Independence

November 14, 2019

IoT is allowing senior citizens to keep their independence and reduce healthcare costs.

IoT Wearables for Senior Citizens

Sensors in wearables, such as jewelry, watches or belts, can monitor health factors such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, activity rate, blood glucose, sleep patterns, physical activity and more. Through IoT, any irregularities can be automatically messaged to healthcare providers for review. If one of these factors rise or drop to dangerous levels, an automated call can be made to emergency services.

IoT connected devices can sound alerts to remind the wearer to take medication. Sensors can detect if medicine was taken and alert again if the wearer has forgotten. An automated message can be sent to caregivers if medicines are consistently missed. Medication can be automatically ordered when supplies are low. Sensors can also measure gait or unsteadiness to predict falls and alert the wearer to pause and steady themselves.

Smarter Housing for Seniors

IoT enabled smart homes can be equipped with automated lights, showers, speakers, heating and cooling, windows and cooking elements. These innovations prevent the need for residents to bend over or reach to turn something on or off, potentially preventing falls. Sensors can monitor water temperature in sinks and showers to prevent scalding. Ovens and microwaves connected through IoT can cook food automatically when a barcode specifying instructions is scanned. This makes food preparation easy and safe.

For family members, IoT can keep relatives connected through video or text chat. Family members can also check on their relative’s health via the cloud or get text updates on activities such as walking, sleeping or bathing. This helps family members know their relatives are safe and improves peace of mind.

IoT Benefits for Nursing Homes & Independent Living

Health monitoring benefits from IoT can help nursing homes provide better care for their residents. Sensors can detect soiled clothes and alert caregivers. GPS can also track residents and send alerts if someone wanders from the grounds.

IoT can reduce healthcare costs for both nursing homes and independent living elders through remote monitoring and preventative care. In independent living, tests can be done at home and results sent automatically to doctors, improving efficiency and removing the need for costly office visits.

Companion robots can improve loneliness and help meet the demand for caregivers. These robots prompt users to take their medications or guide them through physical activity. They can carry on conversations or provide cognitive games. They can make phone calls or display pictures or videos of loved ones. These functions provide emotional and mental benefits for elders living alone.

IoT allows for preventative measures to reduce falls and accidents and improve overall wellbeing. These efforts reduce healthcare costs and improve the ability of elders to maintain independent living. The future of elderly care can be greatly improved by IoT.