Advancing Technology, Advancing Quality of Life
By Geoff Gross, Medical Guardian and Philadelphia Chapter member
Years ago, it wasn’t unusual to see a commercial for medical alert devices featuring an older adult lying on the ground in need of urgent rescue. This portrayal went on far too long. It is a myth that this population continues to disrupt and disprove year after year, with new research even showing that today’s older American is often more active than the average teen. Millions live alone throughout the U.S. and the majority of retirees plan to stay in their homes as they age – a clear indicator that this population feels confident when it comes to aging in place.
Of course, while more Americans are choosing to stay in their own homes as they age, accidents aren’t always avoidable. Modern medical alert systems can help make it possible to comfortably age in place for longer than previous generations did. We must focus on empowering older adults to live a life without limits, while having access to immediate care if and when an emergency arises.
Personal Emergency Response Systems, or PERS, have gone through some changes. The traditional devices associated with an outdated perception of older Americans are no longer compatible with user needs and serve more as a bulky nuisance than as a reliable safety system. To create systems that are truly beneficial to this mature audience, PERS providers strive to tailor product and service offerings to meet the real needs of this population – even looking beyond healthcare for inspiration.
For example, when news of the Internet of Things (IoT) first began taking over headlines in every major tech publication, we knew state-of-the-art IoT and data collection capabilities would revolutionize healthcare. With the help of our partners, we introduced the Family Guardian, an in-home system that offers comprehensive activity monitoring. Three safety sensors placed throughout an older adult’s home —at the main door, in the bathroom and kitchen—monitor the motions and activities of the user, providing caregivers with real-time updates on their loved one’s activity level and environment. This unassuming yet life-saving system empowers the user to live their life as they always have, with the quiet assurance that if they need attention, they will get it.
The IoT-based system allows us to collect this data to offer a comprehensive daily activity index. Caregivers then have the option to receive notifications based on certain activities or if an environment becomes hazardous – offering insight into a loved one’s activity levels while empowering them to continue living independently. Partnered with the device’s mobile application, the system has the ability to provide multiple layers of protection and communication.
The PERS market is no different from every other industry – as professionals, we evolve our offerings to meet the changing needs of users. Development of the Family Guardian and Family Guardian app is an example of how providers can utilize new technology to reimagine traditional systems and create sleek devices compatible with the modern older American’s lifestyle.
Utilizing advanced technologies to create new and improved medical alert systems gives us the chance to enhance the quality of life at home.
Geoff Gross is founder and CEO of Medical Guardian. Founded in 2005, Medical Guardian is a leading provider of innovative medical alert systems that empower people to live a life without limits.