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Sensors Lead to Aging-in-Place Success

Research Shows Sensors Lead to Aging-in-Place Success

Aging in place with the help of in-home care is getting a major boost from technology, writes the Associated Press. From motion sensors to mattress monitors, home care is becoming more viable with the help of new gadgets.

Researchers at the University of Missouri are ramping up efforts to test some of the devices in the homes of seniors who are utilizing them to alert family members as to their activities—or lack thereof. Currently, they are being tested in a university-affiliated senior apartment complex as well as another local senior community.

The research has proven to foresee possible falls from two weeks to 10 days prior, the AP reports. 
‘‘We were blown away that we could actually detect this,’’ nursing professor Marilyn Rantz, an aging-in-place specialist who is leading the research, told the AP.

By monitoring heart rate and vital signs of sleeping subjects and then tracking their movement through the use of a camera technology most often used in video games, the team has been able to recognize when a person is at risk of falling, shortness of breath and infection.

But the presence of the devices can be a stop-point, the researchers found, with the level of obtrusiveness in a senior’s home being a considerable factor. The sensors must be embedded rather than worn, for example, Rantz told AP.

‘‘When we started this team, I said we are not going to make anybody wear anything or push any buttons, because my mother refused and I don’t think she’s any different than a lot of other people in this world,’’ Rantz said.

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