July 5, 2007 4:00 AM PDT
Taking your meds? Sensors will know
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Other technologies already on the market include sensors stationed throughout the house, some of which work in conjunction with a PERS device.
Security company ADT, for example, offers three home health monitoring services. One is a PERS product called Companion Service. Another is a sensor-system set-up called QuietCare, and a third service combines both offerings.
QuietCare uses five to 10 sensors stationed throughout the home, located in such areas as near the bedroom door, bathroom door, refrigerator door and family room. The sensors transmit information to an ADT monitoring service, as well as an online account for the caregiver. Installation of the sensors costs $199, and the monitoring service costs $79.95 per month. An additional $100 is needed for the PERS system, and another $10 for that service.
Long distance eldercare
CNET News.com's Dawn Kawamoto reports on two tools that help caregivers monitor the elderly.
Webcams to monitor seniors inside their homes are also hitting the market. Last October, AT&T launched its Home Monitoring Service, which includes sensors and Webcams. And although the Webcams feature a privacy button, it can be overridden by the account holder.
"There needs to be a trust factor. If your mother pushes the privacy button, there needs to be some agreement you'll honor it, or agree to certain circumstances when you would override it," said Brad Bridges, AT&T assistant vice president of business development.
The Webcams are tied into motion-detector sensors, and provide a view into designated areas inside and outside the home. Alerts are sent to account holders if it detects movement, but the system currently does not send out alerts if it detects no activity.
The AT&T equipment is priced at $99. Any broadband service can be used by the caregiver and senior. The account holder, however, is required to have an AT&T wireless account.
The question, of course, is who will pay for this technology--insurance companies, the government, adult caregivers, or seniors on a fixed income?
"A lot of people think insurance companies should pay for it," Home Guardian's Kell said. "Right now, it's the consumer who pays for these types of systems."
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