Have we arrived at another, multi-functioning generation of telecare?

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Onkol.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /] Profiled in Reuters in an article on home monitoring for older adults is a desktop-sized, sleekly telecare unit called OnKöl (that’s On Call for those who wonder what an umlaut is doing there) for the home market. Debuting back in January at International CES, it monitors activity in an area of the home (that green eye looks like a vintage radio DuMont Magic Eye tuner) and is extended through home monitoring sensors such as bed, door and window. Like Lively, it also has an in-home wrist/pendant emergency alert device and is self-installed. But what’s new about it is its telehealth side–connecting via Bluetooth and USB cable to typical medical monitors such as weight scales, blood glucose and pressure, as well as a med reminder setup. These seem to be brand-agnostic. A unique safety feature is a caller ID recorder for tracking calls. Activity and health information are stored, with alerts going to designated family members. According to the article, the founder designed it for monitoring his mother recovering from colon cancer. The Milwaukee-based company is financed through Series A (Capital Midwest Fund, $2.8 million), moving towards Series B, and OnKöl will be in market early next year. What is not apparent (more…)

The traditional PERS as ‘ancient history’

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Fallen-woman.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Something to think about. How many families and older adults are aware that the traditional PERS emergency pendant, which has been around for at least 40 years, is sadly outdated and in fact inadequate for those at greatest risk? While major advertisers on US media such as Life Alert, Life Call, ADT and Philips Lifeline present crisis situations where the older person is on the floor and is rescued after pressing the pendant button, they barely advertise their other available products that incorporate passive fall detection and cellular, even if somewhat inadequate for soft falls or unconsciousness. Families unwisely feel ‘protected’ when paying for traditional PERS, not realizing that more advanced technology is readily available and not that much more expensive. Moreover, and only mentioned in the context of his grandmother’s fall while in senior housing, there is a distinct recalcitrance of senior housing executives to rid their apartments of the (cheap) old pendants and replace them with (pricier) passive/cellular assistance systems, much less more advanced wearables/RFID systems or mobile/watch combinations. This Editor also notes that the major drugstore chains also sell PERS; while they trumpet wellness in their advertising, they are as behind the curve in this area as senior housing. Neil Versel in MedCityNews.

For our Readers: can we compare/contrast how the UK, EU and US are still wedded to traditional PERS after 40 years, and if more advanced forms are starting to take hold? Click on the headline to see comments, including this Editor’s opining on traditional PERS as ‘cash cow’.