3 Health Monitoring Devices for the Home
Living alone with diabetes can be challenging, particularly for older adults. Family members may worry about their loved ones’ well-being during the hours that they can’t be around. Thankfully, for people who need consistent monitoring, there are home systems and other devices that can keep caregivers in the loop. The best choice depends on the lifestyle of the person with diabetes, says Bobbi Kolonay, RN, BSN, MS, CCM, certified holistic nurse, president of Options for Elder Care, and a member of the Aging Life Care Association.
During the home assessment, Kolonay says she evaluates the person and their environment. “Are they having problems with falling?” she says. “Are they not taking their insulin or oral medications correctly?”
Once she has the whole picture, she can make recommendations. “You’re going to see where each individual person is at and individualize what you’re going to do based on making that person as independent as possible, but still giving the adult children the peace of mind that their parent is safe,” she says.
Bluetooth Sensors – These little devices (about the size of a keychain) can be placed on pill boxes, the refrigerator door, a toilet seat, or anywhere daily activities take place. The device senses activity and sends data to a hub that tracks your patterns. Alerts are sent to the cell phone of a friend or family member. If the devices sense less activity than usual, the caregiver will be notified. The device can be programmed to notify your caregiver when your medication is supposed to be taken, and again when you take it.
Fall Detectors – These devices, which sense when a person has fallen, come in different forms, including watches, pendants, and shoe inserts. The device automatically sets the parameters for the person’s height, weight, and gait over a couple weeks, and then will send an alert to a contact if the device detects a fall, which can happen during a hypoglycemia event. The shoe inserts have a GPS monitoring feature, which alerts contacts if the wearer is outside of his or her normal area.
Monitoring Systems – There are also home and on-the-go subscription monitoring services available, such as Life Alert and Lifeline, which come with a panic button that’s worn around the neck. Press to alert a 24-7 helpline of an emergency. “All these monitoring devices have different [alert] levels,” says Kolonay. For instance, if your loved one falls, the first alert may go to a neighbor. The second alert may go to you or another family member, and the last alert will go to EMS.
Living a full, independent life with diabetes is manageable, but there are ways to make it easier. Check out these important safety tips and a list of smartphone apps that can give you peace of mind: