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How surveillance technology is keeping the elderly safer

Privacy concerns around Australia are being raised concerning surveillance technology but this tech allows older people to stay in their own homes for longer.

According to a recent report, surveillance technology has made it possible for a primary carer to look after her 87-year old mother despite living in a different state.

The technology allows the carer to keep track of her mother’s activities, whether it is opening her container of epilepsy medication or if she had not left the lounge room for a while.

The technology that allows for this virtual eye to watch over the elderly includes a hub and small motion sensors installed in the elderly’s unit in southern New South Wales.

Even if the carer lives 300 kilometres away, she is able to look any time and check how her mother is doing.

The carer, who resides in Melbourne, uses an app to find out where motion is happening in her mother’s unit.

The set up does not act as a camera nor generates an image. Instead, it indicates where an activity is occurring,

If the elderly decides to spend quite some time in a room but meets an accident such as falling, then an alert is sent to the carer.

The family decided to trial the new system when the original primary carer had to move overseas and they had the difficult choice of letting the elderly stay at home instead of going into a nursing home, where she might deteriorate.

Add to that concern is the fact that the elderly had epilepsy, which required taking medication at regular times each day.

The new system draws on burglar alarm technology and includes a hub, with an alert to remind the elderly to take her medication.

Sensors on the medication drawer let the carer know when her mother has accessed it.

Initial worries included how their mother might feel like she’s being watched all the time, especially with the sensors.

But the sensors are very unobtrusive that the she does not even realise they are there to begin with.

Neither the carer nor her mother had any privacy concerns with the system.

A University of Melbourne biomedical informatics researcher said that there were other products making their way into aged care, including other in-home hubs, wearables and 3D fall-detection sensors.

These products may essentially look like cameras, but they are not.

The idea of the system is that the algorithm would detect that and send an alert should a patient look like they are deteriorating and may fall or they actually do have a fall.

The new products would not replace jobs but would ease the existing pressure on aged care providers.

Moreover, these products could have a real impact on the industry as this will change and give people more choices.

Recent reports on how some aged care facilities lack of care in them made people look for other alternatives.

It has been observed that people are much better if they are kept in their own homes. It has given a positive effect on their self-esteem and their ability to operate as an independent person.

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