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Worried About Your Senior Parents Living In Their Home?

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Have you heard of the Sandwich Generation?  More than likely, you are a part of it!  The Sandwich Generation is comprised of adults aged 40-59 who have a living senior parent age 65 or older and are either raising a child under 18 or supporting a grown child.

If you’re a part of the Sandwich Generation, you know the tug of war you constantly feel between providing care for both your children and your aging senior parents.  Both look to you for care, emotional support, and likely financial support.

 

AARP found that…

nearly 90% of seniors over the age of 65 want to stay in their homes for as long as possible.

 

 

Even if your senior parents aren’t leaning on you for financial support, emotional support is essential for them.

Before my Mom passed, I moved her from her 4 bedroom home into a Senior Assisted living place at age 70.  She was one of the youngest people there, but I was glad to move her out of my childhood home, which was in constant need of repair.

My Mom isn’t the norm, she was willing to move out.  How about your senior parent/parents?  Are they still at home?

 

Aging Parent(s) Living at Home Concerns

I remember the one morning my Mom called me and told me that she got ready for her exercise class and drove to the senior center in her town to attend.  When she got there, there was no one there.  So she waited in her car.  She fell asleep and woke up the next morning.  

Apparently, she got her times confused and thought it was the morning when she drove there.  She had driven there in the early evening before the sun had set.  Yikes!  I had no idea this happened until she told me.  

My Mom never had any other stories like this one, but it set an alarm off in my mind that I needed to watch over her more closely.  The problem?  She lived 30 minutes away.

When this incident occurred, she was still in her late 60’s.  Isn’t this age too young for dementia?  Was she taking her medicines twice a day like she’s supposed to?  Was she making it home at night?  Was she eating enough?  I had no idea.  Calling her every day was not possible with my young kids and our busy schedules.  But even when I did, she would tell me what I wanted to hear.

So, in a nutshell, here are the top concerns about having a senior parent to live at home by her/himself:

  • Did they fall (and can they get back up themselves)
  • Did they get hurt and need help?
  • Are they taking their medications (and not overdosing)?
  • Are they getting out of bed?
  • If they left, did they return?
  • Did they remember to turn the stove/iron/etc. off?
  • Are they keeping up with taking care of themselves?
  • Are they paying their bills?
  • Are they lonely?
  • Are they eating enough?

If your senior parent insists on staying in his/her home, at what point do you bring in help to assist him/her?

 

Technology Gives Peace of Mind

As a woman in my 40’s, I can totally appreciate the desire to live in your own home as you age.  I’ve seen a number of nursing homes with people waiting for a long time for a nurse to come.  And after lunch is over in the dining room, I’ve seen seniors wait for a long time to be wheeled back into their room.  

Others are rolled into the hallways near the front exit to “talk” to one another or just see who comes through the front door to visit (usually other people).  Even the best nursing homes are really no place to spend your last years.

Aging in place, as it is often called, makes sense.  Who wouldn’t want to stay in their own home or apartment, be on their own time schedule, have more control over the food they eat, and not have to sell or give away all of their stuff to be able to move into a small studio?  And to afford an assisted living/nursing home, many seniors need to share a room!

Aging in place is near and dear to my heart.  Not only for the independence and integrity of my own in-laws (my parents have both passed) but truthfully, for my husband’s and my own sake down the road.

 

Home8

We recently tested the Home8 products for seniors.  Home8 is a home security system company which recognized the need to keep seniors living safely in their home.  They added panic buttons, fall detectors, activity sensors, medication tracking sensors, automatic medication dispensers, inactivity sensors, and geo-fencing sensors to their product offerings.

Home8 has one of the best offerings for seniors I have seen, without the need for a monthly cost.  We tried out a number of their senior offerings and will explain a little bit about each one to help you see the possibility of use with your own parent(s).

Cameras

Home8 has a number of camera options. Cameras are the ideal way to keep watch on your aging parent as well as the house itself.  Your parent (and you) can feel safer in his/her home with security cameras set up.

Twist HD Camera – we tested this camera.  It is a 2-way audio, night vision, motion and sound detection camera that you can actually turn 300 degrees around a room for an ultra-wide field of view.  With its flash drive card slot, you can add an SD mini card for 24/7 recording.

Mini Cube HD Camera – similar to the Twist HD but it doesn’t rotate via an app.

Mini Outdoor Full HD Camera – A waterproof, high-resolution, long-range, night vision, and wide dynamic range camera designed with a wide scope to capture activity outside the home.

 

Sensors

 

Home8 has a number of sensors that can give you notifications to help you know your parent is taking their medications and moving around the house.  They also have a wearable button that can be pressed in case your parent needs immediate help.

Activity Tracking Sensor & Tracking – apply this sensor to doors, refrigerators, walkers, and more to log your parent’s interaction with that item via the mobile app along with a visual confirmation from a Home8 camera.

Fall Detector – A pendant your parent wears that sends an immediate notification to you when it detects a fall.  Your parent can press and hold the emergency button to trigger an alarm.

Medication Adherence Reminder – a sensor you place on your parent’s pill box or medicine bottle that logs when the box or bottle was moved along with a visual confirmation from a Home8 camera to help you know that your parent is taking their medicine and when they are taking them.

Panic Button – can be worn around the neck and sends an immediate notification to you if your parent needs dire attention.

 

Medication Dispenser 

 

Home8’s Medication Dispenser gives you extra peace of mind that your parent is taking his/her medications at the right time each day, several times a day if prescribed as such.  

Here’s how it works.  You fill each of its 28 slots which the meds your parent needs – for the day, for 2 times a day, 3 times a day, (up to 6 doses a day).  Then you lock the pillbox into place.  Set a time on the Home8 app as to when your parent is supposed to take their meds.  

At the designated time(s), the pillbox will move to the right slot and allow access for your parent to collect the pills.  A loud alarm will ring on the pillbox until it is picked up and the slot is emptied.  This reminds your parent to take their medicine each day and ensures s/he takes exactly the right amount of pills.

Once picked up, the time is logged to the app.  If your parent does not pick up the pillbox, you will be notified.

Here’s an example of the kind of logging the devices track for you in your Home8 app.  As activity is tracked (or even not tracked) you can be aware of it.  

You will know if your parent has taken his/her medicines at the right times if a sound is detected, emergencies, and more.  Of course, if your parent pressed the Panic button around her neck, your phone would ring a distinct alarm so you’d know s/he was in trouble.

 

The Brains

The brains of the Home8 system are contained within the Security Gateway 3.0.  It processes commands and connects to your app to help you get a feel for what is going on in your parent’s home.  In order for the camera and sensors to work and communicate to the Gateway, they need to be connected to it, which is an easy set-up.

Security Gateway 3.0 – The Home8 Security Gateway protects data with a high-level encryption and firewall. It only allows you and authorized users to access the system.  It can store local video from your Home8 video camera and ring a 100DdB alarm (it’s loud) to alert your parent as well as scare off any intruder.  It can also send you notifications in an emergency.

Wi-Fi Range Extender – helps to extend the reach of the Gateway around the house to support Home8 Wi-Fi cameras, the automatic medication dispenser, and more.  This is especially helpful if your parent keeps the medication dispenser in the kitchen but the Security Gateway is in a closet, pretty far away.  The Wi-Fi Extender helps the Gateway signal reach the medication dispenser.

 

Our Recommendation for Your Senior Parent(s)

Home8 has a number of devices in addition to these listed above, but these are the ones most useful to giving you some peace of mind if your parent wants to live at home.  Home8 offers a number of packages to help you get started, but buying some of the items a la carte makes good sense too.  Here’s what we suggest you buy:

Video-Verified Medical Alert System III (Elder Security Kit)

This senior kit comes with the Security Gateway 3.0, one Twist HD Camera, 2 activity trackers, and a panic button.  It’s the perfect starter kit for both home and parent security.  Put the activity trackers on the cupboard door where your parent stores his/her medications or on the pillbox itself.  

Put another one on the front door so you can track when s/he leaves and comes back home.  The security camera can go in the family room or hallway.  And because it has two-way communication, you can talk to your parent anytime without him/her needing to get to the phone.  The Video-Verified Medical Alert System III sells for $299.99.

 

Medication

If you’re worried if your senior parent is taking his/her meds, get the Medication Adherence Reminder sensor to put on their pill box.  If you’re worried that your parent is overdosing on meds due to forgetfulness, spend the extra money and buy the  Medication Dispenser.  Buy the Medication Dispenser as an add-on for $199 unless your parent’s kitchen is pretty far away from where his/her Security Gateway 3.0 is.  If it’s far, buy the Automation Medication Dispenser System for $229.99, which includes the dispenser.

 

WellConnectedMom.com

A Mom’s Perspective

We tested out the panic button, the Twist HD Camera, the activity sensors, the medical adherence sensor, and the Automatic Medicine Dispenser and they all were very helpful in tracking, logging, and video recording activity.

Installation is very simple, as Home8 pairs the devices to your Security Gateway 3.0 before you receive it.  Should you buy a system and then later want to buy an item as an add-on, they can associate the item to your Gateway for you so you can easily pair it at home using a QR code.  This makes it very easy to install the Home8 system and components in your parent’s home.

I’ll admit, I was initially leery of Home8 because it’s an alarm company.  To me, that means a large monthly fee.  But what I discovered instead is that Home8 provides peace of mind for both you and your parents.  It includes sensors and tracking to help you know your parent is OK while also providing security to protect your senior parent from outside threats.  It’s a win-win.

You’ve seen those commercials on TV before about the medical alert systems to call you if your parent has fallen.  I’ve looked into all sorts of these type of products.  They all have on thing in common, a high monthly price tag for the service.

There are no contracts with Home8 and they charge nothing for up to 2 cameras, 1 user (your parent) and 1 owner (you).  If you want more than 2 cameras or you want both of your parents included, there is a $9.99 monthly fee.  

However, another benefit of this approach is that all the video recorded from the cameras is streamed right to your phone.  You can also watch a live stream from your phone.

If you’re worried about your senior parent and are looking for a behind-the-scenes type of system to help you watch over your parent unobtrusively, you should seriously consider Home8.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I was given several of the Home8 components for security and seniors for purpose of testing and reviewing.  All opinions are my own.

 



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