Over the years many people have told me how difficult it was to help their frail older relatives, including those living with dementia, because they wanted to feel independent. I remember a couple telling me how an elderly aunt had set fire to her microwave by setting it for half an hour on high when it should have been three minutes. She was prone to falling, too, so they had discreetly put little surveillance cameras in her home so they would be alerted if she got into difficulty. But gradually she discovered them and switched their power off one by one!
Now there may be an answer. At CES, the world’s biggest tech show in Las Vegas this January, there were some fascinating gadgets. Perhaps gadgets is too ordinary a word for them.
One of them looks like a regular light bulb: actually it is a light bulb, but with a startling difference. This one sends our radar beams to keep tabs on the health of people in the room.
The smart-lighting company that makes it said it monitors biometrics such as sleeping patterns, heart rate and body temperature, so helps keep track of elderly loved ones.
If it detects anything unusual, day or night, especially those that could indicate a fall, it sends an alert to relatives’ or friends’ smart phones.
You can read about it now at eu.sengled.com and be able to obtain it from later this year.
You can also see a little of the show here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPrBMPNVVv4&ab_channel=CBSMornings
When it comes to caring for people with dementia, every little helps.