Telecare: Ghosts of Past, Present and Future
Telecare has always enabled the elderly to live independently for longer.
Over the centuries, the forms of technology used have varied. Consequently, often the simplest of solutions were deemed the most effective. From a traditional bell used to ring for assistance. To a whistle being worn around the neck as an effective way to alert people within the vicinity.
Help was provided for the aged in 1961 by the ‘easy blow whistle’. Hence, this iconic invention was vital and was the first form of an alarm. As demonstrated below in this British Pathé video.
The age of the neck worn whistle alarm for the elderly may be over. However, the simplistic yet effective theory remains in the function of today’s pendant alarms, providing assistance at the touch of a button. With the natural evolution of technology over the ages, current solutions vary from the basic activated personal alarm to the more intricate activity monitoring devices. Telecare is essential in assisting older adults who may have problems such as declining hearing, vision, or physical mobility. Devices themselves have to take this into account and should be usable and acceptable, yet not stigmatising. Currently, many available devices can appear to be ‘medical’ looking. However, more discrete forms of telecare are beginning to emerge on the market, starting with the Onyx pendant alarm which looks like a piece of jewellery.
With continual technology advancement, what can we expect for the future of technology enabled care. Furthermore, could it go from being crucial to becoming intrusive? So with recent talk of using CCTV to monitor the elderly in their own homes, fears grow at how far an individual’s privacy could be sacrificed for the assurance of their safety. We can only hope that the future brings us the ideal telecare solution, combining practical monitoring solutions with a non-invasive approach, allowing someone to remain independent with the assurance of safety.
The telecare industries worst fears are demonstrated in this Superflux – ‘Uninvited Guests’ video below. As a result, we hope that this is not what the future has in store for telecare.