Testimonial in the Senate
Testimonial before the United States Senate
– Special Committee on Aging
Word of ‘Wellness’ technology has made its way to the United States Senate – Special Committee on Aging!
Chrissy Lyons | March 31, 2016
Benefits of aging in place technologies have been shared with the United States Senate via testimony of Mr. Charles S. Strickler.
As Mr. Strickler addressed the committee, thanking them for the opportunity to testify before them, he shared with them his personal family experiences; his long and arduous journey which ultimately enabled he and his wife to fulfill their parents’ hopes, provide caregivers and family peace of mind, all while creating optimal quality of life and conserving resources.
It was through trial and error that they were able to finally understand exactly what it would take to look out for their aging parents while respecting their spirit of independence and privacy given the challenge of living several hours apart. Through this process they were able to find solutions that worked, which were even better than they expected!
Specifically, they put together a system with alternative technologies that would be a solution to help keep his mother-in-law safe and yet still remain somewhat independent. With the installation of bed sensors, chair sensors, a toilet sensor, a refrigerator sensor, and three big easy alert buttons to summon help, incorporated with door sensors which indicated further activity, they were able to monitor regular routines and get alerts when patterns changed or deviated from the norm, or were made aware of situations which required immediate assistance. They were able to set parameters that allowed them to be alerted via cell phones to be able to immediately check on her. It was comforting to know they were getting timely alerts. The report data from the discreet sensors placed in her home, provided an understanding of her daily life activity, indicating her areas of need.
With the refrigerator sensor alerts, they were able to recognize when she would forget to eat. The bed sensor enabled them to know how often she got up at night and recognized changes in her sleeping patterns. A toilet sensor enabled them to recognize higher than normal usage rates and had her checked and treated for a urinary tract infection proactively; avoiding what could have been a costly and traumatic hospitalization. Their system enabled them to control the thermostat and lights remotely, saving special trips to simply check on them. Additionally, motion sensors would activate lights when his mother-in-law was up and about at night- as a further safety guard.
While the system provides many of the alerts based on individual sensors, according to need, it also has data summary tools which made it much easier to see trends and patterns. Additionally, it provided a comprehensive wellness overview. All of the user friendly graphics made it easy to see and understand what was gradually changing, in his mother-in-law’s lifestyle.
The system enabled them to know when to layer in additional levels of assistance and care, matching it to her state of health as capabilities declined. Overall, the system provided a tremendous peace of mind, assuring them their parent was safe, feeling that this technology is a priceless gift enabling them to honor their parent’s request to stay at home and live as independently as they were capable of.
Mr. Strickler also advised that financially, it has been a relief to be able to preserve resources allowing them to be able to provide the best possible one-on-one care his mother-in-law later needed.
Had they moved her into an assisted living, early on, the costs would have been astronomical. The cumulative cost for 2 ½ years, moving into an average Virginia nursing home, would have been $223,000.00 plus an additional $104,000.00 for homemaker/health aid services, and that was based on the Genworth 2013 Cost of Care Survey.
In contrast, the cost of their system was $2,189.00 plus the monthly fee of $59.00. While they still needed to supplement their own care giving efforts with contracted home care support, the nominal investment in technology has clearly provided a huge cost savings. Most importantly, Mr. Strickler advised that his mother-in-law had been able to enjoy a higher standard of care in a more comfortable environment – home.
In closing, Mr. Strickler shared,
Aging in place technologies are not a silver bullet solution that will solve all the problems of cost-effectively caring for our aging population, but from our experience, they can be a very integral part of the solution. These technologies can be objective narration care-giving tools, that can prolong independence and help guide assistance intervention, all in a very cost effective and non-intrusive manner, affording both caregivers and their aging loved ones excellent lifestyle choices.