Old Age May Mean Home Monitoring, Telemedicine

As more baby boomers enter retirement, many may see their homes get a high-tech makeover.

Their medicine bottles will alert their doctors when they miss a dose. Pressure-sensing floor mats can sense when they have fallen or let caregivers know when a patient has not showered for a while. Sensors that customers wear on their bodies can detect whether they are moving in a manner that would indicate they have taken a spill.

The aim of these upgrades is to allow an aging population to stay in their homes — and independent — longer.

The effort also pushes “telemedicine,” including video­conferencing with one’s doctor, into a more intimate space.

Receiving such data from a patient can make it easier for doctors to monitor their health, said David Lindeman, a gerontologist and director of the Center for Technology and Aging. Also, he said, monitoring people while they are in their natural environment rather than a clinical setting can also lead to more accurate diagnoses.

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