The modern world has many advantages. We are instantly connected to anyone around the world almost instantaneously through the Internet; we have made medical breakthroughs that have ended the scourge of once-common diseases like polio, smallpox, and rinderpest; and, though this wouldn’t appear to be from the nightly news reports, we are living in the most peaceful period of human existence thus far.
It is little wonder, then, why the traditional family unit living in the household has changed perceptibly over the course of the twentieth century. While you will be able to find an array of articles bemoaning the loss of the nuclear family, we are not discussing this here. Rather, we are discussing a change of a different sort.
Prior to the mid-twentieth century, the family unit included, in one household, everyone from grandparents on down. The elderly often lived with the family, where they could be cared for. In today’s world, having the elderly live with us is not often an option; with that statement, the growth of worry for the elderly and their wellbeing have mushroomed. We want to care for our parents, just as they cared for us. We don’t want them to be alone, we want them to live life to the fullest.
With the benefits of living in the modern age, this shouldn’t be a problem. Indeed, there are so many technological items that can help us make sure they are safe.
The easiest to buy, and the simplest to use, are medical emergency alert buttons.
As mentioned above, we live in an age of technology. More specifically, we have entered the years when the Internet of Things has become extremely important. The Internet of Things refers to devices, other than a computer or smart phone, that are connected to the Internet. These help maintain connectivity and provide a streamlined technological process to customize each of our devices to act exactly as we expect them to.
The original medical emergency alert buttons emerged from home alert systems that were developed in Germany in the 1970s. They were initially installed in locations where medical emergencies amongst the elderly were more common: nursing homes for example.
By the early 1980s, the device was being implemented into phone systems. Saving you the more technical jargon, the basic premise was that the individual would wear a “button” on a necklace around their necks. When an emergency would occur, they could press the button, which would send a signal to the telephone, which would call emergency services.
These buttons were not just implemented in the form of necklace-buttons. They found their home as well in cars, with companies like Onstar providing a similar service.
Over the course of the 1990s and 2000s, various other technologies were implemented. The most important was the advent of so-called “passive systems,” (as opposed to “active systems” which involved pressing the button when an emergency occurred) which use algorithms that constantly monitor when an activity occurs that is not “normal.” Thus, for example, if a monitor picked up activity that suggested the individual fell, it would immediately place a call either to emergency services or to a close family member or friend.
Since those interceding years, the algorithms involved and the monitoring equipment used have become much better. This is a result of technological experience: the computer has learned over time when certain movements absolutely mean an adverse health action occurred or when something may have occurred. The computer then follows an action to follow that response: when it is absolutely sure a fall occurred, it calls emergency services and contacts a close family member or friend.
The devices have also been programmed to speak, listen, and follow through with an action depending on the situation. It can respond to the situation in a way that will be helpful.
While these advances are helpful, there is still a distance to go. As algorithms become more complex, the device will be able to respond in a better way. Moreover, the implementation of video-calling has allowed others, upon receiving an alert that something may have occurred, to check in on their loved ones.
All of these advances help individuals worry less about their family members’ well-being. Done are the days when an individual has to worry about the unknown: technology in medical alert devices are advancing and allowing instant connection to our loved ones. Using that technology will help keep our family members safe.
This is also why these technologies are being implemented on a daily basis in hospitals, nursing homes, and care facilities. As the technologies advance there, so too will the in-home medical devices.
As with everything else in our world, medical alert devices are advancing to help us in life. They will only make things better.