Thursday, November 29, 2007

Not So Private Eye

Talk about effective marketing strategies! This one is pure genius. Appeal to the insecurities of seniors struggling to stay independent. In their own homes. These little beauties will no doubt become code in homes, programmed to kick in the minute you're officially "old"!

Monitoring systems that follow your every move with camera or sensors. The Wall Street Journal had quite an article about them this morning. They've gotten so sophisticated heat sensors can detect how long you remain in your bathroom, even your walking speed. But if it means being able to stay in your home...

I don't know. Here we are; seniors. We can't find doctors who will take us as patients if we're on medicare. Drugs to keep us going are prohibitively expensive, procedures aren't available to us. Yet they want us to install sophisticated systems to let computers know when we've taken the tumble that will put us in the home anyway. I don't know. I'm just not sure how much I want anyone to know about my daily activities unless it's absolutely necessary - and at that point sensors and cameras aren't going to cut it!

I'm not against safeguards. After my Dad passed away, with some coaxing I got Mom to get LifeLine. It wasn't anywhere near what's available today but it served it's purpose. She felt safe. All she had to do was press a button when she went to bed and again when she got up. If the signal wasn't received at the monitoring service they'd give her a call. She never needed it. She was fortunate. She had friends and neighbors who looked in on her. I had spies all over her neighborhood whom I would call randomly and often to check up on her.

I was often told to put her in the home; she shouldn't be alone. She was never "ready". Whenever I visited part of the routine was a tour of the new facilities in the community. She would march in like a horse with blinders, turn around and march right back out. I can't say that I blamed her. The lobbies were always filled with those in more dire circumstances than her own. Walkers, wheel chairs, oxygen tanks. Distant, trance like gazes rather than greetings.

It's no wonder the elderly want to maintain their independence. The move is often a signal that they've accepted defeat. That they've surrendered to the inevitable.

Ah, but seniors can be p-r-e-t-t-y crafty when it comes to getting around unwanted obstacles forced upon them.

These fancy systems do have emergency, or panic buttons, so that if you fall or can't get within camera or sensor range or to your phone, pushing it will do what's needed to be done. Alert the monitoring service.

My Mom, the consummate lady, who "dressed" for everything, even adorned hers with a pretty ribbon so it would look nice.

And so it did as it lay on the table next to her favorite chair. The ribbon wasn't enough. It was ugly and bothersome and she wouldn't wear it.

Sigh. Every day I find myself more and more like her. Oh, boy!


Anonymous said...

"Who you calling old Willis?" You don't have to be old to have an accident away from a phone. So I do think some sort of aid is a good idea. But do I want a Big Brother eye watching me? I'll let you know when I get old.

Camellia Underhill said...

I'm non anonymous....I'm Camellia Underhill

ThomG said...

DM, nice take. We are going through this with my mother, now. Or I should say, my sister is going through this and I am witnessing it from 3000 miles away. Mom lives with my sister, but we still keep her house 250 miles away and bring her back for a week here and there. We've finally managed to convince her that two days a week at the senior center is good for her physical and mental health (she has Alzheimer's). Aging is tough, I'm not sure I'm looking forward to it. ;)