image courtesy of mattza (via Flickr)

 

Technology has always been at the forefront of everything: from making life easier to empowering us to be independent. But for the elderly, people with special needs and disabilities, living a normal life is extremely challenging. According to a statistic, around a billion people or roughly 15% of the world’s population are disabled. These people face challenges when finding employment, riding the public transportation system, and living by themselves. Several public and private organizations are bringing different types of technologies to help them out. One of these technologies is a GPS (Global Positioning System) mobile-based system for the sick and elderly called Telecare. So, what does it do and is it the best technology out there? Let’s find out.

Remotely Caring for Someone

Since most of them want to live independently, Telecare enables their loved ones to remotely monitor them. They could be monitored through telephone-based systems or alarms within a certain range. Special electronic wrist bands or pendants with Call Button functions are worn by these people. For example: if a person suffering from dementia leaves his or her “safety zone”, a special alarm is triggered to inform the family member. It’s faster and safer, reducing the chances of harm and mortality. In England, service providers like O2 are initiating telecare services to people who have long-term diseases, the elderly, and disabled. Their GPS-enable Pearl + device for their “Help at Hand” campaign aims to reach 7 million carers in the United Kingdom. Telecare has been just a part of the technology designed to help these special people cope up with the rigors of their daily lives.

Bringing Mobility to Assistive Technology

Basically, assistive technology is any item that helps maintain, increase, or improve the lives of people with disabilities. However, the elderly and mentally challenged are now using telecare and assistive technologies. Aside from the electronic pendants and wristbands they wear, monitors, sensors, and detectors are now used in assistive technology. One example is the automated pill dispenser by PivoTell. It has different alarm settings to remind the person about his or her medication. Also, it can link a call to the family when the medicine wasn’t taken on time. The Oysta Technology’s Pearl handset is another form of assistive technology used for Telecare management. It uses GSM technology, similar to a quad band mobile phone, which can communicate through SMS and GPRS. Designed like a cellular phone, it’s small in size, lightweight, and it has four programmable speed dial buttons. Aside from these features, it also has a Fall Detection sensor which sends out an alert if a person is down. Since the Pearl handset supports the GSM 850/900/1800/1900 bands, it can basically work anywhere on the planet.
With the advent of assistive technology and Telecare services, more people with special needs and disabilities can now realize their dream of independence. Since technology is rapidly evolving, even health is slowly moving into the digital age. Rather than be trapped in their own homes or in residential care, technology is helping these people cope up and stay safe, inside and outside their homes. This gives them a chance to enjoy and catch a ray of sunshine.