The Cost of Caring for the Elderly

Technology has come a long way since the days of the first medical alert systems to hit the market. You probably remember the infamous commercials of the early 1990’s featuring an elderly person who had fallen and was unable to get to a telephone. In the United States, Baby Boomers are hitting retirement age and facing many of the problems the elderly have faced for centuries. But today, they have some assistance available through modern technology to help them stay healthy and independent much longer than previous generations.

Personal Robotic Helpers

This is the most advanced form of technology available to assist the elderly at the moment. These personal robots have significant value for elderly people who have some mobility impairments but wish to maintain as much of an independent lifestyle as possible. The robots allow them to manipulate their environment for things as simple as scratching their noses or eating breakfast.

But there’s a downside to this amazing tool that may be used to assist the elderly. It is not mass marketed at this point in time and carries a hefty high price tag that makes it out of reach for the average consumer.


This product is a movement sensor. It works by detecting the movement of elderly patients throughout their homes. If it notices an unusual pattern change in a specific room of the house, like a prolonged period of time in the bathroom, it will call the home to check on the patient. If the patient does not answer the call, then the monitoring company will send out a call to police and other people who are designated on a list (usually a neighbor, friend, or relative).

This is another cost prohibitive tool – despite its many potential benefits. It can cost thousands of dollars to set up the system. There are fees for monitoring that can be anywhere from $10 to $100 per month, depending upon the amount of monitoring required.

Data Sensors

One great thing for seniors to consider are data sensors that monitor vital signs and other important health information and send data to physicians daily. They are often used after heart attacks to monitor the heart and transmit relevant data to the doctor. They can be incredibly beneficial and don’t require the patients to monitor themselves or remember to make calls to the doctor’s office three times a day. There are even pill sensors that call patients when it’s time to take a dose of medication and then call a designated family member if there is no answer. This can help ensure that no pill is missed again.

The downside is that these devices generally transmit more data than is necessary and storing all the information generated can quickly become problematic, especially for doctors treating many aging patients. Additionally, sorting through mountains of data in order to find specific information can be a time-consuming process. There is definite room for improvement in this particular branch of technology, although it is more cost effective than constant monitoring in a hospital or outpatient facility.

Technology is changing lives every day. It’s great to see the world of gadgets and fun “toy tech” that is coming out all the time. However, it’s even more exciting to see lifesaving and life-changing technological advances in action. Imagine what the future holds in the field of medical technology!

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