Rooted in Family Support: Aging in Place with Technology
For many seniors, uprooting from home and transplanting to a new setting is their worst nightmare. For Treska, a 94-year-old nature lover and master gardener, it was simply never an option.
As Treska’s daughter Toone relates, “Losing her gardens and animals would mean to have no life. To be in your nineties and still have all of that is a wonderful thing… She has a little greenhouse that she can keep tending. She looks out over her gardens and if she didn’t have that, that would be her undoing.”
When Treska began to need support from Toone and the rest of her family, one of their main goals was to preserve Treska’s connection to her garden and her animals. Because the closest family members live about 45 minutes away, they began to look into using some technology supports. Perhaps the technology could alert them and they could come to check on Treska when needed. At first, the family obtained a PERS (personal emergency response system). However, Treska did not use it. In Toone’s words, her mother “was not cognitive to it.”
Realizing that any technology they put in place would have to function without Treska’s input, Toone and her family looked for other solutions, and that’s when they connected with SimplyHome. The SimplyHome team recommended a system that incorporated pressure pad sensors (to sense whether someone is in or out of bed or in certain chairs), motion sensors, and door sensors. Each sensor has rules (such as time limits or timeframes) that can trigger notifications to the family, caregivers, or emergency services. That way Treska could receive support if needed, even though she doesn’t use a PERS.
With the SimplyHome System and sensors in place, Toone says everything has changed: “It’s just great because I know that she is up and out of bed. I know that she is moving around the house. It is huge for me because before I would always be on edge, not knowing. Now I get an alert when she has been up for 30 minutes and that lets me call her and not wake her up. It also tells me if there has been no activity in an hour and we know to go over and check on her. And we know if she doesn’t get back in the bed at night after 45 minutes – we get an alert.”
Since installing the system in 2015, Toone and her family have continued to express their relief: “I don’t know what we would have done. No alternative would have been good. She is a creature of habit and if she had to go somewhere else she wouldn’t know how to do it. She can only deal with the world she is familiar with.”
“The beauty of the system is that it is not dependent on the individual to do something. She is able to live completely independently because of the system. My mother is 94 … getting notifications when she is up and about, or when she doesn’t return to bed at night, gives me assurance and great comfort that she is safe.”
Thank you, Toone and Treska, for sharing your family’s story with us. It’s awesome to see Treska aging in place while living the life she loves!