A Personal Alert System For Tutu

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - September 13, 2006
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Cullen Hayashida helps Dzidra Damerel with her personal monitoring device
Cullen Hayashida helps Dzidra Damerel with her personal
monitoring device

The nightmare of having Grandma or Grandpa living alone and needing help in a timely manner is something that Cullen Hayashida addresses with his company, Kupuna Monitoring Systems.

“This personal alert system creates peace of mind for those who live alone, and for their families,” says Hayashida.

One systems he sells is like a telephone answering machine that can wirelessly contact people to help a senior citizen in an emergency when the senior presses a button on a necklace or bracelet that’s worn all the time.

Here’s one example of a situation where his system could have saved Grandma from a 10-hour day of misery.

Just as Grandma closed the lanai door behind her to look outside at around 9 in the morning, the lock clicked. She lived alone in an apartment building where the loud noise of the traffic outdoors calls back 15 minutes later, as it is highly unusual for the phone not to be answered. Then daughter calls another five minutes later. No answer. Daughter goes over to the apartment and notices the place is dark. She finds Grandma shivering on the lanai, and brings her into the house to care for her. If

she presses a red button on the bracelet which then triggers a red blinking light. The blinking light lets her know that help is on the way. The signal calls a Mainland call center, and an operator talks through the speaker phone to Grandma to find out what room she is in and what type of help is

drowned out her weak, soft voice. Grandma could not go to the bathroom, eat, or take her medicine. Her daughter called the house at 7 p.m. to say hello. When Grandma didn’t answer, daughter called back again a half an hour later. Again no answer. Daughter

Grandma had the personal monitoring system and was wearing her waterproof bracelet or necklace, she could have activated it for help as soon as she was locked out.

For example, if Grandma falls down, can’t get up and needs help,

needed. Within 30 seconds communication and assessment are in progress. The call center can contact the priority list person, whether it is a neighbor or next of kin. The device works within a 200- to 300-foot radius. And it also has a medication reminder function.

In case of a power outage, the machine has an 18-hour backup battery. If that battery gets low, then a signal to the Mainland call center lets the local distributor know that a new battery is needed. There is also a check system to ensure the telephone line is working.

Hayashida spreads the word about the machine by contacting hospitals, home care agencies, and other groups that can refer his services.

“I’ve always been a part of positive social change,” says Hayashida, a Farrington graduate and Moanalua resident. “I’ve tried to create a variety of new services for seniors.”

Another product Kupuna Monitoring Systems distributes is a medicine dispenser, the MD.2 Personal Medication System, that can be attached to the personal alert system. The dispenser can hold up to 60 small cups of pills. An alarm sounds to remind Tutu to take her medicine. She then presses the button, and a loved one’s recorded voice gives instructions. The dispenser releases a cup of pills, and directions appear on a digital screen, such as to take medicine with food. If Grandma doesn’t take the medicine, an operator will contact a family member who will follow up with Grandma. The dispenser logs information into the computer, which family members may view.

“With families being stressed, they sometimes find it challenging,” explains Hayashida, “and technology is playing an important role to create peace of mind for the elderly.”

Hayashida’s other activities also center around the elderly. He is the co-founder and president of the non-profit organization Assisted Living Options Hawaii. He is a consultant with Kapiolani Community College, where he is coordinating an elder care curriculum which may someday be expanded throughout the educational system. He co-hosts the Kupuna Connection television show with David Nakamejo on Olelo channel 55 Wednesdays from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. A rebroadcast of the show runs Sundays from noon to 1 p.m.

“It’s a privilege to have that opportunity to make exciting change, and it becomes a responsibility to help mentor and train young people,” adds Hayashida.

For more information, call 721-1201 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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