Wellness Monitoring For The Elderly

Yu Shing Ting
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Friday - September 29, 2010
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Like many families today, Aileen Soma is concerned about the welfare of her aging mother Haruko Soma, 84. But because of work and family responsibilities. Aileen can’t be with her 24 hours a day.

So when she heard about Hookele’s iHealthHome, a new touch-screen communication and wellness monitoring system, Aileen decided to give it a try.

“We’ve had it for three months and I love it because I’m able to be in touch with (Mom) remotely,” says Aileen, an instructor at the University of Hawaii. “I’m able to know she’s OK even though I’m not there.

“It doesn’t replace a caregiver, it supplements.”

Hookele, a Honolulu health company providing personal health-planning services, began offering iHealthHome in June. So far about 20 families are using it.

The system uses wireless and Bluetooth technologies for discrete tracking of daily activities in the home and seamless electronic communication among the care-giving team.

“It’s a combination of a communication hub and also some safety nets for the senior,” explains Dew-Anne Langcaon, a business partner for Hookele. “We have physical sensors for the individual so we can tell what is going on with them. We can place them in any part of the room, and if we don’t see any movement, we’ll send an alert to a family member.

“This technology allows seniors to remain at home and independent for as long as they possibly can, and yet it gives peace of mind to family and friends who care about them.”

The system also can be customized with a calendar, games, music, pictures, voice messages, e-mail, video, services at home (for example, taxi, groceries, laundry, etc.) and more. It also keeps track of blood pressure and weight, and alerts family members or Hookele’s Health Navigators to patterns of daily activities that are out of the norm.

“The iHealthHome system allows the senior to maintain independence without the family being intrusive,” adds Norine Wong, clinical director for Hookele Health Technologies. “It’s nice that technology has developed to a point where it can serve as support for families who have parents who want to live independently.”

Initial start-up equipment, installation, professional assessment and customization of the system, training and support costs approximately $4,700. Monthly support and monitoring ranges from $145 to $460 per month, depending on the level of Health Navigator monitoring support requested by the family.

Currently, Hookele is looking for pilot families to use the iHealthHome system for three months at no cost and no obligation. For more information, visit ihealthhome.net or call 457-1655.

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