Wireless technology is giving adult children new options for monitoring elderly parents who want to stay in their own homes.
_ Grandcare, of West Bend, Wis., sells a home monitoring system that costs $2,000 to buy or $99 per month to lease, plus a $79 monthly service fee. Fees vary depending on the number of sensors and features requested. Sensors placed around the home track daily movements, including when doors are opened, and send the information to a secure website. Seniors can also attach medical devices like a blood pressure cuff to the Grandcare terminal and record their readings. The system can also be used to remotely control the lights and thermostat.
_ BeClose of Vienna, Va., offers a system of motion sensors for $299, plus a $79 monthly service fee. A $399 package has additional features, including a bed sensor placed underneath the mattress, which indicates when the bed is occupied. The system can be programmed to send alerts in various instances, such as if the person doesn't get out of bed.
_ The Maya system from MedMinder in Newton, Mass., is a wireless-enabled pillbox that stores all of a patient's medications for the week on a large tray. When it's time to take the medication, the appropriate compartment lights up and beeps. If the pills are not taken within an hour, the company's automated system calls the patient. If there is no answer, the company calls the patient's loved one. The patient's caregiver programs the medication schedule using a company website. The device is available at BestBuy for $179 or through the company's website. The monthly service fee is $29.95.
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