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Make Life Easier:Using Technology to Maintain Independence

One of the biggest worries that seniors have about aging is becoming dependent on other people, and even losing the ability to continue living in their own home. This could be a worry you have about yourself, or maybe itís a concern for a sibling of yours or even a parent.

All seniors should be aware of one of the newest ways that technology can benefit their health. Itís the ďtele-home careĒ movement, and it can make life easier for a lot of people.

People with heart failure, diabetes, and other chronic conditions can enter information such as blood sugar readings, weight, heart rate, temperature and other signs and symptoms into in-home monitors. There are also typically a series of questions you answer about your health. The monitors feed the information to a central facility, such as a visiting nurse associationís station.

Who benefits from this kind of care? Obviously, the people who have the chronic condition benefit, in a number of ways. They donít have to find a way to get to a doctorís appointment as frequently. They have someone staying on top of their vital information, so hospital stays and emergency room visits are minimized. And just as importantly, when people keep closer track of their own health, they tend to be more tuned in to how best to take care of themselves.

Loved ones who care for these individuals also benefit. They get some peace of mind, knowing that healthcare professionals are keeping track of their loved oneís condition. And they also get a break from taking a friend or family member to the doctor as often as they used to.

If you or someone in your life has a chronic condition that requires frequent monitoring, be sure to investigate whether tele-home care is an option. Ask your doctor or a nurse practitioner. If they canít help you, contact your local visiting nurse association. You may also want to try doing an Internet search for ďtele-home care.Ē

U.S. News and World Report, 4 June 2001; Visiting Nurse Association.

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