Senior Communities Implementing Monitoring Technology to Retain Independent Living Residents

Senior care technology, including monitoring systems such as motion and activity sensors, are a “godsend” to some older adults (and their families) who want to remain in a senior living community’s independent living section for as long as possible, reports Minneapolis’ Star Tribune

At Kingsway Senior Living complex, located in Belle Plaine, Minn., nine sensors track one particular resident’s activity, dispatching data to the system’s developer, Healthsense of Mendota Heights, and allowing family members to remain aware of his status. 

For two years, it has helped keep him in his lower-cost apartment at the Kingsway Senior Living complex and out of the adjacent assisted-living unit. That $900 annual service saves him $22,000 a year.

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Across Minnesota, thousands of elders are able to stay healthier, and delay or avoid institutional care, under the 24-hour-a-day attention of pressure sensors, motion detectors, pill dispensers, personal-alert pendants and other devices.

At Kingsway, each of the 22 assisted-living units has the full array of sensors included in its monthly fee.

They pay the full cost: one-time fees of $1,500 to rent and $550 to install and program the system, and a monthly monitoring fee of $150.

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“That sounds expensive, but it’s about the same as two weeks in a nursing home,” said Sharon Blume, director of family services and technology at Kingsway. “The savings start pretty quick.”

Some senior housing providers are eligible for grants to implement aged care technologies for low-income residents, according to the Star Tribune; Kingsway just got a $250,000 state grant—for the second time—to expand its community, and is seeking federal money for subsidized senior housing.

The Healthsense Wi-Fi system can check residents’ blood pressure, blood sugar, and other vital signs, or track residents moving through the building, with the ability to send cellphone alerts to staff if it detects possible issues, or emails to family for routine updates, says the article. 

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Read the full article at the Star Tribune.

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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