Many adult children of an aging parent get to a point in their parent’s care where they feel they have only two options: move their parent in with them so that they (or their spouse) can provide around-the-clock care, or move their parent into a nursing home. Reaching this point can be a very emotional time for both parent and child; with the parent feeling anger and frustration at the loss of independence, and the child feeling that they have somehow failed their parent.
Improving technology may never be able to remove the need for this decision entirely, but it may be able to postpone it a little. A recent article in the New York Times describes some new technologies that help adult children monitor their aging parent right inside the home, therefore removing the need (or at least delaying the need) for physical around-the-clock supervision.
One of the new technologies mentioned in the article (called GrandCare) “allows families to place movement sensors throughout a house. Information — about when doors were opened, what time a person got into and out of bed, whether there’s been any movement in a room for a certain time period — is sent out via e-mail, text message or voice mail.” It is this kind of in-home monitoring that may allow seniors to remain in their homes longer.
Some seniors have reservations about these new technologies, however, something that they consider to be an invasion of privacy. Nancy Schlossberg is quoted in the article as comparing these new technologies to nanny-cams, “Big Brother is watching you — there’s something about it that’s very offensive.” Some seniors may agree with her, but if it comes down to a choice between technological monitoring or moving to a nursing home they may find that “Big Brother” is the lesser of two evils.