Far left: LivingWell@Home research participant Harriet Barlau, right, looks through a photo album with Cindy Larson, a registered nurse at Good Samaritan Society – Waconia and Westview Acres in Waconia, Minn.
Above: LivingWell@Home research participant Gladys Huitt says motion sensors installed in her home at Good Samaritan Society – Waconia and Westview Acres have helped her worry less about potential health issues.
Left: Motion sensors installed in assisted living apartments for the LivingWell@ Home research study unobtrusively collect data about wellness indicators such as sleep quality and activity levels.
“Family members really get it and are very supportive of the program,” says Hissam of Waconia. “It gives them an added degree of security.” She says one person at an initial family meeting wished her mother would have been monitored in this way five years ago, when she fell accidentally in her private apartment.
Olson, the artist, says his daughter is “very excited” about his participation, and the two of them helped convince fellow resident Harriet Barlau to sign up. “I was hesitant at first,” Barlau recalls. “But David explained there were no cameras involved, and that it was a good idea for me and my children.”
Barlau’s son, Jeff Mund, says he left the decision to his mother, but he encouraged her to participate. “I think this technology would give anyone an added sense of security when thinking about their parent,” he says.
Another Waconia resident, Gladys Huitt, says the system gives her comfort, especially after an experience she had a few years ago in a center in another state. After taking a prescribed medicine, Huitt says she had hallucinations and spent the night bustling about her apartment removing all the pictures from the walls. Motion sensor technology, she
says, would have documented her behavior and led to a timely intervention.
Larson says that in addition to Olson’s “bathroom art studio visits,” she and other staff members at the campus learned from a humidity sensor that another resident had been taking showers by herself — something staff members had not known the resident was capable of doing.
“The technology of the system amazes me,” says Olson, a retired engineer. “And I can see that gathering the data is worthwhile for various reasons, like to limit the costs of care. But the best part for me is that it gives me the freedom to do more art than ever before, and not worry about my safety.”
Rebecca Bollig, the housing manager at Waconia and one of the staff members there coordinating participation in the research, says the comments of one resident’s daughter summed up the goal of the research best. “How cool is that, Mom?” the daughter told her mother. “You are shaping the care I will receive when I am your age.”
Richard G. Anderson contributed to this story from Waconia. The Good Samaritan • 2011 • Vol. 45 • No. 1 9
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