By Joe Drygas, VP of Healthcare Solutions, AT&T
I come from a close-knit family. And like many of you, as my parents age, my siblings and I worry about them living on their own and their well-being.
Now, with my mom recently diagnosed with cancer, that concern is even greater. But an announcement today from Navigil got me thinking about the role technology can play in helping our loved ones age in place while giving us, their caregivers, peace of mind.
Navigil is a specialist in wearable products for older adults.
The Finland-based company chose AT&T to connect its Navigil 580 wellness wristwatch in the U.S. With 10,000 people turning 65 every day in our country, 90% of them – my parents included – want to stay in their own homes as long as possible. Wearables like the Navigil wristwatch can help them do that.
The Navigil 580 looks like a regular analog watch, which is by design; no one, especially my mom, wants to wear a device that screams “I’m old.” But the watch is actually a mobile Personal Emergency Response System (mPERS) device and wellness tracker. It has embedded sensors and provides emergency messaging and automated alarms with location information. Just think how this could help with caring for a dementia patient.
If the wearer gets lost, caregivers can see where the person is. Or consider the risk of a fall with an older adult. If the person can’t push the emergency button on the watch – say she loses consciousness – the watch automatically sends an alert to caregivers.
The wristwatch also measures heart and respiratory rate. Monitoring these types of vitals is important for folks like my mom who have health issues. That’s why the battery life for mPERS devices is so critical. Because the Navigil wearable runs on our network designed for IoT (Internet of Things) devices and applications, it has extended battery life. In fact, the Navigil 580 can stay charged up to 4-weeks. That’s a gamechanger in the mPERS industry.
With older adults, now more than ever, intent on living out their lives at home, tech solutions can play a key role. Maintaining their independence is what matters most to my parents. But peace of mind is just as important to my siblings and me. A wearable could be the happy compromise. (Note to self: add to my Christmas shopping list!)
With the 65 and older population in the U.S. at more than 54 million and growing, I see a future filled with wearables. And who knows… a device like the Navigil wristwatch may just give our loved ones more time.