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Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy:
doi: 10.1519/JPT.0b013e318224aa23
Special Interest Paper

A Review of Monitoring Technology for Use With Older Adults

Wagner, Flo BPT, MSc1; Basran, Jenny MD, BSc, FRCPC2; Bello-Haas, Vanina Dal BScPT, MEd, PhD3

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Abstract

Background: Many Americans are living longer and recent studies report that the majority of older adults wish to live as independently as possible in their own homes, for as long as possible. This creates a need for effective monitoring, and technology has much to offer.

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to provide a narrative review of current monitoring technology appropriate for older adults' home use.

Methods: A review of current literature provides a comprehensive discussion of the development of this technology.

Discussion: In the past several years, advancements have been made in the area of monitoring the movement and activity of older adults in their home environment. This technology may benefit older individuals by assisting them to remain living in their own homes for as long as possible. Unobtrusive monitoring and wearable technology, which is clothing or accessories that incorporate computer or electronic technology, are rapidly expanding areas of development. Various applications of this technology may assist in falls detection and overall safety. In addition, continuous monitoring of an older adult's specific movements or activity can identify changes in day-to-day activity levels, which may indicate a change in medical status.

Conclusion: Although many devices are still at the developmental stage, the future of this technology may offer older adults a level of increased safety and security in their homes.

Copyright © 2012 the Section on Geriatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association

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