According to new research, 7 in 10 adults with parents aged over 60 are unable to visit them as often as they'd like. Increasingly, these families are relying on modern technology to stay connected. One such family is the Chazins.
"My siblings and I began worrying about our dad's physical and mental wellbeing," says Steve Chazin, a VP of Product at Alarm.com, whose team develops technology to help families keep loved ones safe and well. "We were concerned that his isolation from other people was beginning to turn loneliness into depression."
"Unfortunately, none of us can visit him regularly. So, with my father's permission, I installed an Alarm.com Wellcam in his home.
"When he questioned the need to have a camera watching him, I explained that if I could sit on the couch every day to be with him I would. Wellcam was the next best thing. He agreed, and he quickly began to feel good about it; that having his family watch over him was an act of love. My two brothers, my sister, my wife, and I have become his virtual caregivers."
Wellness is a suite of smart, proactive technology that helps families stay connected to loved ones in their own homes. When visits or phone calls aren't possible—or aren't enough—it gives families a new way to know that a parent or family member is safe and well.
Wellcam: a new way to connect and talk
The Wellcam is a specialized security camera with two-way audio that makes it easy to talk to each other. Up to 10 family members can access the Alarm.com account associated with their loved one's Wellcam, which ensures that someone will always be available if their parent needs to talk.
Steve added his wife and his siblings to the account, enabling them all to check in with his dad through their Alarm.com mobile apps.
"We can have virtual visits where we can drop in to get a quick glance at how Dad is doing" Steve says. "We can receive notifications when Wellcam detects activities at certain hours. We can see an automatic highlight reel of the day's images that we can share and talk about."
"Another bonus is that your loved one can press a callout button on Wellcam to contact family members if they need immediate assistance," Steve says. "It's like a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) device that doesn't need to be worn, and comes without the stigma that some of those devices project."
Related: Keep Your Family Safe and Well with Wellcam
Sensors keep you connected to important everyday activity
Contact and motion sensors are simple devices that discreetly register activity throughout your loved one's home. They let you know that your loved one is up and about and taking care of themselves. The sensors can also provide alerts when your parent leaves home, arrives home or receives a visitor.
Steve explains that you can place a contact sensor on nearly anything: the refrigerator, pillboxes, medicine cabinets or even the shower door, giving you a non-intrusive way to know that your loved one's day-to-day essentials are taken care of.
"Being able to know that your loved one is showering, taking medicine and eating: activities that are essential for their wellbeing and your peace of mind," he says.
"Contact sensors are a non-intrusive way to ensure that you'll catch anything unusual which could be an indicator of a larger issue. Now, you can step in, talk about what's happening, and take measures to prevent a more serious problem from occurring."
Bed and chair sensors let you know about sleep and exercise
Specialized, pressure-activated sensors can be placed under mattresses and chair cushions to discreetly monitor sleep habits and exercise throughout the day.
While this seems like a fringe benefit, Steve says, they are incredibly useful.
"Bed and chair sensors can help you identify an increasingly sedentary lifestyle or nighttime safety issue," he explains. "Connected to the Alarm.com platform, they can provide a summary of daily activity and alert you if your loved one's activity patterns start to change."
Intelligent technology is the key to it all
"Besides speaking with and seeing your loved one, being alerted to unusual activity is one of the most important connections that technology can give us when it comes to the people we care about," says Steve.
"Think of the Check Engine light in your car and how it alerts you to emerging engine issues. Equipped with that awareness, you can take action before a problem becomes an emergency. Over the long term, these prompts help you take better care of your vehicle. The technology we're building gives you similar capabilities to protect the people who matter most to you: your family."
"I feel incredibly fortunate to build products that help people stay connected to the ones they love," he says.
Are you interested in Wellness by Alarm.com for a loved one?
Available exclusively from Alarm.com's service provider partners, Wellcam and Wellness by Alarm.com can be installed in your loved one's home as an extension of your own home's security system.
If you're an Alarm.com user, ask your service provider about Wellness technology today.
Don't have Alarm.com yet? Click here to connect with a service provider near you.