Extending Self Care at Home for the Elderly

 


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After age 65 as many as 75% of Americans suffer from one chronic disease such as heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, infections, diabetes, arthritis and osteoporosis, to name just a few common afflictions. Additionally, recent statistics indicate that 50% of elderly people have two or more chronic health problems. And, the older people get, the more likely they have to consider the question of relocating from the home they love to an institutional setting where someone can watch over them in the event of a health crisis, no matter how infrequent such an event may be. (What they worry about )

But this may be about to change for the better (Learn more). With the adaptation of blood pressure monitors, electrocardiogram devices, blood/oxygen concentration readers and defibrillators to make them usable at home, people can measure their own vital signs to see if there are changes taking place that a doctor should know about. These home-adapted devices even contain software that graphs and performs analyses of the readings taken to optimize their usefulness to a physician. Finally, a specially programmed laptop computer now available (Learn More) to store personal information in the user’s home can facilitate direct access of vital signs information and analysis by a doctor from a medical office or clinic.

The trick is to alert the doctor that a person’s vital signs need to be looked at. This is where the user or a loved one such as a daughter, son, sister, brother or a good friend can check the latest vital signs readings for variances from the medical office’s established guidelines (Learn more) and alert the doctor if there are changes. And, the loved one can be located in another city or town and be granted access to the user’s laptop with a secure, personal password that the user has set up to prevent unauthorized entry to the laptop computer’s files.

To complement these wonderful advancements in personal health monitoring for elderly people, new software is now available to set up an Electronic Personal Medical Record (Learn More) that provides information on a person’s Familial History, Personal Medical History, Surgical History, recent Medications Taken, Lab Results and Physical Examination Results. The software sets up these records in secure files that cannot be accessed by anyone without a personal, secure password. For an elderly person who might experience a health crisis while traveling or being away from home, immediate access to a Personal Health Record could be lifesaving in the event treatment by a medical expert had to begin before records were available from a doctor’s office during the night or on a weekend.

I am a computer programmer focused on developing software and systems that help families of elderly people monitor their health so they can continue to live independently in their advancing years.

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