Remote Elder Care

Nursing HomeMy Mom will not stop calling. Someone is stealing her socks.

Two or three times a day she calls me from the nursing home. She doesn’t even remember that she’s called before.

I told her I was going to take her socks away but then she started accusing me of stealing them.

She obsesses about it. I don’t like to see her upset. She also calls once a week about her medications. She thinks someone at the home is trying to switch her meds for cyanide. It’s crazy. I visit her every week, but sometimes I think I need to be there more often to calm her down. Then again, sometimes I think I should be there less.

She lives about an hour away and that makes it more difficult to keep up with her situation.

I was thinking about using the internet.

One of my friends in Southern California leaves his puppy at a puppy day care. They have remote viewing cameras around their compound and he can go onto the Internet at work and monitor the puppy all day.

I don’t know what his employer thinks of that, but I love the concept. Why are we more concerned about watching our pets than we are about watching our Moms?

The nursing home can mount cameras in each of the rooms, hallways, and cafeteria. We can connect to each camera via the Internet and watch what’s going on.

Then I can tell Mom, “Look, Mom, I’ve been watching your room the entire time you were at the cafeteria and nobody came in and stole your socks.”

I can even call her cell phone during dinner. “Shouldn’t you be eating some of that watermelon, Mom? You love watermelon and haven’t eaten any of it.”

The nursing homes should put daily blood pressure, temperature, and current medications on the internet anyway. So I can check every day.

IV’s, blood pressure, oxygen, and all that are already monitored electronically. All they need to do is patch it into their web site so I can monitor it. With a password, of course.

We wouldn’t want just anyone to see Mom’s vitals. There might be a privacy issue.

I could call up the nursing station. “You know, Mom’s blood pressure is up a little this morning. Don’t you think she needs a little more whatever.”

It would help the staff. I’m sure they would appreciate it.

We might not stop there. Medication from the IV is already controlled remotely. Give me the ability to do it from home, over the Internet. Mom is calling a few too many times about her cyanide pills. Give her a little more sedation.

If she’s not on an IV we’ll hook one up. The nursing homes and drug companies will both jump on this: decreased staffing and increased drug use. I can see everyone with an IV pole on their wheelchair and a Wi-Fi antenna on the top of the pole.

Continuous monitoring. Immediate feedback.

By feedback I mean drug administration.

“Not worried about those socks anymore, are you, Mom?”

(Don’t write in. You know I’m just kidding!)

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