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RFID Wearables Remotely Monitor Seniors to Improve Care

Senior citizens comprise the world’s fastest-growing population group. Within the next 50 years, their number is expected to double from the current 10% to 22% (700 million to 1.4 billion people). They present a growing challenge for healthcare, as seniors frequently suffer from chronic mental and physical diseases. They also require expensive medical care and ongoing monitoring. 90% of the nursing home beds are currently occupied by seniors and this number is expected to grow rapidly. However, the resources available for healthcare services are limited. This issue has triggered a requirement for technology-driven changes to current healthcare practices to provide better assistance. Such solutions help seniors to be more autonomous and self-reliant in taking care of their own health, which results in fewer hospital visits and better care management. [1]

For seniors, falling can be a serious health risk. Each year, three million people are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries and one out of four seniors has a serious fall, but there are options for preventing falls. One option is to use remote monitoring devices, such as radio frequency identification (RFID) wearables, to enable caregivers to be notified of falls. However, not all seniors feel comfortable using technology, because they don’t understand how to use it. Like those who came of age in the computer era move into their elder years, more seniors are gradually becoming more tech-savvy.

RFID Remote Monitoring Wearables

Design is a vital factor for creating devices like wearables for seniors, since each one needs to be adapted to hearing, vision, and/or mobility challenges. The medical alert devices, like wearables, that are currently popular with seniors reflect many of the design factors that are important to them, such as automated fall detection technology, simple user interfaces, and communication capabilities. Wearables that can effectively educate seniors about their health and enable them to be more active in their healthcare are the most successful. [2]

RFID wearables utilize radio signals to achieve automatic tracking of seniors by using RFID tags that contain electronically stored data. Tags are categorized into being either passive or active. Passive tags collect energy from a nearby RFID reader’s interrogating radio waves, while active tags have a local power source such as a battery and maybe read at distances of hundreds of meters from the RFID reader. In addition, unlike a barcode, the tags don’t need to be within the line of sight of the reader; therefore, an RFID tag may be embedded in the tracked object. Readers are preassigned to specially designated places. They communicate using predefined radio frequencies and protocols. [3]

RFID and WSN Integrated Solutions

The growing number of seniors yields an increased demand for assisted living solutions that can permit them to live safely and independently in their own homes. An integrated in-home care solution, enabled with wireless sensor networks (WSN) and RFID technology provides assisted living and improved care via home surveillance, medication usage reminders, and early warnings of a potentially dangerous situation, such as fire or gas leakage. The integration of WSN and RFID into an in-home care solution that enables real-time remote monitoring of the elderly and their homes. The WSN modules monitor the surrounding home environment using a collection of sensor nodes.

The sensor network in the assisted living solution uses WSN modules and various analog sensors. It enables elders monitoring, in-home surveillance, and urgent events notification. RFID is a system of storing and retrieving data, similar to barcode technology. It uses small, unobtrusive identification tags, which enable identification of people and items. The RFID system realized within the proposed solution provides elder people presence indication and memory enhancement through items and medication usage reminders.

Gathering Date from RFID Wearables

Using an RFID wearable can do far more for a senior’s health than alert a loved one about a fall. They can help them to easily view changes in their health patterns and become more proactive, which can drive earlier intervention and treatment. As these devices evolve to include predictive analytics, video, and voice recognition, they’ll become even better suited to the unique needs of seniors. While better design can make it easier for seniors to use wearables, physicians can help promote their adoption, and benefits from wearing them.

In order to help avoid major health issues, such as falls, and help stabilize chronic health conditions, data captured over a long period of time can enable physicians to view changes and shifts in their patients’ actions. As seniors become more active participants in their care, wearables open up two-way communication and create opportunities to integrate these devices into healthcare. Physicians who actively encourage their senior patients to use these devices will be able to understand when a patient’s health may be deteriorating, or when intervention is needed.

Backed by 40 Years of Expertise

We contribute our 40 years of design and manufacturing expertise spanning multiple diverse markets, and we look forward to discussing how we can deliver world-class products for OEMs across the globe. We understand our home India market, familiar with its vast regulatory and selling environments. We foster growth opportunities within India through our strong technology incubation ecosystem. We also assist global companies seeking to enter the Indian market by leveraging the local supply chain and favorable operating environments for cost reductions.

Over the years, we’ve manufactured several different kinds of boards that are used for gas detectors. These detectors are mainly used for industrial HVAC control systems. Besides facilitating ventilation control, they monitor controlled combustion in industrial furnaces and measure oxygen levels in confined spaces, which improves indoor air quality. Working as an OEM partner, we’ve developed these boards for several Fortune 500s, as well as for large companies based in Europe and India.

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