Just last month we brought you this timely story on the AgingOptions blog about how technology is helping families keep a watchful eye on the health of their aging loved ones – a need that’s especially acute during this months-long pandemic. “Families may be growing increasingly worried about their aging parents,” we wrote. “Are mom and dad taking their prescriptions? Are they getting up on time? Is their blood pressure still under control?”
New Remote Health Monitoring Service Alleviates Worry During the Pandemic
That report was based on this New York Times article by reporter Susan Garland that described how the answer to those worries may lie in newer technology that “can help families monitor the health and safety of older people kept from their families by the coronavirus.” Now there’s a brand-new service called BUDDY that uses the power of artificial intelligence combined with readily-available tech – a smartwatch and an iPhone – to make remote monitoring simpler and easier than ever. What’s more, because the service is all new, you and your family can sign up for the beta version for a limited time, for just $1.99 per month. We’ll tell you more in a moment.
According to the New York Times, “sales of products and services aimed at protecting the health and safety of the homebound elderly are ‘skyrocketing’” during the pandemic. And it’s not just seniors living alone who are being monitored. One industry expert told the Times that senior living communities and health care providers are also are buying devices to monitor residents whose loved ones are staying away for fear of transmitting the coronavirus.
The BUDDY Remote Health Monitoring System is Designed for Simplicity
What makes BUDDY’s technology unique? We’re intrigued by its simplicity and reliability, combined with amazing capability. “BUDDY is an app running on your loved one’s FitBit or Apple smartwatch,” the company’s website explains. “A companion app runs on your smartphone.” All you have to do is select the health and safety categories you want to track, and BUDDY does the rest, using sensors on your loved one’s smartwatch and sending status reports and alerts directly to your iPhone.
(The beta version of BUDDY is compatible with Fitbit Ionic and Versa smartwatches, with the Apple Smartwatch to be added soon. For now, only the Apple iPhone is supported, but an Android-compatible version is under development and will soon be released.)
The BUDDY Remote Health Monitoring System Meets a Wide Range of Needs
As we reported last month, the best of the new technological systems can address a multitude of needs, and the BUDDY certainly meets that standard. For example, BUDDY is a fall detector, automatically sensing and reporting when your loved one has taken a potentially dangerous tumble. “You can set it to send an alert to you, another caregiver, a health professional, or a first-responder such as an emergency medical provider,” says the company website. If everything’s fine, your loved one can send an all-clear signal with a tap on the watch. What’s more, over time, the system adapts to your loved one’s stride and cadence using machine-learning, reducing the incidence of false alarms.
What Else Can BUDDY Do? The List Is Impressive
- Medication Alert: With BUDDY, your loved one won’t miss taking prescription medication. The system uses your smartphone’s camera to scan and store the medication, dosage, and frequency. Once activated, if a medication is missed, you or any other caregiver will receive an alert.
- Safety Alert: If a loved one is ever somewhere where they feel unsafe, BUDDY provides instant peace of mind. Using the sensors in your smartwatch, BUDDY can let others know the wearer’s precise location. Any time your loved one feels threatened in any way, a simple tap on the screen of their smartwatch can send an instantaneous alert to family members or emergency services.
- Boundary Alert: For loved ones prone to wander, BUDDY’s Boundary Alert service is a godsend. “Set a designated spot and the radius around it that will be safe for your loved ones to travel,” the website explains. “If your loved one wanders outside the virtual boundaries you’ve set, BUDDY sends an alert to caregivers. Caregiver or emergency service providers then can safely guide your loved one back home.”
- Vital Sign Alert: BUDDY intelligently monitors your loved one’s vital signs, watching for unexplained changes in heart rate. Blood pressure can be manually entered into the BUDDY watch or app, or entered automatically by pairing with a third-party device (in partnership with iHealth Labs). Caregivers receive an alert when anomalies occur, and all information can be sent directly to a physician if desired.
With BUDDY, alerts can go out to multiple smartphones – a huge advantage for families where several siblings share caregiving responsibilities. All the caregiver needs to do is provide an email address and download the BUDDY app onto their phone. A customizable dashboard on each caregiver’s smartphone displays the important information you select concerning your loved one’s health.
Remote Health Monitoring: Do Your Homework
As we wrote last month, people shopping for remote health monitoring systems will face a bewildering array of options and prices. But if you act soon, you’ll find you can’t beat BUDDY’s price: the beta test version of the service is now being offered for just $1.99 per month for a limited time. All you’ll have to do is to provide the iPhone and the smartwatch, and be willing to share information about your experience as a BUDDY user. Sign up at www.buddylife.com.
At first blush, we think BUDDY will give seniors and their families exceptional peace of mind. Using artificial intelligence, the system appears to be a versatile, reliable, 24/7 companion for elderly loved ones, letting them live independently longer, feel safer, and stay more connected with their families. At the same time, as the website says, “those families can enjoy unprecedented peace of mind knowing that the seniors they care about are staying safe and healthy!”
Join Rajiv Nagaich Soon for a Hosted LifePlanning Webinar
At AgingOptions our chief desire is to help you prepare for the kind of retirement you’ve always dreamed of having. Toward that end, we want to share the powerful principles of LifePlanning even during this period when most of us are required to avoid gathering in groups.
Rest assured, we’re monitoring local regulations and will resume in-person seminars as soon as they can be safely held. But for now, Rajiv Nagaich has scheduled several of his popular, free LifePlanning Seminars in the form of webinars that you can watch conveniently at home. Simply visit our Events Page and register for the webinar of your choice.
We also want to remind you of another vitally important service during the pandemic. In cooperation with our partners at LifePoint Law, we have launched a ground-breaking service called the LifePoint Law Emergency Legal Kit. Without leaving your home, you can now consult with a LifePoint Law attorney who will work with you to prepare and sign a complete set of vitally important legal documents including both Financial and Healthcare Powers of Attorney, a Living Will/Advance Directive, a Will or Trust, and much more. Click on the link or call us at AgingOptions and we’ll explain this excellent service to you.
A comprehensive, reliable retirement planning strategy has never been more important – and that’s our promise to you at AgingOptions and LifePoint Law. Age on!
(originally reported at www.nytimes.com plus original material)