Caring for Seniors using technology – It’s easier




This is a story about a senior (me) taking care of my friend and companion who is also a senior. I am using technology to some degree to keep an eye on her when I can’t be right there in her room. I’m using a wireless camera with night vision capability. I have a laptop set up next to my bed and the camera is set up in her “recover room” pointed at her bed. Once lights are out in her room, I can retire to my room but can easily watch her and yes, can hear her should she call out in the night. It’s not that I stay awake all night looking at the streaming image, but should I wake up I can take a look to make sure she is sleeping okay. It’s a comfort to both of us.

One of the photo’s I included in this blog, while it’s difficult to make out, is a picture of one of my laptops in the living room next to my TV. I can watch TV AND monitor her. When it came time to cook breakfast, I picked the laptop up, disconnected it from the power and took it into the kitchen and could could continue to keep an eye on her. I included the photo of my “therapy dogs”, just for fun.

I think this capability is very much under utilized. While we do have Skype for conversations, being able to monitor someone 24/7 who is in the next room or 4000 miles away is such a great use of this technology when it becomes necessary.

These cameras have built in intelligence so the user can pan and tilt the camera if necessary no matter the distance. While the cameras that I use cost around $130, there are many types and price ranges. I’m not going to say that for the average person, setting these up is easy. My recommendations is to find someone who can do it for you and will take 30 minutes to show you how to use it. Admittedly not everyone needs them, but I wanted to mention them. If one reader of my blog thinks it might help them in a given situation, it’s worth my time to have the discussion.

The camera I use has the capability to record to a removable chip inside it which can allow you to download the video’s to your PC. Most of these cameras can be set up to record wireless directly to your PC’s hard drive also. These are a little less expensive because you don’t have to purchase the SD chip which can hold video clips that it captures when the camera detects motion. There is a manual record capability as well as the capability to snap a still photo. Generally neither is necessary but it is possible should you need to record video or snap a photo.

When not in care giver mode, I dedicate all 3 of my cameras to security duty in strategic places around my house. With this use I do turn on the motion function so it only records when there is movement within the cameras range. It can capture sound as well. I have the internal timer set to only record at night after I go to bed and it shuts off during the day.

When using cameras for care giving purpose, make sure that you inform the “patient” or loved one. I do not record video or audio out of privacy concerns when using my camera under these circumstances.

As always, if you have questions about anything I write about, please contact me.

David Winslow

About David Winslow

I'm a life long member of the greater Bangor Community. My journey includes 26 years in the USAF, retiring in 1994. I am a graduate of Husson University (class of '73') where I obtained a four year degree in Business Administration. I've been a caregiver for my mother, worked in law enforcement, private security, volunteered in the community and now have a small computer repair business. I live in Brewer with my two dogs, Zoe and Dani.