Using Motion Sensors To Stay In Your Home Longer

Every morning, motion sensors track Joyce Denning as she rises from bed, goes into the bathroom, opens the refrigerator, moves around the living room and strolls out her apartment door.

Joyce Dennings movements around her apartment in Chisago City are tracked by QuietCare motion sensors, like the one on the wall at right, that compare them with her normal routine and send an alert if theres inconsistency. (Scott Takushi, Pioneer Press)

A computer checks those movements against the 78-year-old’s daily routines and alerts nursing staff when something seems out of the ordinary — like too many trips to the bathroom or restlessness in bed or no motion at all.

The monitoring system has helped Denning remain in her Chisago City apartment for two years — despite a gradual waning of strength in her legs — and avoid moving to an assisted-living or nursing home that would cost more and take away some freedom.

Whether it seems like Big Brother to an outsider, the monitoring doesn’t bother Denning one bit. Well, except for when she polishes her gold rings and pendants in the bathroom. The first couple of times, the sensors set off alarms because it seemed like she had been in the bathroom too long and might have suffered a fall.

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