New device can help provide peace of mind
Contributing columnist Lenna Scott GRID: Senior column tease pic
Updated: September 4, 2012 9:53PM
Keeping track of a senior living at home with dementia can be a major concern for caregivers, but a Buffalo Grove businessman is introducing to the community a new product that he believes provides peace of mind.
“The Vega personal locating wristwatch has built in GPS and cell phone capabilities,” said Steve Klopfer of Independence Lifestyles.
Klopfer listed several reasons why the Vega watch is better than other, similar devices.
The Vega watch appears to the user like a regular watch, he said, but cannot be removed without a special key so that an individual with dementia cannot take it off and leave it.
“If the wearer wanders away from a safe zone an alarm can go off to whatever caregiver they designate,” Klopfer explained.
The alerts can be sent via phone, text message or emails. The Vega sends signals to a home base while the senior is in the home, but when the senior wanders beyond the range of the base the device switches to GPS and GSM technologies, the same technologies that allows GPS devices and cell phones to operate.
“You are not concerned about range,” Klopfer explained. “When you leave the home it sets of a new set of technology that allows tracking anywhere. You can’t do that with a traditional panic system.”
The Vega watch also allows for tracking utilizing Google Maps. A caregiver can go online and then find out not only where the wearer is, but also the route they followed to get there.
Like a traditional panic button the “wearer can press a panic button if they know they need help,” he added.
Whether the panic is activated intentionally, or because the senior wandered out of a prescribed range, Klopfer said a caregiver who is not with the senior can talk to the person who is wearing the watch because each watch has a direct phone number associated with it. If a caregiver is concerned they can call the number associated with the watch and talk directly with the wearer. A speaker and microphone within the watch allows the senior and caregiver to have a conversation.
Klopfer says this product is not only valuable for seniors, but also for adults with developmental delays and individuals with autism. The watch costs almost $700 and does have a monthly fee for the monitoring and alert service.
Independence Lifestyles can be reached online at www.independenceLifestyles.com or by calling (847) 372-9999.
“This product is going to make a big difference in a lot of people’s lives,” Klopfer concluded.~.
Lenna Scott is the director of marketing at The Wealshire, a short-term rehab, skilled nursing and assisted living community in Lincolnshire. She lives in Buffalo Grove with her husband and two children.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.