According to an article in the South China Morning Post as Hong Kong’s population ages and the demand for residential care home for the elderly (RCHE) places becomes unsustainable, there will be rise in “ageing in place”, where elderly persons stay at home and rely on community centres to provide care during the daytime. Therefore, not only RCHE operators but also families and community centres must learn what technology is available to keep this vulnerable group safe. In this post, we will take a closer look at what anti-wandering systems are available today.
Anti-wandering bracelets used in tandem with wireless door alarms
The anti-wandering bracelets themselves are detachable devices worn either on the wrist or ankle and are particularly suited for the care of those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. They are connected wirelessly to one or more door alarms. The benefit of this is that they allow the wearer to have the freedom to move around an area, but if movement towards a particular doorway is detected, a local alarm will sound.
Anti-wandering bracelets, though useful, do have some drawbacks though – most notably that they can be removed by the wearer and the functionality of a device will deteriorate over time, posing increased danger as well as reoccurring costs. As such, they should only form part of an overall anti-wandering solution.
Exit alarms are a simple solution to alert caregivers if a door or window has been opened or a certain area has been approached. They can take the form of door or window alarms or floor mat alarms. The alarms can be triggered when an exit point is physically opened or used in combination with a wireless, wearable wrist or ankle anti-wandering bracelet to alert caregivers if the wearer is near to an exit point.
Again, as with anti-wandering bracelets, exit alarms are not failsafe and should not be totally relied upon to keep elderly persons secure.
Wireless bed exit alarms and fall alarms for the elderly
These alarms use motion sensors to detect if an elderly person has exited their bed and, depending on the type of sensor, are able to detect falls. They will then either emit an audible alarm or alert a caregiver through a pager. The pager can also often be connected to emergency call buttons for an elderly person to gain the attention of their caregiver. Sensor mats can also be used as chair alarms to let the appropriate person know if someone has stood up.
It should be mentioned though that while these types of alarms provide important alerts, they do not prevent falls from occurring if the caregiver is not able respond quickly enough.
Smart anti-wandering systems
Advances in CCTV, software and the Internet of Things (IoT) have allowed a new breed of anti-wandering systems to emerge. These “smart caregiver solutions”, though especially useful for larger facilities, such as community centres and residential care homes for the elderly, private residences can also benefit from them.
Smart anti-wandering solutions are based on software which works with existing CCTV surveillance systems to provide facial recognition capabilities. By tracking the faces of elderly residents, access points and other areas can be monitored non-intrusively without the need for wearable devices or even window and door alarms. When a subject enters a pre-defined area, an alert is sent to a caregiver. Adding and removing subjects and defining off-limit areas is a simple process, thereby reducing operational costs and workload.
In addition to helping to keep elderly residents safe, smart caregiver solutions are also able to provide other useful information to the staff of elderly care homes or community centres, such as recording entry and exit times and attendance, which may assist in administration.
So, those are the anti-wandering systems available today. Wearable devices, alarms and sensors are good, simple anti-wandering solutions, but both private residences and larger care centres should certainly be looking into smart solutions to keep the elderly safe.
Learn more about Guardforce Hong Kong’s Smart Guard anti-wandering solution
To understand all the benefits Guardforce Hong Kong’s Smart Guard anti-wandering solution, see our post on the Benefits of Installing the Smart Guard Anti-Wandering Solution in Your Elderly Care Home and also download the product brochure here.