For many family caregivers, their jobs could be much easier if they simply had access to more information. Priya Patel, who we interviewed for this Skylar Spotlight, cares for a grandfather who can do his own chores for the most part, but who is, at any given time at risk of falling and not being able to get quick help. This is where Skylar comes in.
As discussed in our Spotlight on falls, Skylar’s wristwatch has a sensor in it, called an accelerometer, which measures movement and forces on the user and can detect an unusual movement or high level of force. Another one of Skylar’s sensors can measure heart rate and blood oxygen levels, which especially handy for seniors living with cardiac conditions, COPD and asthma.
If Skylar noticed anything strange, it asks the senior if they need help. If the senior says they do, Skylar asks if they want emergency services to come or simply an emergency contact, like a family caregiver. This is important, since not every incident needs to send the senior to the emergency room. Plus, if the only method of help is such an expensive one, the senior may not be nearly as inclined to call for help and this can affect their health even more down the road. If the senior wants just an emergency contact, like a family caregiver, to respond, Skylar notifies the contact and stays on line with the senior until that contact arrives. If the senior does need medical attention or doesn’t respond, then emergency services are contacted and their emergency contacts are kept in the loop.
These same sensors can also tell family caregivers if the senior is wearing Skylar in the first place. As one woman we interviewed recalled after her mother’s fatal heart attack, “I was cleaning out her drawers and found her Life Alert stuffed in one. Maybe if she had been wearing it, she could’ve gotten help.”
All of this is especially valuable to family caregiver. They can spend less time and effort wondering if everything is okay, since they know they’ll be alerted if something does happen, and they can be assured that, even if they can’t respond, that their loved one will get help quickly.
Even outside of emergencies, Skylar can help family caregivers by managing complicated information in a simple way. From Skylar’s app, caregivers can log the senior’s medications – schedule, quantity left, date to refill a prescription, notes (like any precautions), and more. This removes a majority of the guesswork, making it both easier and safer to manage medications. It also sends reminders directly to the senior’s Skylar wristwatch to take the medications– since you know if they’re wearing it, you’ll know if they get it.
Skylar keeps track of the senior’s appointments in a similar way and can send reminders in preparation for them. For example, if a loved one is having a blood test a couple weeks later, you can schedule it in Skylar’s app and set a reminder for the senior to stop eating 12 hours before the appointment. Even if you remember the appointment at the last minute, Skylar will still automatically send that reminder.
We at Skylar recognize the critical role family caregivers play in seniors’ health – any solution that aims to improve senior health needs to also improve things for family caregivers. By providing information during an emergency, Skylar can help loved ones get help quicker and keep caregivers in the loop. And by managing information from one, simple app, Skylar can remove a lot of the guesswork and complexity that usually comes with senior care.
Next time, we’ll explore how Skylar can help seniors living with dementia.