Technology as a Helping Hand

There are many devices on the market designed to increase safety and assist family caregivers. While you already might be using simple technology, such as a baby monitor, here is a sample of some other products created with elderly homecare consumers in mind.

I’ve Fallen, and I Can’t Get Up

Personal emergency response systems (PERS), sometimes called medical emergency response systems, give you and your loved one an extra layer of protection. They let you call for help in an emergency with the push of a button and sometimes even without a button.

You can buy, rent or lease a PERS, but they come with an installation fee and a monthly monitoring charge. These costs typically are not covered by insurance plans, although some hospitals and social service agencies subsidize the device for low-income users.

Other monitoring systems include video cameras in the home that can be accessed on a computer or your smartphone so you can monitor movement.


With the advent of telehealth services, it is becoming more common to be able to have virtual doctor visits or other health and safety monitoring services from a distance. Typically the services are provided via a computer link or over the phone, allowing your loved one to stay in place. Check with your doctor or your home health or homecare agency to see what telehealth services are offered and/or covered.

Medication Help

Worried that pills are not being taken at the right time or the right dose? There are remote medication dispensing and monitoring systems that can be programmed to dispense the correct dosage at the right time, as well as to notify caregivers if pills are not taken. Check with your homecare agency for more information.

Fall-Prevention Lighting

If you’re worried about your loved one falling at night, invest in lighting systems designed to automatically light up when someone steps on a pressure pad beside the bed. The lights will turn off when the person returns to bed.

Floor-Mat Alarm

For loved ones who have a tendency to wander, you can purchase a mat and place it by a doorway or next to the bed. It will sound an alarm if someone steps on it.

Home Motion Sensors

Several systems are designed to inform you about your loved one’s activity levels. These updates will give others a sense of what’s going on at home if you’re running errands and alert you if your loved one is unusually inactive and may need help.

Independent Living Aids

There are countless products and appliances that make everyday activities easier – from eating and preparing food to bathing and dressing.

  • Kitchen items: easy-to-grip silverware, self-opening scissors, plate guards
  • Bedroom items: bed bars, hip pads for fall protection, night lights
  • Bathroom items: shower seats, toilet risers, long-handled scrub brushes
  • Personal care products: no-rinse shampoo and body wash, buttonhooks, zipper pulls, pumps for soap and toothpaste

Try It Before You Buy It

Pennsylvania’s Assistive Technology Lending Library through the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University is a free service that lends devices to Pennsylvanians of all ages and disabilities. Your loved one, family members, friends or someone who is helping with assistive technology, such as a therapist or counselor, may make requests.

For information and to view the catalog of equipment available, visit or call 1-800-204-7428


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