Technology Allows the Elderly to Stay in Homes


"It's more than just about a cell phone, it's about staying safe," GreatCall CEO David Inns said. "We can use constant contact to get people engaged daily in thinking about their health and safety."

Starting at $14.99 per month, users receive interactive in-bound calls that ask the user a series of questions related to their health and well being. If the user misses several phone calls, or if their answers require further assistance, GreatCall will inform an emergency contact or will connect them with a live operator immediately. That service is available on all plans for an additional $5 per month.

Another aspect of the plan is "Live Nurse," a way for users to contact a registered nurse who is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer any medical questions or help them take the next step in their care, whether it be going to an emergency room or contacting a loved one.

Caregivers are also able to see their loved ones' response to the interactive calls, stage medication reminders or add calendar appointments around the clock at If the need it, users can also call an operator to help with those tasks and others at any time.

"People should look at the provider they choose for the solution," he said. "There are things you can do that are going to help you or your parents be better connected, safer and healthier, and give you peace of mind."

5Star Personal Security, a brand-new feature that will debut in March, allows users to get in touch with an operator who will immediately know who the caller is, their location (using GPS technology) and a plethora of other information that's included on their personal profile that can be managed on

Among other things, the operator will be able to access emergency contacts, health conditions and medications that the callers have stored in their profile, and if there is an emergency the operator will immediately connect the users with 911 or a family member, and will remain in contact until the problem is solved.

"What we believe is not enough people think about their help in between doctor's office, using the cell phone, we can change that," he said.

Preventing House Fires

The Safe-T-element, by Pioneering Technology.

"Stove-top cooking is the No. 1 cause of home fires," said Laird Comber of Pioneering Technology, based in Ontario. "We are not only reducing stove-top fires, we are statistically eliminating them."

The Safe-T-element cooking system is a set of cover plates that are installed over each burner. The electronically controlled plate limits the temperature of the burner to 662 degrees, below the ignition point of oil and other cooking materials at 700 degrees. An uncovered burner could reach up to 1,291 degrees, Comber said.

A set of four plates, including installation, is $250, and the product also offers energy savings.

"We don't require as much energy," Comber said. "You can save upwards to $65 per stove, per year."

The Safe-T-element can be purchased through Pioneering Technology's website.

Medication Reminders

The Advanced Alarm Pill Reminder by VitaCarry.

More than 76 percent of Americans older than 60 use two or more prescription medications, and 37 percent use five or more. What's disconcerting is that 57 percent of those 65 and older admit that they forget to take their medications, according to the AARP.

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