SINGAPORE: A pilot trial for wireless sensor technology has been launched in two HDB studio apartments to track elderly residents' movements.
The new technology has sensors that can detect movements as well as track sleeping patterns such as snoring and breathing. It also has a remote server that is paired to the phones of families and caregivers.
It has been installed in two studio apartments in Golden Clover, Block 196 Kim Keat, as part of a trial that aims to improve home care for the elderly.
Madam Ng Siew Eng, 78, has been living alone in her studio apartment since last year. When she first moved in, she was scared of living alone. "If I fell, no one would know," she said.
There is an alarm system in her home, which requires her to pull a cord in times of emergency to alert the authorities. But now a more reliable system is being tested.
Madam Ng's flat has been fitted with wireless sensors that can track her daily movements and establish her normal movement patterns, so that anything unusual can be detected. She can also press an emergency button, which will trigger an alert to her family.
Senior Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Josephine Teo visited this studio apartment fitted with the new monitoring system on Sunday (Nov 27). She said that timeliness is a priority when it comes to responding to the needs of the elderly.
"It gives the elderly a way to lead an independent life, but at the same time that they enjoy this independence. We also have to be mindful that there will be occasions that they need help," she said. "We need to try out different methods by which this help can be rendered in a timely manner, and yet not be overly intrusive into their lives."
The nine-month trial, that started earlier in November, is a collaboration between Adventist Home for the Elders and local technology start-up ConnectedLife.
It will be tested in 10 other studio apartments in February and will be commercially available early next year, when households can rent it for about S$30 a month.