Seniors trialling Holly home safety monitors

Seniors may not always be the keenest to use new technology, but trials are now underway to help elderly people stay in their own homes rather than move into care.

The City of Greater Geelong has partnered with Samsung Australia and Deakin University to develop a new monitoring device and system that can track elderly users’ behavior and alert appropriate care providers if anything unusual happens.
The hope is that the system, known as Holly, will permit people to live in their own homes for longer, preserving their independence. The main difference between Holly and more traditional telecare systems is that it uses an algorithm to monitor sensors placed around the house. Once the system has got used to the regular motion, temperature, humidity and vibration readings gathered by these sensors, it has a good idea of the owner’s usual patterns for getting out of bed, taking showers, and going about their daily routine. If something anomalous happens, such as a fall or a trip, or a stove being left on for too long, the system can raise the alarm with carers.

In addition, Holly can remind owners about their daily medication and remind them to drink enough water. The inventor of the system, Professor Kon Mouzakis, said he was inspired to build the system to help his own elderly mother who was determined not to go into a care home for as long as possible. The system provides support for her, and reassurance for himself and his family.

The data gathered by the system is stored locally, with care providers only being contacted in the event of an emergency.

One of the trial participants, Alison McArthur, has reported that the new technology goes a long way towards giving her family peace of mind, despite severe back problems and her needing to use a stick to get around. The trials are continuing through the year, and it’s hoped that the system will start being sold internationally within the next eighteen months.