I’ve written a number of times about 24-7 monitoring services and personal safety devices. My mother-in-law was supposed to wear one around her neck for — well, 24 hours a day. Except that she didn’t. At first she wore it. Then she took it off with the rest of her jewelry each evening. Then she only wore it when we visited. Finally we cancelled the service, because she found the it was too intrusive.
When it comes to supporting elder parents, so much is about respecting their wishes and not assuming that your good idea is good for them. It’s also about asking what they want and how they wish to be helped.
Paula Span’s article To Reach Seniors, Tech Start-ups Must First Relate to Them describes the predicament well. The October 26, 2015 piece explains how ideas that people have for elder adult products are often not at all successful and, more importantly, not what people want. She also writes about the preoccupation of many product developers with monitoring seniors — something that seems important to well-meaning adult children but not to that many seniors. Continue reading