Post CES reflection on role of technology and Alzheimer's.
Boston, mid-May, 2016
This news item makes me very angry and should enrage you as well -- but you don't have to be a futurist to see how it could and should be prevented -- in assisted living facilities as well as nursing homes. So two teenage aides who were 'working' at a Minnesota nursing home -- ironically run by the 'Good Samaritans' -- have been charged this week with extreme abuse of multiple Alzheimer's residents over many months. The mug shots of these girls are now on the Internet. And the nursing home administrator is reportedly experiencing great angst after firing some folks and boosting background checks and training of aides. How nice.
But the technology to prevent this in the future is simple and cheap, available today, and should be in every assisted living facility and nursing home that has residents with dementia. Web cameras in every room. RFID tags on staff and RFID-tagged passes handed to visitors -- with signs throughout the facility that say "Webcams in operation to protect residents" as a deterrent to nutcases like these girls. Upon admission, family members sign a release offering permission for the camera to protect the resident.
So there is now a history of arrival and departure from the room of every resident, including the residents themselves. Aides can wave to the web camera (for example, Axis) as they are arriving and departing from the room. And the RFID tag enables information to be collected centrally, perhaps evaluated by intelligent software that detects patterns that are atypical. And if someone walks into a room without a pass, a doorway body sensor alarm sounds. All cheap, all available now. And all facilities could be retrofitted to have them.
Now, wouldn't everyone feel better about the safety of these elderly residents who can no longer protect or defend themselves?