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'I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!' v2.0 155

Posted by timothy
from the when-skype-isn't-enough dept.
theodp writes "Remember those old Lifecall commercials? Well, you've come a long way, Grandma! The NY Times reports on a raft of new technology that's making it possible for adult children to remotely monitor to a stunningly precise degree the daily movements and habits of their aging parents. The purpose is to provide enough supervision to allow elderly people to stay in their homes rather than move to an assisted-living facility or nursing home. Systems like GrandCare, BeClose, QuietCare, and MedMinder allow families to keep tabs on Mom and Dad's whereabouts, and make sure they take their meds. Perhaps Zynga can make a game out of all this — GeriatricVille?"
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'I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!' v2.0

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  • Re:great (Score:3, Informative)

    by brasselv (1471265) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @06:25PM (#33098290)

    luddism [wikipedia.org] anyone?
    just because a technology is available, it does not automatically make us more evil.

    Along those same lines, you could argue that phone is inherently bad - as it is no substitute for comanionship. (phone is not bad: it is just an additional useful tool, to be used wisely)

  • Re:great (Score:3, Informative)

    by westlake (615356) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @08:26PM (#33098856)

    The alternative is an archaic system of elder care called "families". I understand it was practiced in some parts of the world back in the 20th century.

    Families were often much larger.

    Three kids. Six kids.

    Families were often much less mobile.

    Five generations of our own family still live within the same township.

    Jobs for women outside the household were still scarce.

    Before World War Two it wasn't at all unusual for a middle class family of relatively modest income to employ full or part time help.

    The alternatives to home care were few and often quite bleak.

    Even today, there are only two nursing homes locally that I would willingly place anyone.

  • Re:great (Score:5, Informative)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @08:39PM (#33098888)

    You might also remember most were not middle class, most were poor. Those poor folks that made all this possible often had horrible lives, the middle class therefore had it's luxury on the backs of these other people.

  • Re:great (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 31, 2010 @09:21PM (#33099012)

    Before World War Two it wasn't at all unusual for a middle class family of relatively modest income to employ full or part time help

    Before WW-II was the Great Depression. Unemployment was over 50%. I doubt that many had hired help during that time.

  • Re:great (Score:3, Informative)

    by westlake (615356) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @11:55PM (#33099508)

    Before WW-II was the Great Depression. Unemployment was over 50%. I doubt that many had hired help during that time.

    Unemployment was high - but at its peak, more like 20% than 50%. Great Depression in the United States [wikipedia.org] Race and sex could up those numbers dramatically, of course.

    Not everyone goes bust in hard times - not everyone prospers in boom times.

    If you had a middle class income in the Depression, domestic help was easy to find and cheap.

  • Re:great (Score:3, Informative)

    by DaveGod (703167) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @07:47AM (#33100660)

    The alternative is an archaic system of elder care called "families". I understand it was practiced in some parts of the world back in the 20th century.

    US Life Expectancy [cdc.gov] [PDF]:

    Born 1900: 49

    Born 2000: 77

    Immediately from this we can see the task of looking after an old person is not the same. Very, very unfortunately, this is not even close to being the problem.

    Compounding the life expectancy is the birth rates over the period. For example, in Britain already the number of pensioners exceed the number of children. By 2060 there will be 2 adults of working age for every 1 pensioner. Adults of working age of course includes 16+ year olds, university students and so on, and people in the vital early years of building careers.

    The demographics are frightening. Yet it doesn't end there. There's a massive pensions crisis looming, people are buying homes later and are more debt-ridden - few people have any real capital anymore.

    The demographic time bomb has been well understood, almost from the moment it began ticking. It very likely will have far more severe consequences (at least here in the West) than The Environment, but it's just being swept under the carpet. Let's be clear, the need for pensioners to remain autonomous and allow families to remain working is utterly critical.

Two is not equal to three, even for large values of two.

Working...