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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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  • great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @05:57PM (#33098138) Journal

    Now social services in England will have another excuse not to help people who need human attendance. "This equipment works just as well!" No, some GPS/accelerometer/camera/button is no substitute for the supervision, companionship and observational skill of humans.

    • Re:great (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday July 31, 2010 @06:08PM (#33098188) Homepage Journal

      Now social services in England will have another excuse not to help people who need human attendance.

      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.

      Apparently, here in the brave new world of the 21st century, every relative has to work in order to pay off the credit cards and cell phone bill, so there's insufficient personnel to staff these "families".

      • Re:great (Score:5, Insightful)

        by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @06:19PM (#33098264) Journal

        The alternative is an archaic system of elder care called "families".

        Right, where to begin...

        (1) Yes, families do have the option to look after older members to a certain degree, and it's sad that parents in some societies are encouraged to separate themselves from their children and vice versa;

        (2) But not everyone has children. Recall also that children are a huge unearnt burden to the state, while older people have already paid their national insurance / social security / whatever contributions and are just getting the care they paid for. We are all better off because we do not breed out of concern about our frailties;

        (3) There are certain classes of illnesses better tackled by a staff of trained physical and mental health shift workers. For example, someone who is senile but mobile can be a great danger to themselves. They will keep you up all night. When do you propose to sleep?

        There are lots of poor alternatives to a good system of social welfare, and assuming that everyone has a loving able family of infinite resources produces one of them.

        • Re:great (Score:4, Insightful)

          by SlideGuitar (445691) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @06:48PM (#33098416)

          >(1) Yes, families do have the option to look after older members to a certain degree, and it's sad that parents in some societies are encouraged to separate themselves from their children and vice versa;

          (2) But not everyone has children. Recall also that children are a huge unearnt burden to the state, while older people have already paid their national insurance / social security / whatever contributions and are just getting the care they paid for. We are all better off because we do not breed out of concern about our frailties; >

          My preteen children year old are on firm warning... they can move out of state, but we parents are coming after them and moving into their attics/basements/spare rooms. There is no escape. And we live what we talk, taking care of our mother/mother-in-law next door.

          Are we better off if people do not breed for the purposes of old age insurance? I doubt it. We are better off if people do not breed excessively out of fear that disease will utterly deprive them of offspring for old age, but it is probably more sustainable to "entrain" children in the care of parents out of a sense of duty, than it is to free them to maximize their income and then tax that income to pay "someone else" to provide elder care.

          We might ask "would it not be more efficient for a lawyer or engineer to earn $200 K and pay someone else $50 K to watch an elder?" but that is probably a rare case. The cost of quality care is the cost of middle class income anyway, roughly, so why should this family service be exogenized into the market as opposed to remaining endogenous to the family?

          Well there is ONE very good reason and that is that women are the vastly predominant providers of elder care services. Marketizing those services enables women to have public careers as opposed to be locked into the family care giver role... mother to children, nurse to elders... for their entire life. Families are only "free" if you ignore the lost opportunities they tend to cause for women.

          • We might ask "would it not be more efficient for a lawyer or engineer to earn $200 K and pay someone else $50 K to watch an elder?" but that is probably a rare case.

            On the slim hope that someone actually wants to suggest this, please make sure you also include the names of any cities where they pay engineers $200k, because I want to move there.

          • I'll just warn you (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Sycraft-fu (314770)

            You'd better be nice to your kids, and foster a good relationship. You might think such a thing in mandatory on their part but let me assure you it is not. When they turn 18 (and at any time after) they can sever any and all ties with you. You have no legal claim to force them to care for you. If they want to leave you to fend for yourself, they can.

            I warn this, because I've known more than a couple students that have come through (I work at a university) who's parents seem to assume they should have to pay

            • I was kidding about the firm warning... it's a joke we make, but a joke with a serious point. If our kids move out of state, we plan to follow (some day) and of course we do everything we can to make sure they'll want us, or choose to remain local.

              • Just making sure. Like I said, I've met more than a couple students who's parents had a sort of "You owe us for giving you life," attitude and the response is often "No I don't."

                Personally I wish my parents lived near me, but that's not the way things are and not the way they are likely to be. Maybe some day.

            • You'd better be nice to your kids, and foster a good relationship. You might think such a thing in mandatory on their part but let me assure you it is not. When they turn 18 (and at any time after) they can sever any and all ties with you. You have no legal claim to force them to care for you. If they want to leave you to fend for yourself, they can.

              Actually, many U.S. states and Canadian provinces do have laws that force children to provide support for their parents. Although, they are archaic and rarely

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Velex (120469)

            My preteen children year old are on firm warning... they can move out of state, but we parents are coming after them and moving into their attics/basements/spare rooms. There is no escape.

            If my parents did that, I'd call the cops on them for trespassing just like they did for me. I had to resign a good internship because I wasn't certain where I was living for a few days.

            In hindsight, sure, I was stupid to trust them without a written lease. I should have ditched them when I was 16 instead of waiting for them to upset my life with a 0-day move-out notice.

          • My preteen children year old are on firm warning... they can move out of state, but we parents are coming after them and moving into their attics/basements/spare rooms. There is no escape. And we live what we talk, taking care of our mother/mother-in-law next door.

            No you aren't living what you're talking - you're choosing to take care of your mother in law, you're forcing your children to take care of you. I'm damn glad I'm not your child because you're not only a liar - you're ignorant and stupid enough t

            • Forgot sense of humor?

              We value sticking together... we value it in our mutual decision (hers, mine, my spouse's) to be next door neighbors with our mother/mother in law... we value it in our hopes to remain near our children when they are adults... and we raise our children under the guidance of the always apt maxim "be nice to your children, they may be picking your nursing home... or deciding whether you can live next door or in their house."

              "ignorant", "stupid", "lie" -- seriously, is there an eye rollin

              • Forgot sense of humor?

                There's no logical place for a smiley in your post, nor humorous tone.

                We value sticking together... we value it in our mutual decision

                Except you aren't making a mutual decision with your children - you've already made the decision. You've already decided they're living by your values - regardless of what their turn out to be.

                we raise our children under the guidance of the always apt maxim "be nice to your children, they may be picking your nursing home... or deciding w

            • by Pharmboy (216950)

              Wow, I think you don't quite get it. He can't force his kids to take care of him, but he can lead by example and tell his kids that he wants to stay a family together, and encourage them to do the same. He has a strong desire to help his parents, and instill those values to his kids. Personally, I find this a good thing, not a bad thing. Obviously, his children can always choose to not assist their parents when they are elderly, there is no way to force that issue.

        • Re:great (Score:4, Insightful)

          by rbphilip (530254) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @08:05PM (#33098770)
          I don't have children, step-children or any other variation on extended family, so I'm on my own. Technology that allows me to continue to live on my own when/if I become frail would be welcome. I hope, if I become senile, that it happens gradually and/or with lucid phases so I can remove myself from the population and avoid becoming a vegetable.
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          But not everyone has children.

          Even people without children often have families. Growing up, my great aunt who was a "spinster" lived with us until her death in '72.

          Because she was part of our family.

      • Re:great (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @06:40PM (#33098378)
        Not sure how old you are, but as your parents age, you may find your parents value their independence and won't necessarily want their children around mollycoddling them. These gadgets, used judiciously, make for the best of both worlds - Your parents can continue to live independently in surroundings in which they're comfortable and to which they've grown accustomed, but they still can summon help if they need it. That doesn't mean you shouldn't come around with their grandkids or show up for Sunday dinner or mow dad's lawn or take mum out for brunch, it just means everyone can continue to have peace of mind.
        • This becomes more of a problem. If you are 60 years old, with some health problems of your own and still working for a few more years, do you really have time to look after your 85-90 year old parents? You can't very well be all day care, you still have to work, and you have commitments to your own health as well outside of that. Also the conditions of extremely advanced age can be much, much worse than younger, requiring nearly continuous attention of some kind.

          The people who look back to the "family did e

          • we are currently taking care of grandma. Built a cottage for her. Now my wife's dad is moving in with us for an undetermined length of time.
            While it is the right thing for us to do for our family, it is neither ideal or a walk in the park.
            We are hoping to find a house very local (within a block or two) for dad, so he can have his own space (and we can have ours), yet still be close enough to provide care.
            -nB

      • by mangu (126918) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @06:53PM (#33098438)

        In the 20th century, which you remember so fondly, it was a woman's job to be a mother and housewife. It was she who stayed at home taking care of children and elders, while dad went to work.

        Also, the gap between rich and poor was so wide that middle-class families earned enough to hire helpers from the lower classes. There was the cook, the housemaid(s), the gardener, to help take care of house and family.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          It's been during the transitional phase that parents have had the chance to spend a decent amount of quality time with their kids. For traditionally the kids went from live-in nanny to boarding school. Today the parents must both work.

          But I enjoyed that in-between where my mother could stay at home but not afford a live-in nanny. Though my grandmother did live with us, her role was more in house care. We also had a regular gardener and cleaner. I miss the gardener. He kept ducks and taught me about fish car

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          In the 20th century, which you remember so fondly, it was a woman's job to be a mother and housewife.

          Not always. My mom worked in a munitions plant during WWII and after the war had a career working full-time. But since I lived in an extended family, and my grandparents lived in the same big house (actually a 2-flat in Chicago) there was no need for day care. So "elder care" and "child care" are both taken care of just by having a family that stuck together.

          Not far from the house I live in now, there's

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by westlake (615356)

        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 alter

        • 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: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            You might also remember most were not middle class, most were poor.

            Sorry, I was referring to the US, not the UK.

            We used to have a very large middle class here in the US, thanks to labor unions. It's not so much any more since Reagan, and the ruling corporations realized they couldn't have a middle class with choices if they were going to maximize quarterly profits.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          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 rich hated that.

          What good is being rich if even the middle class can have domestic help?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          Families were often much larger.

          Three kids. Six kids.

          I come from three generations of two-kid families. Everyone has lived to at least 68 and most over 75. I was the first to go to college. None has gone to "retirement homes". It's to a large part a matter of choice and priority, and to a large part thanks to labor unions, which brought such social advances as health insurance and pensions, which unfortunately have been under constant attack from the ownership class here in the US.

          Jobs for women outside

      • Re:great (Score:4, Interesting)

        by couchslug (175151) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @10:55PM (#33099322)

        "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"

        Elder care is utterly consuming and exhausting. Been there, done that. It is not a one person job, but monitoring tech can help monitor other caregivers (I used cams for this) as well as the oldster in question. The extreme demands of elder care can exhaust even fit, dedicated, informed, and intelligent caregiving relatives.

        Modern medical technology ensures years of madness, incontinence, and incontinent madness await most of us. We WILL be a burden on all who care for us (even love doesn't make it not a burden), and should know that long before we turn to shit. There is no heroism in merely living as long as possible, just giving in to fear. Hunter Thompson and Ernest Hemingway were wise to check out before what made them men was taken from them.

        Warren Zevon chose differently, and left us this to think about:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qV6E0KYiMmM [youtube.com]

      • Apparently, here in the brave new world of the 21st century, every relative has to work in order to pay off the credit cards and cell phone bill, so there's insufficient personnel to staff these "families".

        Well, for a lot of us working is not about credit cards and cell phone bills. Some people lost their "good" jobs when the housing industry and the economy tanked, and are forced to work two really crappy ones (those of us that can even get them), just to make ends meet and not lose our modest homes. (A
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by phantomlord (38815)

          I'd love to take care of my mom all day, but if I did, I'd have to move into her tiny house (because I'd lose my house, which she can't get around in because of all the stairs), and YOU'D be paying for me to eat and go to the doctor, because I would have no income. Now, if we had universal healthcare, reasonably priced education (I'll probably be paying for college forever), and any ability to recover after losing jobs and our credit ratings getting screwed (which, ironically, hurts when looking for a good job, which would allow us to fix things), then our families might have the ability to care for our elderly again.

          I DO take care of a disabled parent and have for 12 years, almost entirely by myself. I've been in the position of being unemployed for the last 4 years - you think it's hard getting a job right now, try getting a job that allows you to take a physically disabled parent to work with you since working is pointless unless you can make more, after taxes, than it costs to send the parent to adult daycare ($60+ per day (meaning you need to make at least $90, or about $12/hr just to break even or $20/hr to earn m

      • No, we have to work to pay the damn taxes to feed the freeloaders, to the point where both primary adults in a family have to work.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DaveGod (703167)

        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 c

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          You compare 1900 to 2000. But for the last few generations, the life expectancy hasn't changed much at all, at least not in the US, where it seems to be holding steady.

          People like me who grew up in extended families were not able to do so because people died younger. My grandparents both lived to their late 80s and they were born right around 1900.

          My point is that the things that have changed in the past few generations regarding the care of the elderly are not because of extended lifespans.

      • And you know what was before the 20th century? Those who weren't productive anymore, and needed extensive care committed suicide/were killed. If you want to know more about it look for William Graham Sumner's books.
        (But it's well documented by Hungarian sociologists as well, but I don't think you can read that.)

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          And you know what was before the 20th century? Those who weren't productive anymore, and needed extensive care committed suicide/were killed

          So, in the 1850s, nobody took care of their aging parents or handicapped children?

          You're insane. I doubt very much that Mr Sumner said anything like that.

          • "So, in the 1850s, nobody took care of their aging parents or handicapped children?"

            If you had enough money, you would, otherwise not.
            Sumner researched mostly tribal people. But similar practices also existed in Europe during the 19.th century as well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by davester666 (731373)

      I for one have NO desire to know what 'movements' my parents have, nor when they may have them, nor which type of movement it is.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by brasselv (1471265)

      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)

      • just because a technology is available, it does not automatically make us more evil.

        Just because air is available, it doesn't automatically make us more alive. But it's in our nature to breathe, so it's gonna happen.

        These sorts of "enabling" technologies are routinely abused by social services in England because it is in the nature of this government to take as much as possible and give as little as possible, where the "giving" is by mutual back-scratching with private vendors of unnecessary crap.

        • by toadlife (301863)

          Curious that you think the NHS (or any other public health system) would abuse this more than a private health insurance company would.

          • The chip on your shoulder got the better of you ;-). I made no statement that a private health insurance company would behave any better. I also stated that the behaviour is in the nature of this government, not any government. This government has existed in an idealistic and practical sense since the '80s.

            The NHS of Bevan, for example, was not in the business of cutting back and selling off.

            • by toadlife (301863)

              The chip on your shoulder got the better of you

              Touche.

              This government has existed in an idealistic and practical sense since the '80s.

              Thatcher?

              Her soul mate, Ronald "Ray-Gun" had a similar effect over here.

        • by PitaBred (632671)

          And just what exactly does the government have to give? Have you looked at the budgets lately? You speak as if "the government" is some sort of magical entity that has unlimited resources that appear out of thin air. Or are you volunteering to have your taxes raised? Again?

          • I've been spending the last decade looking at the budgets and doomsaying, but it's fallen on deaf ears. The few mathematicians/investors/whatever who have tried to speak up about the unsustainable behaviour of the market were firmly ignored by government and media because it was in the interest of the wealthy to promote this short-term profiteering and everyone else seemed to enjoy the ride.

            Anyway, today I see lots of money being channeled to (at the high level) war, Trident, bailouts, (at the lower level)

    • I wrote the code for the Project LIfesaver [projectlifesaver.org] transmitters. They help people who have wandered away from care. THe average response time is within 30 minutes. (The alternative is to be found later, usually after dying of exposure.)

      It has saved thousands of lives.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Gordonjcp (186804)

        I liked the idea that the operators of a nursing home in Germany had, where they put a fake bus stop at the end of the road. They looked after a lot of Alzheimer's patients, who would wander off and try to make their way home. Of course, they'd get as far as the bus stop, and wait for a bus - so if you noticed someone was missing you knew the first place to look.

        It's a bigger problem than people realise. I used to work near a nursing home, where one of my minion's grandmother stayed. About once a week s

  • by shaunbr (563633) *

    Great, I can just see the Facebook updates now:

    "My grandma just had a heart attack and fell in the bathroom in GeriatricVille. Can you help me out?"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 31, 2010 @06:03PM (#33098164)

    Well as someone taking care of an Alzheimer parent I can see how all this will be beneficial. Being a caregiver is hard and we need all the help we can muster.

    • FWIW,
      We have a potential wanderer. I hope that doesn't end up happening, but when we built the cottage for her we enclosed the front door *behind* the fence line, rather than in front.
      Padlock the garage doors and change the locks on the gates, presto, secure compound for our wanderer, should it come to that.
      As it is right now, she is just very forgetful. As long as she stays on her routine everything is fine (it's just like some of us geeks typing in our login. Couldn't tell you what it is

  • "Grandpa, you'd better wipe really good because it sounds like you have the runs."

    • by couchslug (175151)

      ""Grandpa, you'd better wipe really good because it sounds like you have the runs."

      Grandpa will likely get to where YOU do the wiping. One gets used to it...

  • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @06:03PM (#33098170) Homepage Journal

    A octogenarian 007 would probably deal with this by attaching the device to a friendly dog, and going about his geriatric super-spy business.

    • Or maybe a freak nuclear accident would turn all the people over 60 into zombies, which could be tracked as green beeping/moving points on the hero's GPS handheld device while he escapes through the sewer tunnels.
  • by Nick Fel (1320709) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @06:09PM (#33098200)
    Along these lines, I found a great research paper abandoned at the printer a few weeks back: http://www.yaroslavvb.com/papers/chen-bathroom.pdf [yaroslavvb.com]
  • ... into what caused that particular line from the old commercial to become so infamous?

    It actually was a very serious commercial, but nobody I knew at the time took it very seriously. In fact, that rather famous line was not infrequently mocked by people, quoted satirically, or parodied. I do not think this was done out of disrespect for the elderly, however.

    So what was it that made that line become what today we would call a "meme"?

    I wonder if KYM could do a meme show on something from that far b

      1. The commercial is--perhaps unintentionally--humorous. The old person is a horrible actor. The spokesperson walks into the room and starts talking to the camera, giving it a somewhat Rod Serlingesque feel from "The Twilight Zone." Hey Buddy! Why don't you help the old lady before you start talking to us!? (Newer versions of the commercial use a different approach)
      2. It's something we laugh about because the young don't like to face the eventuality that they will ever need such a thing.

      I'm sure it's a comb

  • 0118 999 881 999 919 725

    3

  • by turing_m (1030530) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @06:37PM (#33098354)

    If I had alzheimers to the point where I was wandering off into the woods somewhere, unable to get home, I don't think I'd like to be "rescued" with a GPS device. My own grandfather (alzheimers) tried to commit suicide at least once by sitting in his car in his garage with the engine turned on. He was found and "rescued". He lived to a somewhat older age, with all the dignity of a crazy old man, not knowing who most of his relatives were, shitting his pants, etc. I hope my relatives don't keep me around against my will as a still technically living reminder of the person I once was.

    As the usual proportion of baby boomers start to become demented, I hope we will see some more realism about what dementia is. There will be a lot of demented people and the associated problems will become commonly experienced. Car accidents for one. It's not going to be pretty.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      If I had alzheimers to the point where I was wandering off into the woods somewhere, unable to get home, I don't think I'd like to be "rescued" with a GPS device. My own grandfather (alzheimers) tried to commit suicide at least once by sitting in his car in his garage with the engine turned on. He was found and "rescued". He lived to a somewhat older age, with all the dignity of a crazy old man, not knowing who most of his relatives were, shitting his pants, etc. I hope my relatives don't keep me around against my will as a still technically living reminder of the person I once was.

      As the usual proportion of baby boomers start to become demented, I hope we will see some more realism about what dementia is. There will be a lot of demented people and the associated problems will become commonly experienced. Car accidents for one. It's not going to be pretty.

      As long as it's on youtube, i'm cool with it.

      Anyways, it's karma for those same baby boomers dropping the ball in the 80's, when they decided to become yuppies and leave their hippy ideas behind.

    • by westlake (615356)

      If I had alzheimers to the point where I was wandering off into the woods somewhere, unable to get home, I don't think I'd like to be "rescued" with a GPS device.

      What makes you think you would remember that you had Alzheimer's Disease?

      It is arrogant and irresponsible to project your own motives and emotions into the mind of someone with a senile dementia.

      My own grandfather (alzheimers) tried to commit suicide at least once by sitting in his car in his garage with the engine turned on

      How can you be so cert

      • by toadlife (301863)

        Have you ever taken care of someone who is severely demented?

        • I have and I agree with the GP.

          I'd also add "not sure what that noise is."

          It's amazing what this sort of thing does to the thought processes. My Dad passed away last year. Whenever I'd call home, I'd ask my Mom, "How's Dad doing?" "Oh, he has his good days and his bad days." To me, a "Good Day" was he was perfectly normal and a "Bad Day" was that he had problems remembering things. The reality was that a "Good Day" was that he remembered where the bathroom was and how to use the toilet before he shit h

      • by couchslug (175151) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @11:07PM (#33099362)

        "It is arrogant and irresponsible to project your own motives and emotions into the mind of someone with a senile dementia."

        Senile dementia is so mentally destructive that interfering with an apparent suicide attempt is extremely cruel. I watched both my parents eventually succumb, and if I'd walked in on either doing "suicide by car" I'd have walked out and shut the door. THAT would have been kindness.

        May everyone who wants to prolong the life of the demented, become demented themselves. It takes a while, so you can know the bitter frustration of losing your faculties bit by bit by bit...

    • I admit is was extremely frustrating and sad to watch to the decline of some older relatives, Alzheimer's or otherwise.

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @06:39PM (#33098372) Homepage
    The first three groups of people in any society who always give up their rights before anyone else:
    1. Children and the elderly, because they cannot speak for themselves;
    2. Prisoners, because they have forfeited their rights by harming the rest of us; and
    3. Military, because they voluntarily relinquish their rights in order to serve the rest of us.

    You're kidding yourself if you think wearing one of these won't be mandatory to qualify for a life insurance policy in 10 years. Without life insurance, you can't get a job, without a job, you can't get a citizen number, without a citizen number, you can't buy food from state-owned stores (because food distribution is too important to be left in the hands of crazed free market advocates). Fill in the blanks with snippets from the dystopian sci-fi writer of your choice.

    • by Jedi Alec (258881) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @07:14PM (#33098552)

      Let me take a wild guess, you're sufficiently afraid of the medical establishment to have avoided contact with them for an extended amount of time?

      Because that is one serious case of paranoia you got going on there...

      • by couchslug (175151)

        "Because that is one serious case of paranoia you got going on there..."

        That's not a display of paranoia, it's a display of delectation at being among the enlightened. Fapping to dystopia has always been delicious.

      • No, but thanks for the wild-ass guess at my motives, which, frankly, reveals more about yourself, Mr. Jedi, than me. I've made this exact same children/prisoners/military argument in many slashdot discussions over the years. I'm not sure where you got the medical paranoia thing from. However, these days, I see that strawmen are highly fashionable and the best way to attack someone is to fashion a false idea of what your brain tells you they think and then knock it down. Works almost every time.
  • "Help, I've got up and I can't come down!"

  • by basketcase (114777) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @06:44PM (#33098392) Homepage

    So, some day the children of helicopter parents will get their revenge.
    Assuming some of them at some point learn how to live.

  • What a lonely thing it's become to grow old in our society.
    • That's a natural consequence of never living long in the same place, of treating friends as something disposable and trivially replaceable, etc... etc...

  • by NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @06:51PM (#33098434)
    I had an instance of this when I was taking care of mom in her last few months. (With ALS for what it's worth) I basically got a baby monitor and was going to set it up in her room so I could hear if she needed my help. Lets just say she wasn't particularly happy with the idea that I was using a product for infants to help her. (Especially because it was for infants. She really didn't like it because of that fact.) I did manage to find an easier to use walkie talkie with a simple button that you could push to ring me. She was ok with that. (I'm thinking she'd be pissed if I had a device that could keep complete track of her) Just saying, the psychology of it needs to be considered.
    • by Penguinshit (591885) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @07:38PM (#33098654) Homepage Journal
      I have ALS and requested the baby monitor system. I also use various IM clients on my optical tracking computer system to communicate with friends and family. The IM has saved my life more than once when the in-home monitor failed for whatever reason. I am on a ventilator so communication failures can turn lethal quickly.
      • People get things stuck in their heads like "I won't use a baby monitor because I'm not a baby," and won't budge on it, regardless of practical considerations. Goes double for people who's minds are going anyhow. It is a continual problem with regards to getting people to take medication for mental conditions. Their logic goes along the lines of "Only sick people take medicine, I don't want to be sick so I won't take any medicine." Then they slip back in to whatever their particular form of crazy is, of cou

  • by Simonetta (207550) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @07:24PM (#33098586)

    Hey all you jet pack affectionados!

    How about making a micro miniature jet pack about the size of 20 oz beer can! Grandma can wear it on her shoulders. When she falls down, she just reaches over, pops the mini jet pack off her shoulder strap, point it at the ground, press the button, and hold on tight!

    WHooosh! Upsee daisy again! No calls, no worries, no lying on the floor for days in your own mess. Just a convenient reload after each fall.

    So how about it, guys? Let's do something for grand-ma! And maybe she'll let you sample some of her medicinal marijuana. Sure leaves all that trash dorm weed in the dirt!

  • I'm glad that I have no plans to live so long as to be a burden on anyone. Personally, I would feel like I was being treated like a felon under house arrest, being made to wear such a thing.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @08:47PM (#33098908)

    High cost $8,000 install , $75 /M.

  • by deadhammer (576762) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @10:25PM (#33099212)
    "Okay, so grandma's in the bedroom, but why is her breathing and heart rate up so much? Her body temperature's too high, it's almost like there's a second reading there... And why's the accelerometer going off rhythmically once or twice a secoOHGOD!!!!!"
  • There's a huge market for non-intrusive devices that allow seniors to call for help when needed. It doesn't have to be fancy - a simple (and small) GSM phone that's configured to get help would be wonderful. However, the difficulty will be convincing people who have been extremely active throughout their lives that it's a good idea. My mother is a case in point. She's a very active senior who walked out to her car on very cold winter's evening and slipped on a sheet of ice on the sloping driveway. She hurt
    • by Dzimas (547818)
      Just did a bit of googling and found the Jitterbug phone, which offers "familiar" features like a dial tone and operator assisted calling along with 15 quick dial numbers. It seems to be only in the US, though.
      • It's also expensive as shit...
        That said, it still may be worth it (and even a deactivated phone can call 911 on the US cell network).
        -nB

  • by Macka (9388) on Sunday August 01, 2010 @01:56AM (#33099806)

    Wasn't the original old lady called Mrs Fletcher?

    I remember a system crash/panic message from back in the days of Ultrix (an early version of Unix from Digital Equipment Co. that ran on MIPS). It read: "Mrs Fletcher has fallen down again and can't get up". Some engineer's idea of a joke. DEC were forced to change it though as affected customers were not amused.

  • So now that we got falling down covered, don't forget when granny or gramps soils their diaper. With this [simavita.com] amazing technology you can receive a text message time for changies.

Physician: One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well. -- Ambrose Bierce

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