Installing Internet of Things devices in homes could help to prevent health issues and even death amongst the elderly, according to an IoT expert. With the population of older people aged 65 and over in the UK expected to reach over 16 million by 2035, there is a greater need for more personalised health programs.
“This is exemplified in the tragedy of preventable deaths of elderly people at home every winter due to cold interiors. In the UK alone, the death of up-to 30,000 people each year has been attributed to cold homes, with those over the age of 75 accounting for the majority of these deaths,” said Mark Lee, an IoT expert from Intamac.
He added: “While energy efficiency programs such as Green Deal and Energy Company Obligations aim to help, many elderly people living in fuel poverty and those living on their own are often missed by these schemes. Many of these deaths, and other health related issues, could be prevented by simply installing an IoT connected sensor in the homes of vulnerable and elderly people.”
IoT offers advanced technology, with sensors that can collect real-time data and even detect health problems by monitoring trends in homes. Family members and the emergency services can then access the collected data, being alerted if there is a problem.
Intamac worked closely with Humberside Fire and Rescue to test how IoT technology can help to prevent problems for the elderly in winter. Air temperature was monitored and collected information was shared with emergency services and healthcare providers, alerting them to any emergencies, such as if the temperature of a home became dangerously low.
Results showed that IoT technology could help to reduce the risk of serious health issues and even death amongst the elderly, with at least two elderly people being able to avoid a life-threatening situation when their homes were too cold.
Mr Lee commented that IoT can also help family members who are concerned about vulnerable relatives feel at ease, stating that “remote diagnostics and monitoring offer a discreet way for those with vulnerable family members to have peace of mind.”