From: Aged Care Insite Publish Date: July 29, 2013

New steps in remote monitoring are leading toward more independent living. By Aileen Macalintal

Remote caregiving will now be possible with the timepiece from family-owned company mCarewatch.

Aside from telling the time, the lightweight SOS mobile watch works as a phone, GPS locator and SOS emergency alert.

This technology allows the elderly to live independently and in their preferred environment. Paul Apostolis, director of mCareWatch, shared that the idea for the SOS Mobile Watch came after his family had a scare.

“My father became disoriented while out with my mother one day. He couldn’t speak properly and had difficulty driving but insisted that he was fine and by some miracle they made it home safely but it was clear that he wasn’t himself. As we later discovered, my father had experienced a stroke,” said Apostolis.

He said his elderly parents seldom use their mobile phones, often leaving the devices at home or uncharged. “Following market research and contacting leading aged care and community bodies, it became clear to both me and my brother Peter, that our family is not alone.”

Apostolis and company co-founder Peter Apostolopoulos have business experience in information technology, healthcare and personal care to create a range of solutions that free older people. The watch came out in their search of an alternative to the traditional emergency pendant alarms.

“There’s a whole ‘sandwich generation’ of Australians torn between the demands of work, caring for young families and caring for older parents or relatives,” Apostolis said.

He said not only will the elderly be ensured their independence, but carers too will have a peace of mind since the watch wearer can press a single button in an emergency to automatically call their nominated carers.

The carers can also locate via the wearer who may be incapacitated or unsure of geographical location of incident. The location of their loved ones can also be tracked anywhere, any time by using the GPS function via their smartphone using Google maps.

For Apostolis, the best features of the watch include the two-way communication at the press of a button and the SOS button that automatically dials up to three carers in an emergency.

“The other amazing feature of the watch is the SMS-command activated two-way communication if wearer is not responding and is incapacitated. The SMS command is sent from the carer’s mobile to the SOS Mobile Watch, which then opens up a channel to communicate and listen to the wearer without them having to press a button,” he added.

In addition, the wearer is not confined to a restricted monitoring area as SOS mobile watch works with Optus mobile digital network that covers 97 per cent of the Australian population.

“Technology is a great enabler to address issues and problems in aged care faced by families and service providers. By investing in technology, it will allow all stakeholders involved in the care of the individual to be conducted in more effective and efficient way, particularly with an ageing population and the pressures on our aged care/ health care workforce,” said Apostolis.

He said the next model will have features that include monitoring daily living patterns and the capture and sharing of specific health parameters.