Families, Privacy Advocates Debate Merit of Remote Home Monitoring Systems
A growing number of retirement communities and families are using information technology to allow remote caregivers to observe family members and patients, but privacy advocates worry that the systems can strip seniors of their privacy, the Associated Press reports. Minneapolis-based Honeywell International is developing a home monitoring system featuring motion detectors, temperature sensors and software to let caregivers access information on a patient's condition and daily routine. The system could be configured to transmit data to a health care facility or alert a caregiver to any unusual readings using a pager. But privacy advocates worry that the systems can constitute an invasion of privacy. "The upside is, you can keep an eye on mom," Gavin Hougham, director of gerontology research at the University of Chicago, said, but he added, "[W]hat if mom doesn't want her son having access to her every movement?" (Long, Associated Press, 9/18).