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Nursing Homes Go High-Tech

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the I've-fallen-and-I-can't-get-my-LAN-up dept.

Technology 152

mattlary writes "Here's an interesting article about a tracking system being installed in a retirement community. The system can track where residents are anywhere in the campus, and also uses cameras to keep an eye on residents. The community also contains numerous sensors so staff can track residents' activity."

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Ah more stuff they can ignore (-1)

utlemming (654269) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659370)

Now they can actually find the old people when they die....not that nursing homes really worry about all the bells and whistles....well had to say something since it might be a first post.

Re:Ah more stuff they can ignore (1)

zaxios (776027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659396)

Kidney stones aren't useful. Why would something that could help the minders pass?

Re:Ah more stuff they can ignore (1)

Carp Flounderson (542291) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659462)

Kidney stones can be useful. If you're fortunate to have one, you usually win a large prescription of Vicodin.

big brother (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9659371)

big brother is watching grand uncle.

Cool... (1)

Kjuib (584451) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659373)

Hit me in the head and send me to the nursing home with the cute nurses...

We're all USA PATRIOTS here. (3, Insightful)

cliffy2000 (185461) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659374)

So... how long until a government starts using this technology in a large-scale implementation?

Conspiracy theories r us (1)

NZ Joe (761369) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659482)

They do already. The genes that they've inserted into soy, corn, canola and cotton 20 years ago produce carbon-nano-RFID tags ;)

Re:Conspiracy theories r us (2, Funny)

gnuman99 (746007) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659535)

Time to put on my aluminum (shiny side out!!) burka!!

Re:We're all USA PATRIOTS here. (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659682)

Oh no! The privacy is invaded, and the security is minimized! Flavin!

Re:We're all USA PATRIOTS here. (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659776)

What do you think cellphones are for?

Yesterday! (1)

simpl3x (238301) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659853)

The idea that you are being tracked is only relevant from a privacy perspective if they know who you are. The most frightening aspect of government "intervention" is the assumption that they know something about you. I think what the Orwellians missed is the idea of customization or personalization. How can we ensure that what is collected is only related to security/safety/convenience aspects? This is likely down the road after we figure out how to use the information. It's like the Gmail scare... "they're watching ME!" Actually nobody cares about "you." Maybe this is what weblogs are good for--to show you how irrelevant you and your opinion actually are. OK, well at least mine. It's so sad!

A personal Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle--they can know either who you are or where you are but never both.

Can't wait until I get old... (5, Funny)

nametaken (610866) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659380)

"Sensors on refrigerator doors that automatically notify staff when residents are up and active each day, replacing older methods such as "check-in" buttons or paper cards on doorknobs."

I hope when I'm that old I'll still keep bizarre hours. It'll keep the staff on their toes.

Don't worry you will (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659841)

Enjoy sleeping for 8 hours straight youngster. For that matter, enjoy sleeping.

And of course there is the always present thought that each morning you could be one of the ones who doesn't wake up at all. Remember retirement homes are places you check into. Kinda like a life sentence in prison with no chance of parol.

Re:Can't wait until I get old... (1)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 10 years ago | (#9660253)

My parents are in one of these (a very nice one) but I think putting the sensor on the toilet is better than the fridge. After all a lot of these facilities have 3 meals a day in the cafeteria so ..

In addition this could help monitor everyones bowel movements (!)

In related news... (1)

zaxios (776027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659382)

http://slashdot.org/articles/04/07/08/156224.shtml ?tid=100&tid=137&tid=215

friendly advice (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9659470)

it would have been much funnier f you would have taken the time to write out the html to make your url a real link.

Re:friendly advice (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659716)

No, it wouldn't have.

Grandma loves the tag (3, Funny)

facts (257980) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659383)

I wanna be the first boy on the block to have an RFID tagged granny!

Re:Grandma loves the tag (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9659548)

I wanna be the first boy on the block to have an RFID tagged granny!

Mommy! Grandma is at the strip joint again!

Re:Grandma loves the tag (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659708)

Nobody is going to be the first on the block to have anything. The price of regular nursing homes are already thru the roof. I can't imagine the cost of a nursing home with terminators and T1000s feeding you.

Re:Grandma loves the tag (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659721)

That was not informative, interesting, insightful, funny, underrated, overrated, flamebait, troll, or offtopic.

Absolutely.... (5, Insightful)

acceber (777067) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659390)

....nobody wants to have their privacy invaded with cameras, tracking devices, sensoring of activity... even if it's got a fancy name like "Personal Emergency Response System".

Just gives more reasons for our grandparents to fight against being shoved into nursing homes.

Re:Absolutely.... (3, Insightful)

randyest (589159) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659697)

Right. Unless they don't want to die painfully and slowly from a minor injory that diasables them but could otherwise be treated easily if anyone knew about it in time.

Other than those people, nobody indeed.

You're exactly right.

Re:Absolutely.... (2, Insightful)

NevermindPhreak (568683) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659802)

you could fall down a flight of stairs and break your back, and slowly bleed to death from it because you cant move to get help. you could be working on a car and have it slip off the jack and pin you underneath it, and die of thirst if nobody found out in time. should you be monitored throughout your day as well? i know that the odds of the elderly falling victim to what you said are higher than you or me, but where do we draw the line? and, how would you feel if you were suddenly on the other side of that line? im not trying to disagree with you on this, just trying to show you the other side of the argument before its your time to be on that side.

Re:Absolutely.... (1)

Stepping Razor (756775) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659894)

I'm sure I've heard stories about children being tagged by their parents. Now the grandparents get tagged too. Which family members can we tag next, spouses?

Re:Absolutely.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9660279)

Among other things, it's optional, so there is no "line" to be on either side of. Second, even if there were a line, because of people concerned about privacy, it would be a line almost everyone could agree on who participated in whatever the program like this was: for instance, you don't have to live in that retirement community. If you read the article, they already have non-electronic methods of achieving many of the same goals, so it's not as though this is completely unusual. In any case, the article says, "One of the greatest fears of seniors is that they will try to summon help and somehow the message does not get through or they don't know if someone is coming or not."

You might make the argument that if all good assisted living centers implement tracking, then you don't have a choice about privacy. And maybe you could argue they're doing it to decrease liability as much as to actually protect residents, so it's not providing a real benefit. On the other hand, constant monitoring probably increases their liability in some ways -- at least, if they do not respond promptly to a panic button, for instance -- so it might not be ubiquitous. And because it's so expensive, it'll be a while before it does become ubiquitous. And finally, if enough people care, it will be optional, or privacy safeguards will be put in place. And if enough people don't care, well, maybe there's a reason.

Finally, I just don't see the slippery slope here. I think that the elderly want this kind of thing, so they get it. Children are tracked because they're too young and rambuntious to make safe decisions. If the government tried to do this, they would get murdered by activitists. On the other hand, constant monitoring in assisted living and -- I hope soon -- nursing homes would help deal with problems like nursing shortages. (And not all families that put the elderly in nursing homes have bad reasons for it. Sometimes it's the only solution for an elderly person who cannot take care of him or herself and who requires very expensive near-constant monitoring.)

Re:Absolutely.... (1)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 10 years ago | (#9660157)

Quite a few, if not most, of them would prefer to risk that instead of being shoved in a nursing home where they're watched every minute of the day.

Alzheimers really sucks. (2, Informative)

billstewart (78916) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659773)

My mother used to live in a retirement home, because she can't see well enough to drive. The section she was in was basically an apartment building with a cafeteria and weekly maid service. She decided to move back into an apartment, mainly for cost reasons, and spend part of the difference on more taxis. One thing that was universal, whether you needed it or not, was that you had to check in daily so they knew you were okay and not lying on the floor with a broken hip, which happens a lot to old people.

My mother-in-law is living in a retirement home. She's not very mobile, and needs people to help with a few things, and living in her apartment got too hard and too dangerous, because the "I've fallen and I can't get up" problem is really serious if you can't get up (she can't), plus it's hard to find cooks who'll stay around for more than a few months (that seems to be a very temporary job for most people who do it.) And she doesn't want to move up to the frozen north to live with us.

The last place she lived had an Alzheimers wing. We didn't see those people very often, but they do wander off and get lost, and some are in worse shape than others. My grandfather spent about four years seriously senile in a nursing home, and needed a lot of reminding and help to do things; my grandmother was in the same room, clearheaded to the end but in bad physical shape. They didn't really like the place, but that had a lot to do with institutional cooking and inattentive nursing staff, and the other place they'd tried wasn't much better.

About 20 years ago... (2, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 10 years ago | (#9660206)

... my late father developed a radio alarm beacon deelie for nursing homes. The nursing home staff he showed it to thought it was great - a really handy thing. The "higher-ups" were far from convinced - "Oh, we can't have that, that will take jobs away from our skilled staff". Yeah, and then six months down the line the Thatcher government does just that...


Anyway, getting back to the beacon, it was a very simple radio transmitter, a button to turn it on, and a simple accelerometer similar to those used in car alarms, to detect falls. A tilt switch would trigger when the person wearing the beacon leaned over. OK, admittedly the accelerometer detected the bounce rather than the fall. The whole thing was about 3"x1"x1.5", and the antenna was built into the lanyard you wore it on. He had plans for integrating a heart monitor to it, too.

Obligatory Simpsons quote (3, Insightful)

laserbeak (794029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659392)

Yay we can go outside again! Hmm, I don't like the look of those teenagers! *goes back inside* But on a serious note.. isn't this just a bit derogatory towards older people, it's treating them like animals. Has there been an outbreak of lost elderly people recently?

Re:Obligatory Simpsons quote (5, Informative)

PeterPumpkin (777678) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659435)

Well, the older people you and I see on a regular basis are the sharp ones that can still live like normal.

However there are those like the Alzheimer's patients who are given some element of freedom, and when they wander off don't remember where they came from or don't know they are lost and keep wandering. Ever try to find someone who doesn't know where they are going or that they are lost? It is more difficult than you might think.

Re:Obligatory Simpsons quote (1)

hugesmile (587771) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659862)

when they wander off don't remember where they came from or don't know they are lost

We have a family member with Alzheimers - it's not a funny topic. But I thought it was interesting to dwell on that sentence above; is someone lost if they don't know they are lost? Just because you can't find me, does that make me lost?

There's a local man that's been missing for 45 days who wandered off. He can't take care of himself, and so he's probably doomed, or gone already.

I am a privacy nut, but it's ironic how attitudes change as you get older - I may like this protection. On the other hand, when I am 90, do I really want the Nursing Home staff to know that I snuck down to the 84-year old babe's room at 4 am for a little latenight snack? (I understand that sex among residents is considered a challenge for the staff of some homes.) Is it really their business?

Outbreak of elderly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9659473)

(With apologies to the German rock band Sodom...)

As the baby boomers age, yes, there is going to be a surplus of elderly people, especially those who partied too hard when they were younger and thus have alzheimers, parkinson's, etc.

Droolers.

Re:Outbreak of elderly (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659710)

I'm just drunk amd stoned enough to reply to an AC and insist: linkage that links partying to "alzheimers, parkinson's, etc." please!

Re:Obligatory Simpsons quote (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659713)

Has there been an outbreak of lost elderly people recently?

It's kind of an ongoing thing. That's why people get sent to nursing homes. Some elderly people don't have all of their mental faculties anymore. Some of the elderly need to be cared for, so they don't hurt themselves and so they are not hurt by others.

It was about 5 or 6 years ago, but I remember a case in my area (Western PA) where some guy picked up an elderly woman who had Alzheimer's disease and convinced her that he was her deceased husband then spent the next 4 or 5 hours screwing her brains out. He dropped her off none the worse for wear, but things could have gone a LOT worse.

Something like this will make a nursing home more attractive to the relatives of the people who need this kind of monitoring.

LK

Re:Obligatory Simpsons quote (1)

Stepping Razor (756775) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659915)

There are some sick bastards around. Using an old woman's mental ill health to con her into sex, surely that counts as rape.

Sadly it comes down to money (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659866)

I am living currently near a old folks home and the ones you see are the lucky ones. The ones whose bodies are giving up but whose brain is still ticking over as it always been (just that the body attached to it become less responsive). But there are plenty you don't see to who the brain is as badly shot as that woman with walker hips. And they need to be taken care off not like an animal but like a toddler.

Of course if people didn't elect their leaders based on whom promises to give the biggest tax cut we could simply have nurses and similar staff take care of them. No danger in people running into the street if there is a proper congierge at the gate. But sadly people vote for the guy that gives them 300bucks (and takes a 1000) so we are reduced to this.

At least I hope this is only used for the elderly with mental problems. Using this on the mentally capable is I think way way way beyond privacy invasion.

Then again I once SAW (not heard about) a old woman who was tied to her chair to prevent her walking off. Staff just didn't have time to keep checking up on her. Ah well, as long as CDA (the bush party of holland) keeps promising tax cuts this kinda stuff will keep happening.

I just hope... (5, Funny)

Gamma_UCF (777510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659393)

..that the nursing home never gets any retired slashdotters there. I'm sure the tin foil would be missing from the tops of the dinner trays and quickly turned into hats...

Re:I just hope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9659620)

Hats? How about some tinfoil Depends?

Bah Humbug (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9659405)

In my day, we didn't have young whippersnappers such as yourselves tracking us with your whositz and your whatnots. We tied onions to our belts, each person a different colored onion. Yessir, that's how they tracked us. Onions. Now, back then you couldn't just get onions anywhere. Nosir. You had to hop the So'easter heading to Fayettesvile. That's where the onion factories were.... First you had to get past the guards ndnmsa,sdnfffsf snorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre.

what TFA didnt mention (5, Insightful)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659411)

is whether it can trigger an alarm if a patient wonders offsite. It's a bigger problem than most people realize -- an Alzheimer's patient wonders off, gets lost, sometimes for days on end wondering the streets. IMHO the most valuable part of a system like this would be the ability to trigger an alarm if patients cross a pre-defined boundary.

It did, however, mention that it records the exact time employees enter and leave the facility, so that they only get paid for the time they actually work. The infrastructure and underlying components seem to be there, but it seems to me like they are more interested in protecting their money than their residents.

Re:what TFA didnt mention (2, Funny)

abulafia (7826) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659477)

IMHO the most valuable part of a system like this would be the ability to trigger an alarm if patients cross a pre-defined boundary.

We already have useful systems for handling this [radiofence.com] .

Personally, I want behavioural adjustment collars for my clients to wear...

I'm sure my tongue is somewhere near my cheek.

Re:what TFA didnt mention (2, Funny)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659523)

Can I get a "behavioural adjustment collar" for the end-users at the office? Please?

end-user: My Windows OS locked -- [bzzzzzt]
me: what was that?
end-user: My computer is [bzzzzzzzzt]
me: i'm sorry, what?
end-user: just called to say what a great job you are doing :)

Oh, yeah. I'd pay thousands for that system....

Re:what TFA didnt mention (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 10 years ago | (#9660173)

What you need is a LART (Luser attitude readjustment tool). They cmoe in many shapes and sizes, my favourite is a red two-by-four on the wall. Coupled with forgetting to answer the phone, the user will have to come to the support desk. When you say, sure, I'll help, stand up and get the LART.

Re:what TFA didnt mention (1)

AtomicBomb (173897) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659512)

Old people still want their privacy. This type of system only work if the patient essentially loses his/her conscious but not mobility, e.g. in later stage of Alzheimer.

About 15 years ago, my family was involved in the search of my mother's 90yo grandma. Great grandma preferred to live at home despite her illness. She left home at midnight after everyone went to bed... My uncle notified the relatives to launch for a search. It was a puzzle to us. We knew she must be around doing something that she thought sensible...

At the end, we found her sitting on the pavement outside a bank. She was fairly confused by her illness at that stage. Words were limited, something along the line of "lazybone, open so late. I want 'cheung fan*'..." From our understanding, she thought it was about breakfast time (note: it was indeed midnight) so she wandered around the street for a nice cafe. The bank was in fact located at the site of a former cafe... But, that cafe had been demolished in the second World War.... The tracking device would be a great help to us...

* 'cheung fan' is a special breakfast food in my hometown.

Re:what TFA didnt mention (1)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659534)

What a fascinating story, and a great case for systems similar to the one described in the OP. The GPS wristwatches offer a potential solution to that, without invading the privacy of your loved one too much.

Of course, 15 years ago, GPS was still classified. Nowadays, though, hell it seems like a no-brainer to me.

Re:what TFA didnt mention (1)

eniu!uine (317250) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659544)

"off, gets lost, sometimes for days on end wondering the streets. IMHO the most valuable part of a system like this would be the ability to trigger an alarm if patients cross a pre-defined boundary."

Most Alzheimers units are lockdown units, and those that aren't have a wrist band(probably similar in size to what they would have to wear for this thing) that sets off an alarm when the resident tries to leave.

"It did, however, mention that it records the exact time employees enter and leave the facility, so that they only get paid for the time they actually work. The infrastructure and underlying components seem to be there, but it seems to me like they are more interested in protecting their money than their residents. "

I find this more likely. When we installed cameras where I work it was with the assurance that it was to keep track of residents, but while I haven't seen it used much for residents I have seen multiple instances of using them to keep track of staff. We have changed administrators three times since the cameras were installed, and no one remembers being promised that the cameras were to be for resident safety only. That's another issue: Are we eliminating resident privacy for necessary safety reasons, or staff convenience? These people have the right to live as close to a normal life as possible. It's not normal to be watched at all times.. unless you're in the UK, where it's OK.

Re:what TFA didnt mention (1)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659567)

Most Alzheimers units are lockdown units, and those that aren't have a wrist band(probably similar in size to what they would have to wear for this thing) that sets off an alarm when the resident tries to leave

Sweet, thanks for the info. I have never been employed in a home, nor had a loved one in a home, so I didn't know.

The employees being watched on camera is universal. My wife used to work at K-Mart, and the loss-control guys always made it clear that the cameras in the store were mostly there to watch you, not the customer. Kind of a scary world we live in. I don't like the idea of being watched all the time at my job.

Re:what TFA didnt mention (2, Interesting)

Trillan (597339) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659556)

Great! My mother works in a long term care facility, and the horror stories of what other employees do there makes me quite happy about this. If nothing else, it will hopefully help reveal who left a resident in a bath tub alone for several hours so they could go for a long lunch... something they very often can't tell you themselves.

Re:what TFA didnt mention (1)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659574)

Excellent point. Those bastards that do that crap deserve to be locked up for a long, long time. Maybe this system will help with that.

Re:what TFA didnt mention (1)

Biogenesis (670772) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659572)

Trigger an alarm hey? Like give the patient a sharp electric shock whenever they dare to venture to the mysterious and long forgotten "outside".

Why are they doing this in a nursing home anyway? I would have thought that something like the prison system would be a better place to implement such technology...maybe even in high schools (which are basically just prisons where people are punished for being born anyway).

Re:what TFA didnt mention (1)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659584)

Trigger an alarm hey? Like give the patient a sharp electric shock whenever they dare to venture to the mysterious and long forgotten "outside".

No, like notify someone if a person who no longer has full control of his or her mental faculties is in real danger of being harmed.

Ideally, they should be taken offsite regularly to explore the mysterious and forgotten outside. I know that in practice, it almost never happens. I do not, however, think that the solution is to allow people to wonder the streets who are no longer capable of doing so.

Re:what TFA didnt mention (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659742)

No, like notify someone if a person who no longer has full control of his or her mental faculties is in real danger of being harmed

Or want their freedom back. Some old people really don't want to live any longer, and are sane enough to make that decision, whether the powers that be agree with them or not. My grandmother made dozens of suicide attempts while at her nursing home. She was mostly paralyzed, mute, and in constant agony for about 7 years. They gradually took steps to prevent future suicide attempts. It's hard to pull your feeding tube out when your arms are strapped to your sides, and your tube is reinforced in place by stitches. It was a lung infection that finally did her in. The nursing staff was sad to see her depart, as social security paid the home over $5000 a month for her care.

Re:what TFA didnt mention (1)

lonesome phreak (142354) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659676)

I would assume it's some of the same tech, really. IT's probably been tested in prisons, or at elast the company making it probably has a backgruond in this in another industry anyway.

This http://www.geindustrial.com/cwc/products/ge-interl ogix?pnlid=9&famid=67&catid=1432&id=pers&lang=en_U S
is by GE, and the website of the home itself doesn't mention the new deployment.

Refrigerator Door (2, Interesting)

Rick and Roll (672077) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659418)

Putting sensors on a refrigerator door to see if someone is out and about is a great idea. Sure, after the fact it's very obvious, but most innovations are, after the fact.

The alert system also sounds very cool. Especially its ability to work in the forested area. Not a bad facility.

Glad to see they have creative people working there, that understand human behavior. They must be very well-versed in user interfaces.

Re:Refrigerator Door (1)

hyperlinx (775591) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659608)

Yea, great idea those sensors on the fridge....then we can have itemized billing as the coke (or ensure) passes by an RFID sensor...oh no, the can went back in...is it empty or half full?....oh well, we'll charge 'em anyway cause they opened the door and let the cold out.

this rules (0, Troll)

dvdsbydesign.com (793952) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659432)

I wonder if the bathroom cam is working nicely for them. Can they see when the elderly are releasing?

System (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659437)

All they need now is a moderation system so that they get modded -1 any time they mention their colonoscopy they had a week ago.

The way it really works (2, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659441)

"Thank you for calling Friendly Senior Services. Your call is important to us. All attendants are currently busy helping other callers. Please stay on the line, and an attendant will be with you shortly. If this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911".

Re:The way it really works (3, Insightful)

ErichTheWebGuy (745925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659505)

ive fallen and i cant:

- get up
- reach the phone to call 911
- move
- speak

The point is, it really might be an emergency and you bring up a good point. People are human, that's just the way it is. Humans are limited resources (they can only do one thing at once). Let's also say that the emergency has happened at a time when, oh say the power has gone out, the a/c is broken, a foul odor is afoot, etc. and everyone is hitting the emergency button to get a quick response when they ask WTF is happening.

Nothing is perfect. But at the same time, this system is better than nothing. I used to be great friends with a lady who was 80-something and had a life-alert necklace. She really did fall and break her hip and arm, and would have had no hope of reaching the phone. That alert necklace saved her bacon on that occasion. This system, in theory, is making great progress on that front. Now, we just have to balance the (valid) privacy concerns with the functionality of the system.

The Near-Death Star! (1)

longbot (789962) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659461)

Seriously, am I the only one thinking of that Futurama episode?

Quite Useful. (1)

Vlion (653369) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659466)

These are older people with health problems.
Having this kind of a system allows the staff to keep tabs on the residents, thereby (theoretically)
giving them the ability to quickly respond in case of problems.

Think about your grandmother or other old person you know- if/when they go in, you want them to be monitored- its not that far off from a hosipital, after all. :)

my 2 decicreds here...

Re:Quite Useful. (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659518)

Then again, I've heard of nursing homes where the staff are like "who cares, these people are going to die anyway", and neglect the people who live there, what about cases like that?

Moll.

Re:Quite Useful. (1)

name773 (696972) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659643)

i think you meant centicreds

All is good and well (4, Insightful)

Lifix (791281) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659479)

"The Personal Emergency Response System that will locate residents throughout the 41-acre complex, including the indoor pool, on a trail through six acres of forest and in 64 duplex and free-standing homes."

Until the power goes out, and the on hand staff must search the entire complex for all the seniors because they haven't prepared for the possibility. The system is great, however the staff needs to be trained to handle a power less situation and to locate the residents quickly.

One of the disadvantages with using a new system like the one described is becoming dependent on it.

Re:All is good and well (1)

volinux (680399) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659520)

I'm sure most of these places have generators on hand. Even if the generator was only used for critical applications, a simple UPS would do long enough for them to round the folks up.

I AM THE PUSHER ROBOT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9659506)

Am I the only one who read the headline and thought: "I am the pusher robot... I push grandma down the stairs"? link [somethingawful.com]

Beta testing. (1)

vspazv (578657) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659517)

I guess they figured that people weren't buying the old excuses about only using stuff like this to track sex offenders/pedophiles so now they're trying to protect old people. Im just waiting for the day when they hand everyone fluffy white wool jackets to wear.

Bowels Open ??? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9659522)

As a doctor whos worked in a few resthomes the thought of them going high tech has always amused me.

One thing about nurses is that they often keep detailed record of things. For example all nursing notes tend to keep a recorded of how many times a persons bowels have opened during the nurse's shift. eg.

BNO = bowels not opened
BO x 2 = bowels opened twice

As these places become more high tech and have nursing notes placed in databases amazing facts of information about people will be able to be gleamed.

For example, you could find out that Mr X had 480 peices of toast in the last twelve months, and that he opened his bowels 250 times... and that he tended to open his bowel in morning after having 2 peices of toast for breakfast, not his normal one.

I'm sure the department of homeland security could make brilliant use of such information!!!

A step too far? (1)

psb777 (224219) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659540)

"Nurse Jones, the computer is telling me Old Mavis is constipated again."

Cares.. (2, Informative)

12357bd (686909) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659553)

I remember maybe 10 years ago a bed manufacturer who used a grid of pressure sensors, and a neural network to sense people presence, position and activity.
The idea was simple and seemed good, but I've never see-it in the real world.

Anyway, technological aids are only that, aids, never a people replacement.

Tech? (1)

wellwatch (588301) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659557)

I'm just curious if they're using GPS, RFID or Loran type stuff, another interesting thing might be to put an altimeter in each of the little push buttons so they can find out if the person has fallen, and is unconcious, or something. I'm not sure though that this technology is really required though, it seems like the majority of people entering this home are those who are fully functional and can do things like cross country ski, I could be wrong but do they really need all this information/tracking information about them?

Re:Tech? (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659747)

GPS doesn't work well indoors. Probably RFID.

Re:Tech? (1)

Zone-MR (631588) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659991)

a) Find me an altimeter with that kind of sensitivity.
b) How is altitude useful if you don't know how high the ground is at that particular point?

I work with elderly patients on a daily basis.... (3, Interesting)

IanDanforth (753892) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659563)

I can tell you a few things about the elderly. Most of them make the decision eventually to get into assisted living facilities. Its not their kids, or anyone pushing them. If they live a long time alone, have a spouse die, or see declining health in their partner. Assisted living becomes a real, and valuable, option.

Now the participants I deal with are all cognitively aware for the most part, but even the sharp ones will get lost walking up and down a short corridor. Over the age of 80 there is a steep decline, though you'd be amazed at how active people are late into their 70s!

Only a few of the men I've talked to would take up something like this device willingly, but most if not all would love their spouses to have it. And I'm sure the wives feel similarly (I only get to see the men).

Would I want such a device? Probably not, but then again I am intimately familiar with what a hip fracture does to someone, and how scary even mild dementia can be.

-Ian

Re:I work with elderly patients on a daily basis.. (1)

12357bd (686909) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659813)

The main point for me is never forget that 'the elderly' are not 'them' but 'us'.

and the watch for beating begins (1)

whatsup_will (779381) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659566)

if they install this in a bad old home, i bet they could catch alot of bad stuff happening, like staff beating up old people, old people beating up old people, and everything else that happens.

Track the staff (4, Insightful)

kmahan (80459) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659578)

Another use would be to keep track of the staff. There are frequent news stories about how the staff is either abusing or neglecting the patients they are entrusted to care for. While working at these places seems like it can suck at times you are still expected to provide the patients with proper care -- not rough them up, ignore them, or rob them.

Re:Track the staff (2, Insightful)

billstewart (78916) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659786)

And there are a lot more stories about nursing home staff who are underpaid, undertrained, and so understaffed they don't have enough time for everything they need to get done, much less time to be attentive to the residents and/or patients (depending on the type of place.)

Higher-priced independent living places usually do better at it, but they're essentially doing a hotel's job (and often run by hotel chains such as Marriott), but lower-end places and places that need more nursing care are usually a tough job situation.

Freedom. (5, Insightful)

starphish (256015) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659581)

I'm a libertarian, am all about freedom, liberty, and keeping people's noses out of my business.

However, something that is orwelian used in one way, can have the opposite effect used another way.

My Dad is in a fairly advanced stage of dementia. He hardly talks, and no longer recognizes family. He is currently in long term care in a locked ward to keep him from wandering off. It would be a great danger to him if he was allowed to go where he wants. Currently, he can only leave if a family member comes and takes him for a walk. I did this today actually.

Something like this would give him greater freedom, and would improve his quality of life. I would love it if my dad could roam freely. If his whereabouts could be monitored, he could gain at least a shred of freedom.

Game Over!!! (0)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659604)

For those who thought retirement was going to be something that was merely delayed due to the insolvensy of social security -- this sort of "high tech nursing home" is more what they can expect. Monitoring behavior of people you are killing with your underfunded malstaffed institutions is part of the controls that will be necessary. Nursing home residents of the future will have too little to lose and perhaps a final moment of meaning in an otherwise meaningless life to gain through "maladjustment".

Don't know what I'm talking about?

Check this [ddc.net] :

The Domestic End Game

March 4, 2002

I can recall very clearly one morning many years ago while commuting to work in the North suburbs of Chicago hearing the announcement that the government was removing home prices from the CPI. That was 1981, if I am not mistaken. At that time, the CPI was running at about an 8% annual rate of increase, largely because of soaring home prices.

The rise in home prices created a new trend. After 14 years of stagnating stock prices some homeowners would keep their old homes when they moved and rent them in the expectation that the price of the home would keep rising. Thus, the rents were typically set at the homeowners old mortgage rate plus the real estate taxes. I was renting just such a home at the time, and the rent was a mere 3% of the market value of the house. The cash outlay, even net of taxes, was far less than a mortgage on the full market value of the home.

In the place of housing prices the government substituted precisely this type of rent, available on a mere 2% of the total housing stock, and called it "imputed rent." Thus, it was the rental rate charged by the 2% of homeowners who were the most optimistic about price appreciation, so that they could hold on to their first homes and sell them later. All they needed to cover was their cash outlay for mortgage and taxes, and they had to offer a rental bargain to lure away tenants from the siren song of appreciation and tax deductions that they might otherwise have if they purchased a house instead of renting a house.

Of course this imputed rental vastly understated the actual cash outlay for housing by about 55% of the American public which owned homes, but that was precisely the point. In response to the inflation of the 1970's Congress indexed both Social Security had Federal income tax marginal rates to the CPI, which was then based upon a fixed basket of goods. Thus, inflation hurt our imperial government by raising its costs (Social Security) and lowering its revenues (indexed marginal tax rates). This CPI adjustment had the effect of repealing the politically popular protections enacted by Congress to shield the public from the effects of inflation (raising their taxes and lowering their retirement incomes).

And since shelter costs represented 40% of the CPI, I knew that the CPI would chronically understate inflation from that point onward. Instead of a fixed basket of goods, it had become a political fiction, created by un-elected inner-party bureaucrats to preserve the power of the imperial government they so thoroughly idolized.

Some twenty years later I read a news article which states that the average Social Security Benefit has just been increased to reflect this year's CPI and is now $872 per month.

Tilt!!!

An efficiency apartment in what our imperial elites effectionately refer to as the "fly-over" areas of the country costs $550 per month.

So how on earth can anybody actually live on Social Security?

Folks, social security has already been repealed.

Game over!!!

Twenty years of inner party monkeying with the CPI has produced a pot of water with a gradually rising temperature which has finally cooked the frog.

As the infirmities of old age set in, most of the elderly end up in retirement homes.

A decent retirement home costs about $20,000 per year. What kind of care can a Social Security recipient expect in exchange for his monthly check of $872?

The answer - mean, nasty, brutish and short!

The inner party has crafted an old age program that more closely resembles Logan's Run (a sci-fi movie you all should see) than old age support. And this specially engineered Logan's Run will have a differential impact - hitting the hardest those population groups that are the least cohesive, the least tribal and the most infected by the culture of extreme individualism. Fifty percent of the Euro-American elderly face a very bleak future indeed.

The brutality and euthanasia carried out randomly against the Euro-Amercian elderly by nursing home staffs drawn from population groups trained to view us as oppressors, haters, and the racial enemy, will in practical effect serve the imperial government's interests by reducing its costs. Managements of these facilities will have a massive interest in hushing it up and spinning it out of existence, and while the rare instances of public exposure will call forth public investigations and promises of reform, nothing much will come of it because the inner party will not benefit.

Some of the more obvious fraud in the CPI has become public. For example, while less than 50% of the public has personal or home computers, personal computers are in the index because their prices are falling. Meanwhile, college tuition, which 60% of the public must pay, is not in the CPI because it has been rising very rapidly.

Jimmy Rogers, a long time critic of the CPI cites the famous example of the Chevy Camaro which may cost $22,000 on the dealer's lot, but which is carried on the books of the CPI at $7,600. The imperial government considers airbags, catalytic converters, fuel injection systems and anti-lock brakes "quality improvements" and has reduced the price of cars in the CPI to reflect these "improvements". When they first started this process, the adjustments were small, but now they have become so large as to be an obvious embarrassment.

Much less well understood are the effects of chain weighting.

Like most of the outer party, I never ventured into a grocery store during my working career. Similarly, I had never ventured inside a Wall Mart.

I used to mention that inflation was falling to my wife, and she would uniformly insist that the news reports were bull.

Indeed, early retirement has opened up whole new vistas on the problem of government lies (which have become one and the same with inner party lies) and their relation to our collective fate.

I actually went into a grocery store and did some shopping.

After 20 years of absence, it was a cultural shock. Suddenly, I had graphic images to associate with the manipulative techniques of "chain weighting," substitution effects and "quality improvements".

The first thing I noticed is that there are two entirely separate freezer sections for cold cuts, hot dogs and sausage at opposite ends of the store. In one section, the cold cuts that I was familiar with 20 years ago cost about $7 per pound. I was shocked at how expensive the sliced roast beef, cheddar, Swiss cheese and summer sausage had become.

These expensive cold cuts were near the entrance to the store on the way to the section where busy yuppies can pick up their chicken dinners.

Back in the rear of the store next to the dairy section was a much larger selection of cold cuts and hot dogs that generally cost about $3 per pound. And I was fascinated to learn what this stuff was made of.

As it turns out, most of the hot dogs and bologna are chicken or turkey - something which they were never made from when I was growing up and which I had never been aware of before - apparently made up of 50 percent soy bean meal and 50 percent chicken or turkey parts. The few hot dogs and bologna selections labeled "beef" consisted of hearts, kidneys, and other parts that are hard on the digestive system, along with the usual helping of soy bean meal.

Suddenly it all became clear.

We now have our very own version of Soylent Green (another sci-fi movie you should see), as these new meat flavored and textured soybean concoctions have become a mainstay of most of our people's diets. Of course, it is dressed up to look like the foods we had 30 years ago.

In truth, it is one step above the fare offered for sale in the pet food isle, that costs about fifty cents a pound.

The imperial government has promulgated regulations allowing the food industry to deceive us by labeling as chicken or beef, that which is fractionally chicken or beef, while the statisticians have lowered CPI by taking advantage of the "substitution effects" of increasing consumption of the soy bean byproducts blended in with the chicken and beef.

Chain weighting means that as people respond to the inflation of beef prices and consume less, the government decreases the weight or percentage for beef in the CPI basket of goods. Thus, the only way you can have inflation with chain weighting is if wages are rising fast enough that people can afford to keep buying the same stuff.

Put another way, all you have to do to eliminate inflation in a chain weighted CPI is keep wage rates from rising. Then, people are forced to substitute cheaper goods, and the more expensive ones gradually disappear from the index.

My trips to the grocery store in retirement have taken on a special meaning. I now watch and wonder at my fellow Euro-Americans strolling contentedly in the isles. They remind me of a huge herd of docile cattle quite content to chew their cuds and hope that their imperial masters slaughter them slowly and painlessly.

The critcial point is that this herd is fully capable of a thunderous and wildly destructive stampede if aroused - but otherwise they are utterly incapable of organizing and doing the relatively easy and non-destructive things that would force their imperial masters to represent their interests. After all, the numbers are still on their side.

Every time I go to the grocery store I carefully observe my fellow Euro-Americans and ponder this central question. What exactly do we carry in our own evolutionary psychology that makes us so uniquely vulnerable among humankind?

What is it that makes our people unwilling to confront what they plainly see right in front of their noses?

Professor Kevin MacDonald has plumbed the depths of the evolutionary psychology of the inner party - a psychology that explains their total dominance of our society and culture. His discussions of the psychoanalytic movement, the Frankfurt School and the criticism of gentile culture in "The Culture of Critique" are so brilliant and important that I have assigned that book the status of one of the seven pillars of WN.

However, the inner party's strength does not explain our weakness and passivity - our total unfitness for survival in a multicultural society.

In fact, there is virtually nothing written about our own evolutionary psychology with one possible exception.

Back in 1978 John Murray Cuddihy wrote "No Offense: Civil Religion and Protestant Taste" a brilliant piece (the title of which was suggested by Jeffery Hart and Joe Sobran back in better days!) which suggests what is lodged so deeply in the Euro-American evolutionary psychology.

As Andrew M. Greeley states on the dust jacket:

  • "Bourgeois Civility ... is clearly one of the most important "compromises" by which we hold our multiethnic, pluralistic society together. Cuddihy is the first American sociologist to dig deeply into the greatest mystery of all about American pluralism: How does the nation survive? The book is critically important for anyone who finds it astonishing that a country as large, as diversified, as quickly put together as the United States has managed to endure with only one Civil War and with a bare minimum of violence compared to the other great continental pluralisms of the World."

In Cuddihy's own words:

  • "I argue in this book that we will never know what "civil religion" is until we stand it on its head, inverting civil religion into the religion of civility." ... under the cover of its prim title, [the religion of civility] in its rites and practices, is activist, aggrandizing, subversive, intrusive, incivil. This complex code of rites instructs us in the ways of being religiously inoffensive, of giving "no offense," of being religiously sensitive to religious differences. Being complexly aware of our religious appearances to others is to practice the religion of civility. Thus, [the religion of civility] is the social coreography of tolerance. It dances out an attitude."

Cuddihy has hit upon something profound. While the rules and dogmas of this religion of civility are nowhere set forth on paper, they are universally followed and vigorously enforced in our everyday lives. Being thus unexpressed but uniformly understood and enforced, this "religion of civility" is quintessentially a racial phenomenon. For better or for worse, it is our very own racial phenomenon. It can only exist as a result of our evolutionary psychology.

What Cuddihy fails to note is that this religion of civility has no hold whatsoever on the inner party which routinely sponsors artists and art exhibitions with display "piss Christ" and other offensive works. The unending inner party efforts to drive even neutered and watered down religious themes from public Christmas celebrations is also offensive, as are their unending demands that various parts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John be ignored by Christian denominations (these demands are set forth in "Christian Beliefs and Anti-Semitism", a research project and book sponsored by the Anti- Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (1966) and the acquiescence of organized Christendom to all those demands is recounted triumphantly by Elliott Abrams in his 1997 book "Faith or Fear.")

The religion of civility is confined to the European Descendants of Christendom.

Cuddihy argues that in response to the bloody religious wars from 1500 - 1700 in Europe, a reaction set in during the Enlightenment (1700 - 1800) which gradually stripped religions of their intense beliefs, rendering them mere denominations capable of coexisting in a civil society.

Sir Arthur Keith would argue that the development of Cuddihy's religion of civility was a by-product of a 1000 year process of tribal amalgamation of Europe, during which kings conquered neighboring tribes and fused their loyalties into those of broader multi-ethnic nationalisms. During this 1000 year process, tribal loyalties were repressed by force, and tolerance drummed into the heads of our European populations by the sticks and carrots of force and patronage.

The Ole Ygg would argue that the process of tribal amalgamation was only possible in Europe because of a 5000 year old evolutionary psychology forged by the certainty of starvation in northern winters for those who carelessly offended neighboring villagers upon whom they might have to depend for survival if crops failed or fish migrated from habitual fishing banks.

In such a harsh environment, habits of civility would confer an enormous survival advantage. Indeed an invader could find lots of uninhabited spaces to settle in the northern wastes, but unless that invader was already familiar with the local fishing and farming techniques, it would perish by spring. Suspicion and hostility toward strangers were not necessary to secure genetic separation nor safety from invasion from afar.

Sadly, we were all illiterate 2000 years ago and have no records of this.

The only tantalizing scrap I have been able to find is Wayne Johnston's marvelous description of the Southern Coast of Newfoundland in pages 344 through 355 of his historical novel "Colony of Unrequited Dreams." He notes the generosity and complete lack of suspicion toward strangers exhibited by desperately poor and isolated subsistence fishermen 75 years ago. These people were so completely isolated from contact with the outside world and with the neighboring villages that each developed its own dialect of English that was very difficult for anyone outside the village to understand.

  • "What I had not realized was how cut off from the world in both space and time these people were. Most of them did not understand or even have a word for the concept of government . [They] had only a rudimentary understanding of what a country was. And at the same time were destitute beyond anything I imagined when I first set out. And these were the people I thought to unionize, organize? I was able to get across only the notion that I had come to try to help them. But as I had with me none of the forms of help they were familiar with - no supply boat, no medicine, no clerical collar - they regarded me as something of a crackpot, showing up from out of nowhere empty-handed but apparently convinced that my mere presence among them would somehow improve their lot. Yet if I had told the head of any household that from now on I would live with him, he would have assured me that I was welcome.

    "At the sight of an unfamiliar person in their harbor, people came running from their houses. They ran, it turned out, because to the first person to shake my hand would go the privilege of serving us a cup of tea or putting us up for the night. I was greeted with open hearted bemusement, welcomed into a home where my insistence on talking unions and politics was viewed as a forgivable, but not to be encouraged shortcoming. Of course they would join my union, they said, seeming embarrassed as if it impugned their hospitality for me to have to ask for anything. But it turned out they had no money for union dues nor for anything else."

Where could such natural and unschooled civil behavior toward strangers come from?

Apparently the ancestors of these people were English farmers transported to Newfoundland 200 years earlier, who had to be teach themselves how to fish in order to survive.

And isn't this exactly the kind of behavior you would expect if you were transported back in time 6000 years to the stone houses pictured in National Geographic in the Orkney Islands north of Scotland when they were first built?

This is what I ponder while roaming the isles of the grocery store and surveying the great herds of docile Euro-Americans.

They seem incapable of recognizing obvious facts that might offend other groups in our multi- cultural experiment just as the primitive Newfoundlanders of 75 years ago were incapable of considering the option of expelling Joe Smallwood (protagonist of this historical novel and first provincial premier of Newfoundland following Union with Canada in 1949) back onto the ice floes from which he came.

Sadly, we can no longer go to Newfoundland and study these people, because Joe Smallwood removed them from their remote island villages and sent them to government sponsored "employment centers" on the main island, where they have been deluged with televised images from Hollywood.

So one is left to ponder just how deeply rooted this instinctive lack of suspicion might be, and at what point empathy for the individual casualties of this multicultural experiment might galvanize us to collective defensive action?

It seems readily apparent that a certain focused rudeness is essential for survival in a multicultural society. Can our people figure out appropriate non-violent behaviors on their own and implement them as individuals? Or are they completely dependent on charismatic leaders to stir them up against an ememy and its agenda?

Only time will tell.

In the meantime the domestic end-game of our imperial government is quite clear.

The fundamental falsehood of the CPI has produced a perpetual and enormous tax increase aimed largely at the middle class - a tax increase that has allowed the imperial government to dramatically reduce its outstanding debt. This huge tax increase has created a vast and permanent fiscal drag on the economy which our imperial government has managed to counteract by convincing the consumer to do the opposite of what the government is doing, namely, to pile into debt, thereby vastly increasing his risk profile.

To facilitate increasing consumer indebtedness, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have financed a spectacular boom in housing prices (all comfortably outside of the CPI) that has allowed consumers to pull cash out of their homes by periodically refinancing their mortgages and increasing their debt.

At the same time, Trotskyite inner party vanguardists like Alan Greenspan have infiltrated the Republican party and actively encourage the more extreme ideologies of atomized individualism, one of which is a seething contempt for Social Security which they have successfully implanted among outer party baby boomers (ensuring that they will not come to the defense of their lesser brethren dependent upon it). The vanguard has convinced them that they can do better for themselves by investing in the stock market and in MacMansions.

It is an obviously absurd strategy, as the very same ugly demographics which inform the conservative's contempt for Social Security - and which have induced our imperial government to lie its way out of Social Security - will be absolutely lethal for housing and stock prices just as soon as baby boomers begin to retire in significant numbers.

Nevertheless, our upper middle class baby boomers want to believe that they can escape without resort to rudeness.

The central characteristic of all multicultural societies is that groups use the central government to compete for resources. Groups compete even as individual members of those groups smile in the faces of members of other groups with whom they interact from day to day. Groups which master this essentially duality of existence do very well in multicultural societies.

Members of groups which refuse to compete experience significant adverse headwinds, the effects of which are, from a statistical perspective, incredibly difficult for an individual to escape.

As I wander through the isles of the local grocery store I watch and wonder. It occurs to me that the obedient herd is not really contented. They clearly cannot be happy with the $3 per pound mystery "meat" parading as hot dogs and cold cuts.

But it is a profound inhibition against rudeness and uncivil behavior that keeps the discontent in check.

Meanwhile our imperial government has created a wildly unbalanced and unstable economic structure that is certain to be the source of much serious discontent over the next 20 years.

But when you watch what the imperial government actually does, you see that it is paring back its debt and conserving its resources as if to save them to counter that discontent not with ameliorative relief efforts (which it vigorously foreswears with lies) but with force.

It is spending a significant amount of money to accustom its core Euro-American population to the sight of other Euro-Americans being randomly selected and searched in public, thereby de-sensitizing them to the very techniques that will routinely be used against them once they are provoked to resistance by the inevitable economic crises.

It is only a question of time before we are required to carry ID cards and submit to arbitrary searches just like Palestinians.

Forget about the gentle slaps on the wrist that our imperial government meted out to inner party rioters back during the civil rights, SDS and free speech riots of the 1960s. The treatment the imperial government is preparing to dish out to us is - how shall we say it - a tad more brusque!

I see an imperial government that fully expects to be able to exploit economic crises it knows are coming to speed up our destruction and displacement, and is preparing to do just that!

The collector from Northern Virginia, who I often mention, runs ad hoc focus groups in which he pokes and prods members of the outer party to articulate that which they all clearly must see and understand.

He reports that they all understand the taboos quite well, and that they all firmly resist articulating some fairly obvious truths. The source of the inhibition is unclear, particularly when it can reasonably be deduced from the questions that the questioner will not be offended by a taboo response.

The older respondents are so pleased with their stock portfolios and their home price appreciation that they feel no discontent at all. It is only the younger Euro-American males who almost uniformly express a mild if unfocused sense of dissatisfaction.

The good news is, I think we can work with that.

We know from history that Euros are not always peaceful, cooperative and trusting of strangers.

Further, in its hubris, the inner party has constructed a very complex and unstable train with lots of moving parts, and may opportunities to derail.

We have the option of sitting and waiting as passive observers for one of those accidental derailments.

But the key to our success when those happen will be a clear understanding of our own evolutionary psychology and the limits it imposes upon our ability to persuade our own people to become pushy, demanding, and rude.

To be credible, we are going to have to demonstrate a concern and caring for our own through tangible relief efforts when the economic calamities arrive.

And if collective self defense requires passionate acts and charismatic leaders, we can produce them.

But like any good infantry platoon leader, my task is to keep the young hero's head down and out of the line of fire until his organizing activities and oratory can actually produce worthwhile results.

And to that task I remain firmly committed.

Yggdrasil-

Maybe lead to actually more freedom? (2, Insightful)

Fiz Ocelot (642698) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659641)

Perhaps if they can always monitored for location and vital signs, elderly people can actually have more freedom and safety? They would be more able to get out of the house and do things without worrying about anything.

Some people must choose between a nursing home or a live-in nurse, and this could help mitigate the costs. Maybe even more privacy, nobody will need to physically go in and bother them to see if they're ok, all vitals are constantly monitored.(I don't know if they can monitor vitals like that yet, but they will)

Re:Maybe lead to actually more freedom? (1)

ExistentialFeline (696559) | more than 10 years ago | (#9660212)

Researchers at UW have been working on a long-term project to keep track of what a patient with alzheimers is doing and remind them if they forget, so that they can continue living in their home. linkage [washington.edu]

So it's no longer Big Brother... (2, Funny)

Sielle (785160) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659645)

So it isn't Big Brother that's watching us any more, it's Young Whipper Snapper? They keep making things so difficult to follow.

Nice.... (2, Insightful)

cbdavis (114685) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659671)

I am really looking forward to getting stuck in a
home. 3 squares a day. 24 hour security. cameras or RFID tags to follow me. No worries or
responsibilities. Wait...sounds like prison.....!

Never mind

Just as grandma predicted (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659673)

"Key chain fobs for residents that will wirelessly unlock doors to the complex and link to their accounts for purchases in the gift shop and in-house bar."

At least a few of those old people are going to relate this to the beast, though it's difficult to liken a fob to a mark on the right hand or forehead.

Sad... (4, Insightful)

igrp (732252) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659694)

As I geek I find this interesting. As a human being though, I do find it sad.

I recently had to deal with a legal case of an elderly gentleman. I can't give any details but it was basically Mr. American Dream: young man immigrates, starts company, finds a niche, works hard and eventually becomes wealthy.

Due to a heart condition, and I suspect old age in general, he required constant supervision. Since his kids just couldn't handle it any more (I realize this is harsh but taking care of someone 24/7 isn't exactly easy) they moved him into an assisted living community.

Now, this man was wealthy and, generally doing fine when he moved in. Almost two years and more than $9000 a month later, he was broke and doing not so well (emphasis is on not).

I got to see the place and on the outside everything was alright. Modern facilities, friendly staff, a pool, competent medical personell and a state of the art security system. That's right. Camera surveillance that would make the British government pale in envy. Even in some of the rooms. Motion detectors. Wireless heart monitors. Kinda spooky in an Orwellian way.

Of course, this was all not used for surveillance purposes - they installed all this for safety and/or medical reasons. And, of course, the patients signed off on it and were(mostly) aware that they're being monitored.

The problem is, the constant lack of human interaction (the most you could hope for is somebody coming by once a day to see if you were indeed still alive) is hard on those old people and it does seem to have a really negative effect on their health. Of course, I can't prove a direct correlation but it was pretty obvious that his man's deteriorating health at least had to do with him feeling that there was nothing left to look forward to.

I think this is one of those instances were technology is not helping but rather hurting us.

Re:Sad... (1)

hugesmile (587771) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659888)

the most you could hope for is somebody coming by once a day to see if you were indeed still alive

I wonder if chat rooms (or other technology interaction) would help. Sounds silly (I can't imagine teaching my 100 year old grandfather how to sign onto a computer. And his vision would be an obstacle). But I bet when you and I are 90, we'll have some other options for communication besides face-to-face.

I'll probably be in chat rooms pretending to be 59 and handsome....

Re:Sad... (2, Interesting)

ExistentialFeline (696559) | more than 10 years ago | (#9660201)

My grandfather learned to use a computer at 88 or so. He died this year at 91. He mostly used the computer to read his home town newspaper online and write emails, though I imagine he did some other websurfing. I offered to do stuff like play cards online with him but he never took me up on the offer. Of course I think my uncle gave him some equipment that was kinda unreliable so he was offline on a more frequent basis than normal. One of his big problems was that he was pretty much perfectly sound of mind of mind but that there wasn't much of anyone to talk to at the facilities except the nurses because most of the other residents weren't "fully there" anymore.

Slashdotters in fifty years.... (2, Funny)

sockonafish (228678) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659798)

Where's my tin-foil colostomy bag?

What will your old age look like ? (1)

sane? (179855) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659812)

If you look into it, getting old sucks, big time.

Not only do you have all the pleasures of old age, and your rapidly approaching death to look forward to - you have to consider who will help you when you can't help yourself.

Now maybe you'll get lucky. Maybe your children, if you have them, will take care of your, for years maybe. However, with the selfish imperative so much to the fore in today's society, do you really think they are going to drop their lives to look after the end of yours?

So we come to nursing homes. Well, the numbers just don't add up. The cost of that people based care is crippling - savings that you might still have are eaten up and no state wants to pay the money needed to meet even the worst care around.

Technologies like these mentioned help to reduce the number of people needed to look after old people, making the budgets make a bit more sense. However trading what it means to be human for a few more years of life is not a trade that most people want to make.

So, you technocrats out there. While you still have your health and your marbles, consider creating some technology that will support you even when you don't know what day it is. The right type of technology that will maintain your humanity - before you have to use it yourself.

Hope they remove the tags... (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659824)

...or the Soylent Green [imdb.com] will have crunchy bits..

Re:Hope they remove the tags... (1)

xtermpie (701267) | more than 10 years ago | (#9660200)

You only have 117 chars in your sig :-)

Ma, It's not a nursing home! (1)

OzPhIsH (560038) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659954)

It's a Retirement Community

Computer... (1)

Mark_in_Brazil (537925) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659970)

Nurse: Computer, where is Captain Kirk?
Majel Roddenberry's voice, extra-nasal: Captain Kirk is not in the nursing home.
Nurse: Can you locate him?
Computer: Processing
(pause)
Computer: Captain Kirk has been located by the Personal Emergency Response System of the Hilton corporation. He is in a corridor with a camera crew from Priceline. He is approaching Captain Spock's room.

On a related story (in Japan) (1)

lxt (724570) | more than 10 years ago | (#9660013)

The Register was reporting yesterday that Japan was planning to RFID school kids so that they could be monitored on their way to school: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/07/09/japanese_t ag_schoolkids/

What exactly is the justification for that (2, Insightful)

tarks (529856) | more than 10 years ago | (#9660022)

As I read this I thought what the hell...

There is possibly no way to show more clearly that you want to deprieve elderly people of their human rights, to show that they are second class at best.

Somebody else here wrote that old people themselves like to have some support in living once it gets tough. Those that I know judge their ability to handle daily live as being wastly better than their relatives. But their are definitely some of those self-reflecting types.

So suppose you want to have help coping with your every day life. That means you want people to help you and you want them to do the hard part. Those things you tell them you do not feel capable of. And maybe someone who takes care of your partner who picked up the habit of wandering away at night. But this involves real people too. Not a camera and some remote operator. You definitely do not want to loose your privacy.

So basically you have the problem: Old people need a lot of help and care. Things that are expensive in terms of human resources by definition. Because you consciouly or not do not consider them worth the effort you try to find some cheap fake-solutions. In this case by reducing the help-and-care-problem to the fact of people tending to get lost and defining that the problem is them getting lost. Not them being disoriented or maybe basically being just lonesome or depressive.

I could rant on and on about how short-sighted, inhuman and plainly disgusting materialistic this is.

So long and thanks for all the fish

Re:What exactly is the justification for that (1)

ExistentialFeline (696559) | more than 10 years ago | (#9660246)

There were around 72 million baby-boomers('45-'64 or so), who can expect a longer life than their forbears due to current medical technology. There were only around 18 million Gen-X's('60's-'70's) and there were about 60 million Gen-Y's ('79-'94 or so.) So that makes around 78 million people capable of caring for around 72 million people. Do you think we won't need technology to help? source: wordIQ [wordiq.com]

What about the Clapper??!! (1)

john_smith_45678 (607592) | more than 10 years ago | (#9660039)

Clap-On! Clap-Off!

Surely those have been in retirement homes for years - not high-tech? :p

Nurses in charge (1)

JamesKPolk (13313) | more than 10 years ago | (#9660122)

Ah, but do they have fog machines and control over the passage of time?
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