You may think of wearable electronic monitoring devices as something that criminal defendants sport on their ankles while they're awaiting trial, to ensure that they don't jump bail. But in recent years, researchers have looked to more sophisticated tracking gadgets as a way of giving peace of mind to people with elderly parents or relatives who still are living independently.
One promising device is CarePredict Tempo, a wristwatch for older people that continuously tracks the patterns of their daily existence, from where they go in the house and how much time they spend in each room, to how often they take naps. The company uses that data to construct a prediction of how a person lives, and whenever there's some slight variation, it sends an alert wirelessly to a family member or caregiver. So if Grandma starts sleeping more or walking less, her daughter would be alerted and could take action. Grandma also will receive an alert if she forgets to wear the device [source: CarePredict.com].
The company's website says it will begin shipping the kit, which includes both the wearable device and beacons that allow it to transmit from multiple rooms, in the summer of 2015.