Having elderly parents that live alone comes with a unique set of challenges. Day-to-day living is a continuous juggling act of work, family, and social obligations. Sometimes, finding the time to regularly check in with older, independent loved ones can be difficult.
Australian company, Sofihub, has designed a tech solution to this quandary in the shape of the Sofihub Home and the Sofihub Beacon. Smart care is a rapidly growing market, and it’s not hard to see why when you look at the benefits that digital technology can afford not just the elderly, but anyone who needs a little extra help in their life.
Described as a digital concierge, the Sofihub Home looks like a smart speaker and can be placed anywhere in the house. There’s a built-in SIM for 4G connection, although the Home will also link up to your Wi-Fi, so the mobile network can effectively act as a backup should the connection drop.
It comes with eight battery-operated motion sensors that are deployed throughout the house and then paired with the Home. These sensors will detect behavioural abnormalities, so if the user enters the bathroom or bedroom for the night and doesn’t exit in a predetermined time, an SMS is relayed to a preprogrammed list of emergency numbers (up to ten). Contact can then be made through the two-way talk functionality of the Home, utilising its inbuilt speaker.
Home can also be set to trigger regular appointments, diary commitments or medication reminders through voice prompts. All-important data is collected is stored in the SOFIHUB portal, included in the monthly subscription cost, and accessed via a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Carers can log in and get a real-time update from the home, and even send direct text-to-voice message reminders if needed. Think of the Home as a housemate that will continually monitor activity and provide a means of direct communication for all family members.
There are so many potential uses for the Sofihub Beacon that it’s hard to nail it down to one particular user type. This neat bit of kit is much more than just a safety pendant. Light in weight for easy travel (you can wear it as a pendant or just slip it in your pocket) and waterproof, the Beacon has a 4G sim card and can make and receive calls through a built-in speaker.
A single touch ‘SOS’ button will send an immediate alert to an assigned contact in case of an emergency, and if the first contact isn’t available, it’ll automatically move on to the next name on the list. One of the stand-out features included with Beacon is live GPS tracking and geofencing functionality. With the GPS tracking, you can keep pinpoint tabs on your loved one when they’re out and about, ensuring that you know their location wherever they are and exactly where they’ve been.
Geofencing makes it possible to establish areas on a map by setting a radius through the Sofihub portal. Every time the zone is breached, a message is sent to the contacts list, providing an excellent solution if you need to establish safety zones. Fall detection is also included, so if a tumble occurs, again, a message is sent to the emergency contacts. When not in use, the Beacon just sits in the base station recharging. And if you forget to pop it on charge, Beacon will gently remind you to do so with a spoken word.
Digital assisted living devices are certainly not new to the market but Sofihub really puts the ‘smart’ into smart care with a suite of exceptional features. Installing these devices for elderly relatives will not only give you peace of mind in your absence, but it gives your loved ones an additional support option without being overly invasive.