♫MUSIC♫GEORGE HAIGE: Well, and I’m about three months short of 90.
The thing that bothers me now is my gait has been altered alittle bit. I’m a little shaky. MILES O’BRIEN: When George Haige walks around hisapartment, sensors track his every move. Not his face or his How to Strip Paint off Furniture. To make a piece of furniture shine like it’s brand new, start by stripp… identity, just his movements. MARJORIE SKUBIC: We have passive infrared motion sensors that are scattered around the home. MILES O’BRIEN: Haige is one of a number of residents at theSenior Living TigerPlace Apartments in Columbia, Missouri, where they are helping test whether these sensors canhelp solve an age-old, old-age problem.
MARJORIE SKUBIC: The goal is to keep people in their own homesas healthy and independent and functionally active as possible. The actual name working capital loans, states everything. They are loans that offer one with the working … MILES O’BRIEN: With support from the National ScienceFoundation and a White House initiative called US Ignite, Computer Engineer Marjorie Skubic and Nursing ProfessorMarilyn Rantz, at the University of Missouri, are usingnext-generation, high-speed networks to remotely pinpointsubtle changes in an older person’s every day movements. They are monitoring for health problems or distress. GEORGE HAIGE: If I ever fall here, why, they’ll know thatsomebody’s on the floor. MARJORIE SKUBIC: So the hydraulic bed sensor fitsunderneath the mattress, so it’s completely non-invasive. MILES O’BRIEN: They’re testing new sensors under the mattressto measure a sleeper’s heart and breathing rate.
MARJORIE SKUBIC: He wakes up about the same time every day,and he goes to bed about the same time every night. He’s avery consistent schedule. MILES O’BRIEN: Once a pattern is established –MARJORIE SKUBIC: We look for changes in the sensor datapatterns that may correlate with changes in health. MILES O’BRIEN: If there’s a change an email is sent to acaregiver, and a nurse checks in with the resident. MARILYN RANTZ: It could be a change in bed restlessness. Itcould be a change in their heart rate overnight. It could be achange in their respiration.
MILES O’BRIEN: For example, frequent trips to the bathroomcould be an early sign of a urinary tract infection. MARILYN RANTZ: The problems are much easier to solve when it’searly. Urinary tract infections and other infections in olderpeople often lead to sepsis. That’s a blood infection, andthat leads to an ICU stay or death. MILES O’BRIEN: Skubic expects this technology to be on themarket in the near future – and not just to keep tabs on theelderly. She says it will be widely available to anyone witha chronic health condition who would like some extra monitoringat home. For Science Nation, I’m Miles O’Brien.