Pros and Cons of Camera MonitorsSince the creation of so-called “nanny cams,” Americans and persons in other countries have been comfortable with at-home surveillance if done by the homeowner, especially to protect against strangers. For seniors, monitoring also helps not only enhance the safety of a senior if a caregiver is not present but calms the mind of an adult child who may be worried about their loved one. Unlike a small child who cannot be left alone, seniors are often capable of caring for themselves most of the time–until they aren’t. Imagine that you are a caregiver for your elderly mother who is of sound mind but has had some slips lately. No serious injuries have occurred, but it is becoming clearer each day that when you leave the shared home for work, she may fall without anyone to find her for several life-threatening hours. Now, with the right technology, you can check on her every few minutes or see where she is moving or if she stops moving. The use of camera surveillance for the safety of dementia patients or other cognitive disorder is often vital to control the risk of wandering outside the home into danger. A home camera with video monitoring can help assure that the loved one is seen and stopped before leaving the house or venturing far from it.
Using A Camera Can Have ConsequencesHowever, problems can arise from utilizing home camera surveillance. First, you must obtain the consent of the senior person. Recording someone without his or her consent has consequences. Some seniors view the installation of camera equipment in their home as a violation of privacy. Or, they may not be capable of consenting to or denying consent to, the monitoring. That is usually the case with persons with severely advanced cognitive decline. In those cases, the decision lies with the legal guardian who may be the spouse, child, close friend, or lawyer. Navigating this may be difficult. The cost of installation may also be a hurdle. Some persons may be able to find the appropriate equipment and install it themselves. However, many persons require expert installers. This may be expensive and shows why making early plans with the senior person, along with a savings plan, may resolve this issue. A good system may cost more than $1,000, depending on quality.
Questions to Ask When Considering a Home CameraWhen thinking about a home camera, the senior person, the location and the reasons for monitoring must be studied. What is the area to be monitored? How big is the space and does more than one space require monitoring? Remember that someone will not be viewing the monitor constantly, so you should develop a plan to receive alerts if the senior falls. The lighting in a room is also important in order to view the senior clearly. Sometimes, the purpose of a monitor has more to do with the solace of knowing the senior is comfortable and his or her movement and balance can be observed, in addition to monitoring falls. This may require the family to consider a two-way monitoring system.
Types of CamerasPicking the right monitoring camera is not as simple as it may appear. For example, if a camera that follows the movement of a person is desired, a pan/tilt/zoom(PTZ) camera should be considered rather than a fixed camera. Previously, fixed cameras and PTZ were the predominant types of cameras available. Today, the offerings are plentiful. That is why the features that can be added to a security monitoring camera must be weighed.
* Fixed Camera: A common choice is a fixed camera, which is placed in a position to capture images and may be enhanced to function in different types of houses and outdoor structures. With few moving parts, fixed cameras are sometimes more reliable than the pan/tilt/zoom cameras and point in a set, intended direction.
* PTZ Cameras: Cameras that can be positioned remotely are often called PTZ cameras because they can pan, tilt and zoom in on an object. These are specially designed fixed cameras built with gears and motors that allow operators to move it remotely. Higher-end cameras may have a higher zoom range, which may help cover a senior in a larger home. PTZ cameras can be helpful for monitoring a senior as he or she moves around, but are considered most effective when guided manually.
* 360 Degree Camera: This camera is usually the multiple high-resolution security camera placed in a single home. It stitches together the images and allows zooming in and out. Since all images are continuously recorded, the camera can face in all directions and is helpful for keeping a senior in sight or reviewing their past movements. A major drawback to this camera is that few rooms in a home allow unhindered views in every direction making it impossible to utilize the entire field of vision.
Where to Install Security CamerasBecause the security and wellbeing of an elderly loved one are uppermost, it is alright to trust your instincts, but it is also important to ask some tough questions. Where does the elderly loved one need security cameras? Where in the home is the senior most vulnerable to internal or external hazards? Are there areas in the home that are prone to accidents, slips, and falls, or break-ins? The goal should be to thoroughly understand the home and become qualified to determine the best way to keep the senior loved one at home and safe from accidents and intrusions. Some common areas in the home generally pose a greater hazard for the elderly are:
* Stairways: Stairways are the leading cause of accidents and injuries in a home. Interior wooden stairs can be particularly dangerous for slipping on liquids or by wearing socks. A monitoring camera can help ensure that the loved one follows safe practices, such as always using the hand rails. While anyone can misplace a foot, holding the handrail can reduce falls and their impact. But it should be noted that the camera itself is only going to show you if someone has fallen. Making stairs safer or blocking them off if not needed daily is the most important “step”.
* Kitchen: The kitchen is a potential cause of fires in a home from cooking and use of electrical appliances. The senior person may forget to turn off a stove or electrical device. A security camera increases the chance that these potentially dangerous situations are caught before they occur. It will additionally confirm that the senior was making breakfast or dinner. New appliances on the market can reduce the potential danger from a fire and is something that should also be considered if cognitive decline is an issue.
* Front and Back Doors: Front and back doors are good locations for security cameras because they monitor a loved one’s entry and exit can observe possible intruders. Studies show that about one-third of burglars enter through the front door, while about 22% enter through the back. The camera should be out of place sign and out of reach of persons. It should also be protected from projectiles, like rocks and sticks. A peephole camera would also help a senior loved one see persons at the door before it is opened.