Losing a partner can be emotionally devastating. But at an old age, it also brings forth an impending sense of loneliness. Take Niharika’s mother for instance: she lost her life partner at a fragile age and now finds herself in a large house with all the health problems associated with old age, but nobody to look after her, 24 hours a day.
For Niharika, this was a pressing concern, understandably. She tried to convince her mother to shift to a nursing home, but to no avail. Her mother had spent most of her life maintaining that house as a loving home for Niharika and her father. She had a lot of memories attached to it: Of raising Niharika, building a bond with her father when they were newly married, and countless more.
One day, Niharika’s mother complained about feeling weak, making Niharika paranoid about her health. Since she had been working long hours, Niharika called her husband, Aditya for help. She devised an arrangement, wherein Aditya and she would spend alternative nights with her mother till they were able to convince her to move to a nursing home.
However, that day, Niharika returned home to find Aditya still there. Furious, she questioned Aditya why he hadn’t gone to her mother’s house yet, like he had promised. After a long and tiring day at work, she found herself irate and scolded Aditya for being immature and irresponsible.
After reassuring Niharika that her mother was completely fine, having had her medication, Aditya proceeded to tell Niharika about the ‘smart sensors’ that he had installed in her mother’s house. He was confident that he had found the perfect solution to their worries.
Smart bulbs in all the rooms which can measure her heart rate, breathing and movement – a high tech innovation – were now monitoring Niharika’s grandmother. Pulling out his smartphone, Aditya showed Niharika how they can check her mother’s vitals anytime that they wanted to, on their phone screens.
Aditya told Niharika about the sensor that he had attached to her mother’s bathroom door, which would give them a notification if Niharika’s mother did not come out of the restroom for a long period of time.
He explained that the system also included activity sensors. With these, they would be warned if she was standing, breathing, lying down or even if she is at risk of falling down! Niharika was curious as to how this was possible. Aditya explained that the sensor could detect sudden changes in her walking speed or gait automatically and alert them, if required.
Just when they had started to appreciate the usefulness of technology, a notification on Aditya’s phone informed the couple that Niharika’s mother has not switched on her TV. Since it was well past the regular time of her mother watching her favorite daily soap, Niharika became anxious once more. Immediately, Niharika dialed her mother’s number.
Relieved to hear her voice, Niharika asked her mother about the TV and laughed after her she told Niharika that she wanted to sleep and would watch her serial online, later.Breathing a sigh of relief, Niharika thanked Aditya and apologized for having been rude earlier.
Henceforth, Niharika slept peacefully, not worried about her mother living alone and without any support. Because of the smart sensors, she was able to monitor her mother’s health constantly. Moreover, she stopped feeling guilty for having to convince her mother to shift to a nursing home. She could respect her mother’s wishes without any stress or major lifestyle change. Eventually, she began to realize how crucial it was for her aging mother to live a dignified life, with ample privacy, surrounded by the loving memories that she had carefully made with her family.1