Yesterday, I saw Robot and Frank a film I gave thumbs up to in another blog. The story, with the brilliant actor Frank Langella as Frank, is about the supposed future, but is here right now.
What the family needed was a geriatric care manager to help Frank’s dysfunctional family understand his point of view by being threatened with a nursing home, (or as he sees it “ mental institution), because he has early Alzheimer’s. He’s a cat burglar who, as the movie opens, to his horror, just broke into his own house. What the adult siblings got instead of a geriatric care manager was a robot, who turned out to have a very human side to him, totally captured at the film’s end. I went with 2 other aging professionals and we laughed throughout the film but noticed the older folks in the dark cinema were not laughing, as this was their worst nightmare, dementia, their families, robots and being placed in a nursing home.
A geriatric care manager can help family with technology- not the robot of the film but technology that can be used to help seniors and those with special needs, (even ex cat burglars), live safely in their home. Technology has the potential to help older people to maximize their independence, support family caregivers’ needs, improve the quality of care and quality of life, reduce and limit the cost of health care, and increase efficiency of care.
For example, telehealth devices or residential monitoring systems can be used to monitor when the older person’s pattern differs from the routine, and send an alarm to a central monitoring location if either health conditions or movement patterns differ from a previously observed or programmed norm. In this way, a condition that is starting to emerge may be identified before it becomes serious enough to warrant an emergency room visit and the dreaded nursing home placement, as Frank and the other older people in the theater, so feared.
See Robot and Frank- it’s fabulous -plus call a geriatric care manager before what happens in the film to Frank and his family befalls your own aging parent and you.