Surveillance: seniors and their families struggle with debate

I s surveillance a good thing? Touchy subject. On one hand, safety. On the other hand, abuse of privacy.

So let’s look at a couple different scenarios in surveillance:

Edward Snowden’s release of classified documents uncovered the existence of numerous global surveillance programs, many of them run by the NSA and the "Five Eyes" (U. S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and UK) with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments. It has catalyzed the debate over the past 12 months about surveillance and privacy.

Use of surveillance tech to monitor seniors at home is on the rise. A remote monitoring system uses a series of cameras and motion sensors placed around a home to detect patterns and monitor safety. When these sensors and cameras note something out of the ordinary, a text is sent to the caregiver to alert them something may be wrong. The caregiver can then check on their loved one through cameras or call them to see if there really is an emergency.

In a CBC report, a Canadian monitoring system company executive stated, "It was meant to create safety and security for the senior, and it was meant to alleviate the stress of the caregiver. Seniors get to live where they want to live. Caregivers get to grant their parents their wishes, and do so without having the burden placed on them."

Does it make you think of surveillance in a different way? Well, of course, the context is quite different.

Here’s a practical example. Your aging mom is forgetting to take her medications and leaving the front door wide open some days. So you have a monitoring system put in place that tracks when her medication cupboard is open and closed, and also tracks when the front door is open and closed. Failure to open the medication cupboard, and failure to close the door result in text messages sent directly to your phone to let you know something’s amiss. It even tells you if she didn’t get out of bed, or if movement isn’t detected. Pretty great system for safeguarding a parent’s security.

So are seniors accepting this loss of privacy to significantly increase their safety at home? Yes! And no. The opinions are divided amongst seniors. Some are willing to accept the monitoring so that they can remain living at home. Others will not give up privacy in their own home in exchange for the potential safety benefits.

It will remain divided.

In any case, remote monitoring is here.

Sons and daughters that are using it for aging parents are finding it the next best thing to poking their head in the door every hour to ask "is everything fine?" Without the trip over each time of course! For the senior, it’s about safety. But for the daughters and sons it’s about stress relief. And what’s that worth? You and your aging parents will have to judge that together.

Chris Wilkinson is the owner/GM for Nurse Next Door Home Care Services for Cowichan and central Vancouver Island. For questions or a free in-home consultation call 250-748-4357, or email Chris at Cowichan@NureNextDoor. com

Just Posted

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

Grade 12 students Sophia Kazakoff and Catherine Yuan accept QMS’s Stigma Free Designation award from Stigma-Free Society president, Andrea Paquette. (Submitted)
Duncan’s QMS earns ‘Stigma-Free’ designation

“No school in the province has accomplished what QMS did in such a short period of time”

“About a year after it was last used for a bottle drive, Lake Cowichan’s derelict Scout and Guide Hall came down Monday, June 6. Girl Guides have since moved into different churches and halls around the area. Town council has yet to decide what will be done with the now vacant town-owned site.” (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette, June 8, 2011)
Flashback: A.B. Greenwell, Lady of the Lake, good and bad news for the Lake News

What was making headlines this week around Cowichan Lake in years gone by

Conner Gilkin, 5, shows of some of his newfound loot to buddy Jax Dul, 7, during the Lake Cowichan treasure hunt on Saturday, June 5. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)
Weekly hunt has Lake Cowichan digging for treasure

Gold? Silver? Candy? Andrew Braye has stashed away a range of prizes for eager treasure hunters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read