Assisted-living facility gets technology assist

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PORTLAND, Ore. “” Sometimes late at night, Rayna Jacobson needs to know her dad is OK. He lives only across town, but he’s 83 and has Alzheimer’s disease. She worries.

So she logs onto the website for the assisted-living facility where he lives and sees with her own eyes: a little icon of a figure in bed. It means her father’s asleep.

“It’s kind of like, ‘ahhh,” she says. “It gives me a comforting feeling.”

Her father lives at Oatfield Estates, a high-tech assisted-living facility set in the shadow of Mount Hood, where residents are electronically measured and monitored 24/7. And for the most part, they love it. So do their families.

Jacobson, 55, and the rest of her family can visit the website any time to check on her father, Jack Jacobson, a retired nuclear engineer and financial planner. They can see where he is at any moment; what he does throughout the day, week or month; how warm or cool his room is; and how often he calls for help. They can even see how often he socializes and how much he weighs.

As the USA’s 79 million baby boomers grow older, the nation is about to hit a caregiver crisis, says Andrew Carle, director of the Program in Assisted Living/Senior Housing Administration at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

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