A Christmas story for mom and dad

Barbara Johansson

With another year coming to a close, I reflect on how quickly the years seem to pass. It seems like just yesterday that my kids carefully crafted their Christmas wish lists to Santa with large bold Crayons – a few scribbles of red and green added to illustrate Santa leaving packages around the tree. My parents and in-laws could always be counted on to take time out of their busy schedules – work, travel, golf, charities and social engagements – to buy, wrap, cook, clean, decorate, bake and host large family gatherings at the holidays. As young parents we were amazed at their energy and organizational abilities.  After all, we could barely manage to get everybody dressed and out the door in time for Christmas Eve dinner – even so, we arrived 30 minutes late.

Now my kids are teenagers. Christmas lists are images from Amazon that they sent from their phone to mine (color, size and item number included – no substitutions please mom). And our surviving parents and in-laws have long since passed the holiday planning to us “youngsters”. Their memory isn’t what it used to be, and physical limitations, like recovering from hip replacement surgery, make holiday shopping difficult and keeping up with the housework overwhelming.

As with many aging folks, an environment with more care and attention is needed for health, safety, convenience and quality of life. It may sound dreary, but the outlook isn’t so bleak. Elderly care is no longer just a place where people “wait to die”. Many of today’s modern elderly care facilities are designed to be homey and welcoming, with organized activities and social opportunities for residents. They even have parks and gardens to encourage residents to enjoy fresh air and maintain an active lifestyle.

Life and work intersect: Cameras and elderly care

The use of video surveillance in elderly care facilities has been a bit controversial and most countries have strict regulation and compliance measures to protect the personal integrity and privacy of residents. But video cameras have also proven valuable in elderly care – locating wandering dementia patients, detecting falls or accidents, and even identifying trespassers who may have gone unnoticed in the crowd of visiting families and friends.

In our home country, the Swedish Data Protection Authority (Datainspektionen) recently released its initial findings on video surveillance in elderly care facilities following new video surveillance laws passed in 2013. By limiting video surveillance to hallways and communal areas, restricting the hours of video surveillance, and keeping no video recordings, Datainspektionen has concluded that elderly care facilities have adequately mitigated any privacy concerns. They further acknowledge that video surveillance has a clear advantage over alternative measures for ensuring the safety and well-being of residents.

This precedent-setting validation paves the way for continued responsible video surveillance in these types of facilities. So this Christmas, mom and dad can feel safe strolling beyond the confines of their room, their healthcare providers can work more efficiently, and we can resume our busy holiday planning with more peace of mind. And this year, we will be happy to host them, even if they arrive 30 minutes late.

Read more about how Axis protects residents at the Castel Girou and FssilverCare elderly care facilities. Or visit our website to learn more about ways to improve the overall safety and security at hospital or healthcare facilities.