As I sit here at my computer writing this post, Mary Ann is in bed and secure.  Even though the door is closed and the bedroom is in another part of our small townhome, I can see her in bed.  Sometimes electronics actually help!

This afternoon we made a stop at Babies R Us.  I ran in and purchased an A-V monitor set.  It includes a camera, video display unit and a portable audio-only unit that can be clipped to a belt.  What is especially important for me is the size of the video unit.  it has a seven inch screen.  For me that means that as I look at the computer screen, out of my peripheral vision I can see her movements.

After ending up back at the Dermatologist’s office to sew up again a large incision that had broken open completely when Mary Ann fell directly on the stitched area, I decided that I needed to either be joined to her at the hip or find some way to see when she gets up from the chair even if I am not in the room.

I called the manufacturer before I bought this set to determine how to obtain a second camera.  That way I can have one in the bedroom aimed at the bed and one in the living room aimed at her chair.  On Monday, I am going to check on whether or not I could buy another kit (the cheaper one without the audio-only unit) and have two screens as well as two cameras.  I would like to be able to have one in a spot in the kitchen that will allow me to see her from there or from the dining room table, providing even more security. After she was in bed this evening, I was at the dining room table and barely heard her calling.  She had tried to turn over in bed and ended up on her knees on the floor next to the bed.

It just worked!  As I was typing the previous sentence, I saw her moving around.  I checked on her and found her trying to turn over to face the opposite direction.  I was able to help her.  Her Parkinson’s has taken from her the ability to move freely in bed.  I would rather help her when she begins the task of moving than wait until there is a problem that might result in damage.

This new monitor will replace the audio-only baby monitor that we have been using.  One problem for us with audio only is that her voice has gotten so low in volume that it is very difficult to hear her calling over the sound of the television in the bedroom.  The television is Mary Ann’s version of a night light.  While having the television on in the bedroom is not recommended by those who study sleep patterns, it is an important part of Mary Ann’s world.

The security that the A-V monitor provides is not just Mary Ann’s security.  The prime goal is to protect Mary Ann from harm.  Not far behind that goal is the goal of my freedom and peace of mind.  When she is out of sight, I am always aware of her potential for getting hurt, mostly from popping up out the chair and ending up on the floor.  I can feel the stress relief that comes with having her in view when she is in another room.

One of the heaviest burdens of Caregiving is the loss of freedom to move about at will.  When she fell, I had just gone into the kitchen to get something for her.  To lose the freedom to move about the house would be intolerable.  One of my primary distractions when trapped at home is the computer.  I need the freedom to head down the hall, away from the television and concentrate on what I am doing at this desk.  This monitor, as long as it continues to work, gives me that freedom without sacrificing her safety.

There is no way to guarantee that Mary Ann will not fall and be hurt.  What this does is simply add to the practical tools for creating as safe an environment as I can within the limits of available resources.  While we cannot control what happens, we do have some control.  This is another way to use what power I have to help create a safe environment for someone no longer able to keep herself safe.

The monitor I chose is a Summer Day and Night Color Flat Screen Video Monitoring System.  The model number is 02500.  It is available at Toys R Us, or Babies R Us.   If you want to check it out, the web site of the manufacturer is, http://www.summerinfant.com. There was also a monitor I checked on that has a smaller screen but has optional software that allows the monitor to be checked online.  That one is called a MOBI Bundle Monitoring System and Internet Kit.  The website at which I found it was http://www.ActiveForever.com.

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