I called these Always-On systems back in 2003, but companies like HealthSense have more user-friendly names for it, like eNeighbor. (Picture from HealthSense.)
The eNeighbor system combines a pendant, sensors, WiFi, a database and monitoring into a $100/month application that can keep elderly patients out of $200/day nursing home.
Testimonial stories are starting to appear, like this one in the International Herald Tribune, in which a Philadelphia woman credits it with saving her life several times and letting her stay at home.
I live in a neighborhood with several elderly friends and the health problems endemic to age make staying at home extremely stressful for everyone.
One 88-year old friend has a 65-year old daughter whose diabetes sends her to the hospital regularly. Across the street a 69-year old man lives with his mother and a son whose COPD induced him to build a ramp to the driveway.
A few doors down from him is is a 95 year old friend who just had her first stroke, and across from her is a 70-plus friend who has to go in for dialysis twice a week.
I want to keep these friends. They are important to me. Monitoring systems will keep them close and save all of us money.
To me that's a win-win-win.