Advanced information technology allows people to check up on the living habits of elderly parents living in faraway places.

Some companies are providing new IT services that monitor the daily use of products such as electric hot water dispensers and gas. This information is dispatched to customers’ mobile phones and personal computers via e-mail.

By monitoring the information they receive, people can detect irregularities in their parents’ lives and quickly check up on their safety.

The companies hope such services will also allow customers to watch their parents on a more casual basis and reduce stress levels by eliminating unnecessary telephone calls.

Thermos bottle maker Zojirushi Corp. has launched a service featuring special electric hot water dispensers to monitor elderly parents.

The dispensers contain wireless communication devices and send signals to a special Web site. Customers can check the site to confirm how their elderly parents have used these products.

The service also provides a customer with information on the latest usage of a dispenser by sending e-mail messages twice a day, the company said.

Zojirushi said it is charging an initial fee of 15,000 yen, while the hot water dispensers can be rented for 3,000 yen a month.

In December, Matsushita Electric Works Ltd. launched a sensor-based service aimed at monitoring the rooms used by elderly people.

The service allows customers can identify possible changes that may appear in their parents’ everyday lives.

When there is cause for concern, customers can obtain information on their parents via e-mail, the company said.

The initial cost is 15,000 yen, plus a monthly charge of 3,000 yen.

In October, Tokyo Gas Co. launched a service that informs customers twice a day how much gas is being used at their elderly parents’ homes, using communication devices installed in gas meters.

The dwelling being monitored must be hooked up to Tokyo Gas, but the people receiving the data do not have to be regular Tokyo Gas customers, the company said.

The service starts at 5,000 yen, with a monthly charge of 1,470 yen, the company said.

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