GrandCare Blog

GrandCare Shines at Boomer Summit

GrandCare Shines at Boomer Summit

Once again, this year GrandCare is exhibiting and showcasing our latest features at the 14th annual What’s Next Boomer Business Summit in Chicago, Illinois. Why do we keep coming back? Because the Boomer Summit is a great place to meet up with the longevity market’s leaders. You’ll see CEO’s from top businesses, entrepreneurs from innovative startups, finance people, nonprofits, industry analysts, and everyone else you can imagine who moves this industry forward.

GrandCare CEO Charlie Hillman has been attending this networking event for years. “We have been building this market for over a decade, but it’s hard to move the giant, especially when healthcare is part of the equation,” Hillman said. “Obviously the introduction of enabling telehealth and telemedicine technologies will participate in reducing costs and improving patient outcomes. It is critical for our increasing senior population and the country’s healthcare system as a whole.”

GrandCare has so much to share at the summit. We just released a brand new concierge model customized for premier independent living communities with resident touchscreen check-in capabilities, community-wide messaging and emergency broadcasting. The new GrandCare distribution client affiliate network has been growing quickly, not just in the US, but globally in five additional countries. GrandCare has been shortlisted for a top disability award at the UK Disability Conference, NAIDEX.

GrandCare will be showcasing all of the new features and the comprehensive product models established for private home care, senior housing, home health care, “CCRC’s without Walls” and PACE programs. 2017 is going to be a great year for GrandCare.

There are many good reasons to attend the Boomer Summit. Besides seeing the latest in boomer-facing solutions, this one-day event has always been the best place for networking within the longevity market. And this year could be the best one yet. If there’s one event that really lets you take the temperature of the entire aging industry, this is it.

The one-day Summit takes place on Thursday, March 23, at the Chicago Hyatt Regency.
Register now.
Use discount code wn17LMC20 for a 20% discount on your registration.

GrandCare Introduces Senior Housing Check-In Button

GrandCare Introduces Senior Housing Check-In Button

Many senior living communities spend a lot of man hours calling residents to ensure that they got out of bed and are going to head to breakfast. This clearly is a time consuming process and could be avoided if the residents could simply “check in” when they woke up, eliminating the need for a check-in call.

We wanted to help and let those caregivers log their time and energy doing what they love to do and what they do best, providing passionate care to their residents! So, guess what’s new with GrandCare? Yep, it’s our brand new ‘Group Check-In’ feature, right on your resident’s touchscreen in his/her room.

This optional feature is flexible and can even be configured for groups. Whether it’s your entire building or just the people who live on the east wing, when the check-in feature is enabled for the group, every system in the group will have a check-in button displayed on their screen.

Enable Check-In button

When you enable check-in, you establish the time range for the check-in to occur. A typical example might be between 6 AM and 9 AM. The check-in button will appear on screen during the three hours in between these times. Once it’s been touched, the button disappears for the rest of the day, and reappears the next morning.

Check-in buttonAt the end of the check-in period, the Group page in the care portal shows a pie chart indicating who checked in and who didn’t. Clicking through the chart to see the check-in failures provides a list of accounts that didn’t check in, along with their phone numbers. Follow-up calls can then easily be placed to the residents to make sure they’re OK. Furthermore, it can be determined who frequently fails to check in, prompting perhaps more proactive and customized services for select residents.

This feature is designed for senior living communities of all kinds. It provides a simple safety check in a non-intrusive way that preserves the resident’s independence and dignity. As often happens at GrandCare, you asked for it, and we couldn’t wait to get it to you.

3 Ways Parents Can Safeguard Their Children’s Futures

3 Ways Parents Can Safeguard Their Children’s Futures

Here at GrandCare, we spend a lot of time talking about how to take care of your parents. But have you ever thought about how you, as a parent, should be looking out for your kids? Today, GrandCare welcomes guest blogger Jackie Waters of Hyper-tidy.com. Jackie’s mother-in-law passed away recently. Going through the probate process, initially she and her husband were overwhelmed. As they learned more, she realized that they should be doing much more planning to protect their own children. When they were through, Jackie wanted to help others in the same boat, who might not know where to start.

You want to protect your children from all the ills of the world. Unfortunately, you can’t be by their side every moment of every day, and you won’t be able to protect them from every mean-spirited classmate or difficult situation in life. What you can do is start putting plans in place that will set them up for a promising future, such as saving for college, making arrangements that seamlessly transfer your property to your children following your death, and creating a sound financial foundation that ensures your family will be taken care of for many years to come.

Estate Planning

Many young couples don’t give much thought to estate planning, but when children enter the picture, it’s time to start thinking ahead. Legal documents such as wills and trusts serve to dictate what happens with your property and other assets upon your death. In the event of a terrible tragedy, you’d want to know that your children will be cared for, and putting these legal documents in place is the best way to ensure that your wishes are heeded.

A will is easy enough to set up on your own thanks to websites and legal software that streamline the process, but it’s a good idea to talk with an estate planning attorney to ensure the integrity and legality of your documents. Most, for instance, must be notarized, so simply filling out forms and signing them doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re legally binding. An attorney can advise you on the best way to structure your estate, recommending tools such as life estate deeds and other documents that can make the transition easier. They’ll be able to make sure you don’t go with a deed-type that isn’t ideal for your situation.

Designating Guardians

In addition to estate planning, parents should designate guardians to care for their children should they become unable to do so before a child reaches adulthood. The most difficult part of this process is determining who is best-suited to raise your children if you die or become incapacitated. You may prefer that your parents raise your children if you’re unable, but worry about their ages. In these cases, it’s possible to designate a guardian for a specified time frame, such as until your kids reach the age of 10, and then transfer guardianship to another trusted adult.

Regardless of whether your preferred guardian’s age is an issue, it’s a good idea to appoint at least one or two successor guardians as a contingency in the event that your first choice is unable to fulfill this duty. You can designate these same individuals as financial guardians or opt to have another person oversee your children’s finances.

Life Insurance

The reality is that many families don’t have estates worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, making life insurance a crucial protection for parents of young children. Consider how much life insurance you’ll need by evaluating the sources of income your kids will have access to, such as survivors’ benefits through Social Security, proceeds from the sale of property you leave behind, and so forth, and then consider the amount that may be needed to provide the care they need throughout childhood and adolescence.

Depending on the age of your children, you may not want to designate your kids as beneficiaries on your life insurance policy. Instead, consider designating a trusted adult as the beneficiary who can oversee the use of the funds for your children’s needs. Or, if you have a living trust, you can designate the trust as the beneficiary, with your children designated as trustees. Once again, there are several ways to structure these arrangements to ensure that your assets and funds from insurance policies are safeguarded for your children, so it’s worth seeking the assistance of an estate planning professional.

Protecting your children’s futures is largely a legal endeavor with many financial considerations. Taking the time to consider your children’s needs and putting documents and plans in place to safeguard their well-being under any circumstances is the best gift you can give them.

Image via Pixabay by frankbeckerde

Community Messages

Community Messages

Mary Smith, a resident in your senior housing community, has a package waiting at the front desk. How do you let her know? Already today many residents have called the front desk to see if the mail has arrived and there’s not a quick way to let them know when it actually does come. Today’s Bridge Club meeting has moved from 2PM to 3PM. How do you inform the members? There’s a safety issue in your building and everyone needs to meet in a common area. How do you get everyone’s attention? GrandCare’s new Community Messages. That’s how.

Community MessagesWith our new Congregate Message Center you can address all these concerns and more. You can send a message directly to one resident’s touchscreen, to a designated group (e.g. poker group), or to your entire Community at once. You can choose from a canned template message or write your own. It’s as easy as sending an email. Select your recipients, type in a subject and a message body, and send. Your message will pop up, and be prominently displayed on the resident’s touchscreen, accompanied by an optional sound, even if the screen is sleeping when the message arrives. The message remains on the screen until it has been acknowledged by having your residents touch a button on the message.

Emergency messages are even harder to miss. They’re outlined in red, and accompanied by a shrill alarm sound. And, you can be notified which residents didn’t acknowledge the message. This is critical when time is of the essence.

Our new Message Center is just the latest in a group of features designed for senior community living. If you haven’t used Flyers or Community Pictures, you might want to check those out, too. The GrandCare Congregate Message Center will be available soon for any GrandCare care portal users with Group-level or higher roles.

Won’t You Be Mine?

Won’t You Be Mine?

Valentine’s Day is a centuries-old holiday, created in honor of St. Valentinus, who was imprisoned and martyred after performing weddings for soldiers who were not allowed to marry. It became popular in America in the 1850’s, as a day for celebrating romance.

This year for Valentine’s Day, instead of roses or chocolates, give the sweetest gift of all: communication, security, family connectedness, independence, socialization, wellness and peace of mind. Give the gift of GrandCare.

Because Valentine’s Day isn’t just about sweethearts. It’s also a nice opportunity to express your affection for the people most important to you. After all, caring for others is at the heart of what we do here at GrandCare.

There is no higher purpose, no greater calling, than caring for another human being. What you do for seniors isn’t just important. It’s the heart of what makes us human. We wanted to give seniors the tools to remain independent and in their homes. And we wanted to give caregivers the tools to meet the needs to the seniors they care for better.

We know it matters to you, too. So here’s a little love from your friends at GrandCare. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, your community, and your loved ones. Make it a sweet one!

Introducing one of GrandCare’s newest features, “Away Mode”

Introducing one of GrandCare’s newest features, “Away Mode”

You asked for it, we’re making it happen.

You already know that GrandCare is the ultimate in senior residence monitoring. It can alert professional and family caregivers if medications are not taken, if there’s no morning activity in the bathroom, or if health readings are out of the norm. But what happens to the alerts when your loved one is away from home on vacation?

To help caregivers avoid a flurry of spurious alerts, we will soon release “Away Mode.” It’s a new way for caregivers to silence text, email and phone call alerts when your senior is away from home. Whether your loved one is on a brief weekend holiday or just gone for the day, your caregiving team will be free of false alarms.

How does it work?
You’ll simply log in to my.grandcare.com (or the GrandCare server for your organization) and navigate to the Details tab on the Account page. Click Activate Away Mode and confirm. (Notice, GrandCare will warn you to ensure you don’t mistakenly activate this Away Mode for someone who is not really away.)

Away Mode - Account Details    Away Mode - Activate

It’s as simple as that.

When your loved one returns, simply log in to deactivate the Away Mode and alerts will continue as they did before. Caregiving is hard work. It’s our business to make things easier and more convenient wherever we can.

Managing the 5 Most Common Health Conditions for Seniors

Managing the 5 Most Common Health Conditions for Seniors

Today, GrandCare welcomes guest blogger Kim Sharbatz, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Dental Solutions. Thanks for sharing your expertise with us, Kim.

Whether you’re facing the struggles of old age yourself, or you’re concerned for your aged parents or grandparents, you’re likely keenly aware of the stress, confusion, and even fear that can accompany growing older. Not only are health problems more common, but conditions that used to be minor can now take on a much more serious role.

At the same time, no parent wants to feel that they’re a burden on their grown children, and no child wants to take away their parent’s dignity or independence. It’s important to reach a balance. Advancements in senior technology like the GrandCare system help accomplish that balance by providing the means to keep tabs on conditions, so problems can be detected and addressed early, by providing easy, one-touch access to family or professional caregivers, and providing other more passive assurances, like medication reminders and alerts to notify caregivers of abnormal events.

A recent article in Everyday Health listed many of the common health conditions seniors face today.  And GrandCare can help seniors manage all the most common concerns. Here’s how.

1. Arthritis

Dealing with the chronic pain and discomfort that comes with arthritis can be very difficult. In many cases, little can be done to treat this condition beyond pain medication and education on how to maneuver to avoid flare ups.

GrandCare can help in two important ways:

  1. By providing scheduled reminders to take prescribed pain medication at the right time and the right dosage to keep painful flareups at bay,
  2. By using a touchscreen interface that is simple for arthritic hands and fingers to operate.

2. Heart disease

Heart disease has been reported to affect 37% of men and 26% of women over the age of 65. It can range in severity, and unfortunately it doesn’t always offer warning signs before progressing.

A GrandCare system can help those who suffer with heart disease in several ways:

  1. By providing scheduled reminders to take prescribed medication to manage their heart condition,
  2. By providing scheduled reminders for the senior’s use of wellness monitors such as an integrated blood pressure cuff or oximeter, to automatically record readings, and to allow caregivers to monitor the vitals remotely,
  3. By providing alerts to the senior or caregivers when readings haven’t been taken at the proper time, or when readings that fall outside of a defined range,
  4. By providing wall-mounted and wearable “action buttons” that the senior can use to alert family or professional caregivers if they’re experiencing chest pain, or if something is amiss.

3. Cancer

Second only to heart disease as a cause of death in the United States, cancer affects 28% of men and 21% of women over the age of 65. Although treating cancer requires far more than monitoring and managing the disease, there are aspects of treatment that can be made easier and more effective through home health monitoring.

The GrandCare system offers the following features to aid in this difficult health issue:

  1. Scheduled reminders to take what can be a confusing volume of prescription drugs throughout the day, as well as reminders for frequent doctor’s visits,
  2. Integrated access to wellness monitors such as a scale, blood pressure cuff, thermometer, and oximeter, that help seniors and remote caregivers monitor vitals, and see how the body is reacting to treatment.

4. Respiratory diseases

Asthma, emphysema, and COPD, and other respiratory diseases, plague thousands of seniors every day. Whether their individual treatment requires the continual use of oxygen and medications, or adjustments in behavior to manage the disease, it can be difficult to manage.

The GrandCare system offers the following key features to help seniors facing respiratory illness:

  1. Scheduled reminders to take prescription medications, nebulizer treatments, or oxygen as directed,
  2. Wellness monitoring via an oximeter that automatically records and reports pulse and blood oxygen levels, to routinely confirm adequate oxygen,
  3. Automatic alerts to the senior or caregivers when readings haven’t been taken at the proper time, or when vitals readings fall outside of a defined range,
  4. Access to “action buttons” that can alert family or professional caregivers if something is amiss.

5. Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease and other memory decline conditions can be frightening and debilitating, as they can slowly rob an individual of their memories and their ability to function independently.

The GrandCare system offers tools for caregivers that can help preserve an senior’s independence and dignity for as long as possible:

  1. Motion sensors that can confirm the individual is caring for important daily health habits, such as overall hygiene, oral health care, and food preparation,
  2. Contact sensors on doors to alert caregivers if the senior may be wandering during the night, or to verify a visitor has arrived when expected,
  3. Scheduled reminders for any and all daily activities that the individual may have a difficult time managing,
  4. Communication – via voice, video, or text – with family and friends to help alleviate the risk of social isolation,
  5. Games and other tools that can serve to keep the brain active and engaged, staving off the disease’s progression.

GrandCare helps seniors manage common health conditionsIf you or a loved one is facing these or any other common conditions affecting older adults, we know it’s a difficult, stressful situation to deal with. The goal of the GrandCare system is to use technology to help make managing and living with these conditions easier and less stressful, and to help seniors stay healthy and independent longer.

Combined with adequate medical, dental, and psychological health care, and professional nursing care as needed, GrandCare can provide both practical help in managing senior health, and valuable peace of mind for seniors and their caregivers.

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

2016 has been an incredible year for GrandCare. First, we put out a call for new affiliate partners. Boy, did we get a response! More than forty of you have traveled to West Bend to be trained in the foundations of digital health. Our GrandCare family is expanding rapidly! (The next training session is January 17-19. Click here for more info!)

 
We’ve made numerous software improvements over the course of the year. And we’ve introduced new Acer tablet hardware that everyone is raving about. But we’re not stopping there. Watch for even more new software features and hardware options coming soon.
We also took GrandCare on the road. We attended tradeshows, conferences and other events all over the country. We even made some trips to the United Kingdom.

 
Even better, we’re very pleased to be working with some exciting new customers this year, including high end independent living facilities, PACE programs, and home healthcare providers. Turns out, when you have a quality product that works, people want it! We couldn’t be happier and we’re looking to grow even more in 2017.

 
As 2016 draws to a close we’re also reflecting on the fact that we’ve had a good year because of you. When we made product improvements, it’s because you asked for them. When we’ve expanded into new areas, it’s because you welcomed us. And when we’ve won awards, it’s because you nominated us. Thank you. Thank you for a terrific year.

 
Here’s to a successful and prosperous 2017!

5 Signs a Senior Isn’t Getting Quality Sleep

5 Signs a Senior Isn’t Getting Quality Sleep

Today, GrandCare welcomes guest blogger and personal trainer Jason Lewis. Thanks for sharing your expertise with us, Lewis.

As we age, our sleeping patterns naturally change. Some people may require more sleep and others may begin to rise earlier. While these changes are often considered normal, not getting enough quality sleep can be a serious detriment to brain and body functions, especially for senior citizens.

The Importance of Sleep

The typical person performs best with seven to nine hours of sleep. Though some people can only dream of catching that many Z’s, getting a good night’s rest is important, to our overall health and to our well-being. When we sleep well, it helps:

  • Improve concentration and memory
  • Control emotions
  • Handle changes
  • Decrease moodiness
  • Repair cell damage
  • Refresh the immune system
  • Prevent disease, such as high blood pressure or stroke

There are numerous possible interruptions to a good night’s sleep, such as:

  • A busy or fluctuating work schedule
  • Insomnia caused by medication, stress, or anxiety
  • Another sleep disorder
  • Nightmares or night terrors
  • Mental health disorders, such as depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • High intake of caffeine
  • Lack of exercise during the day
  • Lack of exposure to sunlight
  • Exposure to electronics before bedtime
  • Lack of nighttime routine
  • Taking long daytime naps
  • Use of alcohol, nicotine, or other substances
  • Differing family sleep schedules (i.e. children go to bed earlier and also wake earlier than you)
  • Physical pain
  • Outside distractions, such as a snoring spouse or loud traffic
  • Other health issues

Signs of Poor Sleep in Seniors

Lack of proper sleep has a greater effect on the elderly. When your older loved ones aren’t getting enough sleep, it can result in these five common signs or symptoms:

  1. Depression: Lack of sleep can be both a cause and side effect of depression. Poor sleep causes the brain to function at a subpar level, which can lead to symptoms of depression. Additionally, seniors with depression can have trouble sleeping as a side effect (even if they’ve never had trouble sleeping before). If your loved one is experiencing feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, isolation, or helplessness, they may be experiencing depression. If so, it’s important to reach out to a medical or mental health professional for help.
  2. Memory issues or confusion: While elderly individuals do tend to experience some level of memory loss naturally, it could actually be a sign of poor sleep. Sleep impacts the way our brains function, and can cause confusion or poor recall skills.
  3. Daytime fatigue: One of the more obvious, and more overlooked, symptoms of poor sleep is daytime fatigue or lethargy. A person who gets seven to nine hours of sleep will not experience as much daytime fatigue as those who wake regularly throughout the night. Sleepiness or taking more naps may be signs of poor sleep, as are waking up tired or waking up in pain.
  4. Falls during the day or night: Our brain helps control our balance and stability. When it’s not functioning at an optimal level, the risk of falls and tumbles increases. This is especially concerning for seniors who are already at high risk for a fall and may experience more extensive injuries if a fall occurs.
  5. Worsening of heart diseases, diabetes, or weight problems: Sleep impacts our overall well-being. If we sleep well, our bodies are able to repair any damage that may have occurred during the day. Without proper sleep, our brains and bodies function inefficiently and are therefore more prone to diseases such as heart attack or obesity.

If an older loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to a medical professional about potential remedies. You might also want to help your senior loved one start getting more exercise. Not only will it help them sleep, it will also help alleviate depression symptoms. And if you can find an option that offers community, such as a water aerobics class, even better. Overall, any improvement in sleep will help sustain the health and well-being of your loved one.

Jason Lewis is the primary caregiver for his mother, as well as a professional personal trainer, specializing in work with seniors. His work involves the physical and mental health of the seniors he serves. He can be reached at jason@strongwell.org.

 

GrandCare helps you monitor quality sleepGrandCare Systems is a caregiving tool that can help identify sleep issues in seniors. More than that, it’s designed to reduce healthcare costs and improve outcomes by enabling designated family members, caregivers and healthcare professionals to remotely care for an individual in a home or residential community, regardless of geographic location.

The heart of GrandCare is a large touchscreen in the residence, which provides the individual with social communications, instructions, reminders and medication prompts. Wireless activity sensors monitor daily activities without impeding a resident’s independence or privacy. Non-intrusive bed sensors can help you know whether the resident is getting the valuable sleep he needs. You can also see graphs that help you see important information, such as whether sleep patterns have changed, if the resident has stayed in bed in bed longer than usual, or whether he has had a restless or restful night.

 

Image via Pixabay by Unsplash

Senior Cyborgs: The Rise of GrandCare?

Senior Cyborgs: The Rise of GrandCare?

“Cyborgs” makes you think of science fiction creatures. You probably picture people whose abilities are extended beyond normal human limits by technological enhancements built right into the the body. Or maybe you think of Arnold Schwarzenegger trying to save Sarah Conner.

But what if it’s true? What if we could help people overcome their physical limits using enabling technology? What if the elderly and disabled could extend their independence, live in their homes, stay healthy and active, simply using technology?

It’s not a far-fetched, sci-fi fantasy anymore. People really can, and do, use technology to improve lives and not just to help with superhuman feats, but to assist with everyday tasks, and to maintain independence.

What’s even better is that the technology doesn’t have to be built into their bodies to be effective.

“There are strong forces against changing established business models. It’s hard to change what’s been working for businesses.” – Charlie Hillman

GrandCare’s founder and CEO Charlie Hillman was among a panel of experts on aging, healthcare, and technology, who talked about exactly that topic last week at the Louisville Innovation Summit. The presentation, called “Senior Cyborgs and the Rise of Digital Health,” was a discussion about the types of technology currently available to help seniors live better lives, as well as the direction the industry is moving, and how to motivate those who care for seniors to see the possibilities.

Other experts on the panel included Laura Mitchell, founder of Digital Health & marketing firm Laura Mitchell Consulting, Norrie Daroga, founder of iDAvatars, and Richard Staynings, cybersecurity expert at Cisco.

The panel was covered by the publication TechRepublic, which asked the question: “If we know the tech works, why isn’t it seamlessly integrated into senior living facilities, hospitals, etc.?”

It’s an important question, because the powerful assistive technologies can only help seniors who use them.

“If people don’t embrace it,” Hillman said, “it’s likely to fail.”

Of course, seniors can only use the technology if it’s available on the market. And sometimes the issue is that the technology, even when it exists and is proven, isn’t made available.

“There are strong forces against changing established business models,” Hillman said. “It’s hard to change what’s been working for businesses.”

The article also quotes Staynings, who suggested that the US is behind the rest of the world in how it approaches healthcare payment. As a result the incentives for assistive technology aren’t as strong as they should be. The health providers who could be recommending technology to their patients don’t have a strong incentive to do so.

“The US is about 10 years behind the rest of developed world in [its] approach to telehealth and telemedicine,” said Staynings, “which is a more efficient way to deliver care to older adults.” The payer model, he said, is “1940’s based–very out of date.” Pay-by-performance, in which doctors are rewarded for having their patients reach certain health goals, rather than simply by the visits or procedures performed, is not yet widely implemented.

As powerful as the technology is, the panelists all agreed that healthcare will never be about the technology, about the next cool invention. The technology isn’t important for its own sake. “It’s about providing value to patients.”

Read the full article.

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