GrandCare Blog

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 (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


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.

Number 4 – The Perfect Number for a GrandCare Robin

Number 4 – The Perfect Number for a GrandCare Robin

There is much symbolism, strength, and beauty in the number 4.

Robin wears a lot of hatsNumber 4 symbolizes building a strong foundation. There are 4 cardinal points: North – South – East – West. There are 4 winds. There are 4 phases of the moon. There are 4 seasons. There are 4 elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Number 4 is a perfect number.

And today we add another symbolic attribute to the Number 4: Years of Robin’s support, service, and teamwork at GrandCare Systems.

If you know GrandCare, you surely know Robin. In the four years she’s been with the company, shes worn a lot of hats.
She’s currently one part account manager, one part event planner, one part office manager, one part sales coordinator and one part um…whatever we think up next. Robin is a key player in day-to-day GrandCare operations. Robin1-smIf you’ve seen GrandCare at a recent trade show, Robin made it happen. If you’re a GrandCare customer in senior housing, your primary contact is probably Robin. If you’re a GrandCare dealer, you’ve been to training coordinated by Robin.

And this week, we’re celebrating Robin’s fourth anniversary at the company.

We thought you might like to get to know Robin a little better, so we sat down with her and talked about her four years at GrandCare.

Q: What brought you to GrandCare?
A: I was looking for new employment at the time when I heard Laura (VP of Business Development) speaking at a Rotary meeting. I loved what she had to say about the company and the industry, so I reached out to her. She thought I would be a good fit (for a position that didn’t actually exist yet!) And she was right.

Q: What do you like best about working at GrandCare?
A: I love what the system does to help people, and I like being in a role to help put the system into the hands of people it can really help.

Robin with a clientQ: What’s been your favorite experience working at GrandCare so far?
A: It’s more than one thing. It’s from big things, like going to CES, and being part of that enormous show with such a big impact on the industry, to little things like going on an installation and seeing the way our system has an impact on one person’s life.

Q: On a more personal note, why don’t you tell us what did you do on your summer vacation?
A: Our family doesn’t really take summer vacations. We take a Spring Break vacation, which generally involves going to a beach. This year we went to visit my son in Atlanta, then went further south and spent time with my parents in Florida. My folks are about a half hour from the beach, so we got some beach time in most days too.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I’m married, with 4 children. I have 3 boys and a girl, ranging from 15 to 26. (Which is pretty amazing, given that Robin is only 29.)

Q: What’s one thing many people don’t know about you.
A: I take notes on napkins in meeting when I forget my notebook. (laughs) Look. I just got out of a 3-hour meeting. (It’s true. She’s taken notes on a napkin.)

Really, I can’t believe it’s been four years. It feels like yesterday that I started. But it’s been really, really good.

GrandCare Systems and AllHealth CHOICE Announce Strategic Partnership Offering CHARLIE

GrandCare Systems and AllHealth CHOICE Announce Strategic Partnership Offering CHARLIE

Technology-powered Care Management and Virtual Caregiving Services

GrandCare Systems (GC) and AllHealth CHOICE (AHC) announced today at the Louisville Innovation Summit that they have formed a strategic alliance for AllHealth CHOICE’s exclusive integration of CHARLIE, a GrandCare technology, in its innovative virtual caregiving and care management service.  CHARLIE was designed to enable the elderly, chronically-ill, and disabled population to remain independent, healthy, and safe at home.

“We are delighted to partner with AllHealth CHOICE who truly have the vision, an established process and the clinical expertise to make cost-effective virtual care a reality.”

Leveraging CHARLIE, AllHealth CHOICE integrates the latest in remote activity of daily living monitoring, telehealth, socialization, patient engagement, and care coordination technologies into one comprehensive service combined with dedicated care managers and navigators.

AllHealth CHOICE, powered by CHARLIE, offers true patient-centered care management. The result is improved patient care and better patient outcomes. This innovative approach proactively reduces critical events and hospital re/admissions by transmitting red flag and preventative information to medical providers, the care manager, family members and loved ones. The integration of CHARLIE, tailored care management, and increased patient engagement is demonstrating improved results. One healthcare provider saw the use of CHARLIE resulting in a whopping 60% reduction in hospital re/admissions and ER visits.

“For more than a decade, GrandCare has worked to develop a comprehensive, patient-centered technology to improve care for individuals in their own homes,” said GrandCare founder and CEO, Charlie Hillman. “We are delighted to partner with AllHealth CHOICE who truly have the vision, an established process and the clinical expertise to make cost-effective virtual care a reality.”

“AllHealth has successfully and seamlessly integrated a professional and compassionate care management team with a proven point-of-care GrandCare technology, CHARLIE,” said AllHealth CHOICE CEO, Sabrina Patterson. “We are offering our flagship product, CHARLIE, to help patients and providers achieve better outcomes at a more affordable price.”

AllHealth’s care management team creates an individualized care plan and then customizes CHARLIE to specifically meet the patient’s needs. CHARLIE senses changes in monitoring patterns, health vitals, and alerts the care manager as well as any other designated individuals such as the healthcare provider or family member for immediate and early intervention.

AllHealthCHOICE will be showcasing CHARLIE and the AHC care management approach at the Louisville Innovation Summit on October 10th and 11th from 8am – 4pm. GrandCare’s Charlie Hillman is slated to speak in the Senior Cyborgs: The Rise of Digital Health panel on Monday October 10th, at 2:15pm.


It’s Your Last Chance in 2016

It’s Your Last Chance in 2016

OK, so it’s not your last chance ever. But it is your last chance in 2016 to take advantage of this groundbreaking opportunity to change the way in which we provide care to our disabled and aging population.  This all-inclusive GrandCare training will cover the theory of connected aging, digital health, telemedicine, and enabling technologies for anyone who would like to remain independent. It also emphasizes caregiving tools for those wishing to provide faster, safer, better and more efficient care.

We will be holding our last affiliate training of the year November 15th through the 17th. Seats are limited, first come, first served —  but there’s still space for you! Click here to reserve your tickets.


This fun-filled, educational training is a three-day deep dive, covering all aspects of technology implementation in the growing aging and disability market. These include medical, social monitoring technologies; installation and support; hands-on learning labs; sales and marketing and more. Lunches, refreshments, select Wisconsin-inspired dinners and optional entertainment provided.

GC_Training2Who should attend:

Technology enthusiasts, custom integrators, aging service, disability, mental health providers, professional care providers, healthcare providers, and senior housing organizations.

Don’t wait! Sign up today and watch your organization unleash the power of GrandCare in 2017.

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