If you are considering in-home care for a loved one, you are undoubtedly concerned about COVID-19. Caregivers often take on multiple clients, presenting opportunities for spreading infection. Even with full-time care, unless you have a live-in caregiver, this means a person coming into your loved one’s home on a daily basis and often involves direct physical contact.
In-Home Care: A Costly Proposition
If you are researching in-home care, you likely already know it can be costly from an economic perspective, with hourly rates ranging from $14 to $24, depending on the market in your area. With the emergence of COVID-19, hiring in-home care could have a high human risk as well. There now exists a trade-off between minimizing economic costs (by reducing hours) and reducing risk. A part-time caregiver who goes from home to home on a daily basis presents an increased risk of infection to both their customers and themselves. This is also a challenge for professional caregiving organizations to maintain healthy caregivers.
Assisted Living vs. In-Home Care
Assisted living is often viewed as a viable alternative to reduce the financial costs associated with in-home care. However, this of course increases risk of infection due to the number of people living and working in the congregate setting. Few states have any regulations regarding staff-to-resident ratios and a typical assisted living scenario involves a great amount of resident to resident and resident to staff interaction in a given day.
Another point to consider, aside from safety, is the fact that most people prefer to not leave their own homes. In fact, according to an AARP study, 90% of seniors preferred to stay home and 80% believed they would remain at home for life.
Not to mention that removing individuals from familiar surroundings and routines can cause great anxiety.
Medical vs. Non-Medical Home Care
An important part of making this decision is understanding the various levels of care available, which could have substantial financial implications. If your loved one has recently been discharged from the hospital or has short- or long-term medical needs, then medical home care or home health care will likely be required.
Medicare, as well as private insurance, will pay for some services, like visits by nurses, and speech and occupational therapists. When discharged from the hospital, Medicare will pay for a nurse, occupational and speech therapist for the senior at home, but only according to a doctor’s prescribed plan of care.
However, many older adults without major medical issues just need an extra bit of support and daily reminders, such as remembering to take medications, hydration reminders and easier communications with loved ones. GrandCare not only facilitates these tasks, but can also allow you to monitor your loved one’s activities and vitals, including blood pressure, body temperature, pulse oximetry readings, weight, blood sugar levels, and more. With GrandCare, you may be able to reduce the risk for infection by safely monitoring and empowering a loved one with telehealth technology.
Technology to the Rescue
As technology continues to evolve and a new generation of seniors are becoming more comfortable interacting with digital devices, there is an opportunity to harness technology to help seniors age in place, staying at home for as long as possible. GrandCare envisions a future where all are able to remain independent and connected to family and friends. We provide a full telehealth, activity monitoring, video visit and communications platform for seniors. See how our product can help your loved one maintain their independence longer!
As a response to COVID-19, Medicare has expanded its coverage of telehealth services, effective March 6, 2020, which will cover even more services in a wider variety of settings for an expanded population. It’s no secret that the COVID-19 epidemic is having a disproportionate impact on elderly people, an already vulnerable population, provoking major anxiety for these individuals’ loved ones and caregivers. Adding to this stress is the fact that seniors see the doctor much more frequently, risking exposure every time they make one of these essential trips. To help seniors stay safe during this crisis, Medicare has implemented four key changes.
1. Access Telehealth Anywhere
Previously, Medicare would only pay for telehealth services for those residing in rural areas. Patients seeking telehealth services were required to travel to a local medical facility to virtually visit with a health professional in a different location. Although this enables better access to specialty care, this would still require transportation and a physical visit which can both be problematic, specifically for the aging population.
2. No More Telehealth Co-Pays
Generally, the standard Medicare copayment and deductible would apply to telehealth visits. In this case, as an incentive for seniors to utilize these covered telemedicine services, common office visits, mental health counseling, and preventive health screenings are now available with no copay for those with Original Medicare. Therefore, telehealth and telemedicine technologies offer a safe and efficient opportunity for those on a fixed income to save money.
3. Expanded List of Telehealth Services
Before the pandemic, Medicare had covered 106 medical services via telehealth. Medicare has now added 85 additional services, including radiation treatment management, group psychotherapy, and speech/hearing therapy, to name a few. Have a look at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for a full list of covered telehealth services.
4. No Need for Established Provider Relationship
Prior to COVID-19, patients were required to have a pre-existing relationship with a practitioner in order to be eligible for coverage under Medicare. Now, initial visits are covered as well. If a patient’s provider does not offer telemedicine services, this makes it easier to transition to a different provider who does.
The advent of new technology is helping people that require some level of assistance stay independent in their homes longer. One of the technologies taking the market by storm is the GrandCare System. The GrandCare System is finding its way into a number of areas including residences, small group homes and even larger independent and assisted living facilities.
In a nut shell, GrandCare is a three level system. Level one provides a social interface for the end-user, level two is a health and wellness monitoring portion and level three monitors daily activity. Throw in basic home automation control and you have a fully interactive monitoring system that will provide the assistance that is needed by a large portion of the population.
With the rising cost of healthcare, we need to find new solutions that allow early detection of potential problems and address them prior to hospitalization. One hospital admittance and the system can be paid for. Also, with the average cost of assisted living topping $50,000 per year….the cost of a system can be absorbed in a number of months and extend the ability to stay at home for years. Couple a GrandCare System with a PERS and medication management system and the cost is still well below assisted living.
The first part of the Grandcare is the social interface. This portion of the system is designed to keep the user in touch with the world (even without knowing how to use a computer). It provides a central place for family to share things like photos and information. The system provides a touch screen computer and can also be connected to a TV. The touch screen allows the user to access pre-set internet sites, receive and send email, listen to music, play games and more. When not being used for an activity, the system will display; photos (that can be uploaded by family), trivia, weather, news headlines, daily reminders and other items that the family and user can designate.
Level two is something we all need! It is the Health and Wellness side of the system. Via a wireless interface, the system will monitor weight, blood pressure and pulse-ox. The caregiver/family member can create rules so when the system detects changes, it will notify them via email, text message or a simple phone call. (More on rules later). The system will also monitor the glucose levels of the user. Combine all of the monitoring with a complete reporting system that generates reports that can be printed out and given to your doctor. This provides a much more detailed and lengthy look of the patient allowing the doctor to make better decisions then they can when they get that ten or fifteen minute snap shot when you are in for a check-up.
Level three is designed to monitor the daily activity of the occupants of the home. It is a non evasive way of ensuring that they are ok. The system will monitor doors, windows, the refrigerator….basically, anything that can be opened. It will also look at motion, lack of motion or excessive motion in any area that is monitored. For example, if a person gets out of bed at 7AM every day, the system can be programmed to watch for no motion in the home between say, 6AM and 8AM indicating they didn’t get up. It can also monitor if a person is in bed or out of bed and how much they are moving around. By doing that, we can determine how well someone sleeps and if they are not sleeping well address it so they sleep better. The system will also advise caregivers and family members if someone is out of bed for an extended period at night, possibly indicating a problem. With the ability to monitor just about anything combined with the rules that can be created, you can create a truly safe environment.
This is an area for caregivers and family members that visit the user to perform assistance tasks, check on wellbeing or for any other reason they stop in. The care notes allow a person to enter basic notes. For example, a daytime caregiver may leave a note for the overnight caregiver saying that the resident has the flu so make sure they are drinking fluids. Or a daughter may stop by and notice that dad has a cut on his head from a fall so he needs to be checked on from time to time for the next 24 hours. All of the care notes can be reviewed from any computer with an internet connection and are also sent out via email at the end of the day to the people that you designate. This allows everyone to stay up to date as to what is going on.
The GrandCare System allows rules to be setup by the caregiver or family members. This is an extremely flexible part of the system and very easy to modify as needs or areas of concern change. Some of the systems that are similar to GrandCare use Artificial Intelligence (AI). This allows the computer to set rules based on what it determines is the “normal activity” of the user. That works well providing that when the system is installed, the user has no existing conditions. The system may decide that something that is truly an issue is normal activity.
The rules in the GrandCare System can be setup to send a message via Text Message, Email or can use an automated voice and place a phone call to a designated person. You can also use any combination of the notifications. You can also use rules to cause something to happen in the home, say turn on a light. A few examples follow;
1) If no motion is detected between 7AM and 9AM send a text message to caregiver 1
2) If any door opens between 10PM and 6AM call caregiver 2
3) If person gets out of bed between 10PM and 7AM turn on the bathroom light
4) If a person is out of bed for more the 15 minutes between 10PM and 7AM, call caregiver 1
5) If a glucose reading is below 100, call the home and say “ Your blood sugar is low please drink orange juice”
The rules that can be created are almost endless and can be modified as needed. This allows the system to be customized to today and then changed to meet tomorrow’s needs.
You will want to work with a local and reputable authorized dealer. The system brings a lot of capabilities; however during setup and installation this can overwhelm and confuse the caregivers and family members. Plus, you want to get the most from the system. When the system is first installed, the dealer will help to determine the best layout of the sensors based on the individual needs and help setup the users and rules. Some dealers will have a follow-up meeting about two weeks after the installation to review rules, adjust sensors and make any changes that are needed now that the system has real data from day to day use. The dealer will charge a monthly fee that typically covers the monthly software license (charged by the manufacturer), the hosting for alert notification, software updates and sometimes on going service for hardware failure. Some dealers will even take care of rule changes, adding users and other ongoing software maintenance. Spend time with your dealer and ensure that they are a good fit for you and your family.
When all is said and done, this is a system that can greatly improve safety, independence and general daily life of the user. However, this is not a put it in and forget it system, you want to have the family(Children, Grandchildren, Cousins etc…no matter where they live) involved and keep the photos new and changing, sending emails to the user and keeping information fresh. This will help to keep someone who may be isolated from the rest of the world more active and involved.
About the author:
James Gleason is co-owner of JNL Technologies Inc, a company that is focused on safety systems both for the residential setting as well as assisted, independent and skilled care settings. James has spent the last 15 years working in this industry and serving our population
The spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States makes this a difficult time for senior housing communities. The risk level may be unknown, but our focus is clear: keep our seniors safe, protected, and connected to loved ones.
Virtual visits can help alleviate loneliness and isolation in quarantined residents. Telemedicine and telehealth are obvious ways to reduce physical exposure while maintaining healthcare services. The more providers embrace technology in times like this, the safer everyone will be.
Time is of the essence, but it’s hard to fund and deploy telehealth and virtual visit technology for your residents quickly. That’s why we want to put GrandCare in your hands at cost so you can quickly and affordably implement these vital technologies.
Payment options are flexible.
Feel free to reach out to me directly for immediate support. Stay Safe.
CEO, GrandCare Systems
Every day, 10,000 baby boomers become eligible for Medicare. This surge in the aging population comes with challenges. We simply don’t have the physical capability, nor can we afford to push the same traditional caregiving models. This is why professional caregivers and senior housing providers are turning to smart technologies to save on the costs of personal caregivers, enable independence, offset caregiver shortages and connect residents with family members.
Please join us for a free, educational webinar that challenges caregiving norms. It will cover the changing technology ecosystem, housing models, technology in long term care vs. private homes, and implementation best practices.
Speakers include Laura Mitchell, CEO of GrandCare, Principal at Laura Mitchell Consulting; Laurie Orlov, Analyst & Founder, Age in Place Technology Watch; Dr. Bill Thomas, Founder ChangingAging.org, the Greenhouse Project, Eden Alternative and Minka; and Ryan Frederick, Founder & CEO, SmartLiving 360
What: Tools for Living: How Technology is Transforming the Experience of Independence Webinar
When: February 21, 2020 at 1:00pm ET
To register, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tools-for-living-connected-technology-enabling-independence-tickets-90860952555
Over the last 50 years, senior living has been completely transformed by technology. In fact, care for elders wasn’t even included in Social Security benefits until 1965. This new coverage allowed seniors to leave “poorhouses” and move into new, albeit highly unregulated, privatized care facilities. In 1968, new regulations required skilled nursing facilities to provide 24 hour nursing services, meet building codes, and maintain specific care standards for all residents. Over the next 50 years, artificial hearts, the Internet, computers, and proactive and predictive advances in chronic disease management meant that people were living longer and healthier lives. This combination of conditions created the perfect environment for the connected health sector to rise.
Senior care providers across the country are demanding better and more cost-effective technologies to care for the elderly. There’s always a new sensor, wearable device, or notification system promising to make caregiving easier. Technology startups have recognized this market potential and are flooding the industry with new gadgets and apps every day. For those caregivers, children, and spouses actually looking after seniors, a rapidly changing landscape of new products makes it difficult to keep up. Which ones really work? Which ones are actually available and on the market today? Which ones are easy to use? This can result in feelings of “technology fatigue” and may actually contribute to lower quality care.
This is where GrandCare outshines the rest. GrandCare is the most comprehensive digital health and caregiver remote monitoring technology on the market. GrandCare has had a decade to build the most robust, user friendly platform designed by caregivers for caregivers.
Try it and you’ll see why everyone is joining the #grandcareworks revolution – because taking care of an aging loved one is hard, using faulty technology makes it harder. Don’t fall for false promises and new untested technologies. Choose the known brand, GrandCare Systems because it actually works.
Ask about our direct to consumer, senior housing, in home care, hospital to home and end of life GrandCare programs! Contact us.
GrandCare’s CEO Laura Mitchell has been slated to speak at CES 2020 on the topic of smart home installation trends. Laura will be speaking alongside Manny Linhares, Director of Strategy at IoT, Legrand, with moderator Daniel Pidgeon, founder of Starpower, host Katye McGregor Bennett of Connecting Tech and Design, and Ricky Singh, Head of Products and Solutions at Curiosity IoT, Sprinton on Wednesday, January 8.
2020 Installation Trends for the Smart Home
Date: Wednesday, January 8, 11:30 – 12:30 PM
Room: Venetian, Level 4, Marcello 4406
Description: What are some of the trends installers will see in the smart home space for 2020? Innovations in eldercare, AV solutions, security and more are front and center for the year ahead. Explore the opportunities.
GrandCare’s founders, Charlie and Gaytha Hillman, were recently on the radio. They were featured in the West Bend Chamber of Commerce Business Spotlight, where they talked about the origins of GrandCare, and how it helps seniors remain living in their own homes as they age.
Founded in 2005, GrandCare is a multi-featured system that helps seniors stay socially connected with friends and family. But it also offers so much more to seniors and their caregivers and families. Charlie talked about the company’s early work with an advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association, who called GrandCare “my second brain,” it provides reminders for daily activities or appointments, as well as for taking medications and vital readings.
GrandCare also makes it easy for caregivers or loved ones to check in on seniors, even if they can’t be right there in person. GrandCare comes with built-in and customizable rule sets that can alert someone when readings, such as blood pressure or glucose, are out of range, or haven’t been taken when they should. The system can also connect with activity sensors that detect when something is amiss, e.g. not getting out of bed, or opening a door in the middle of the night. And it provides simple, one-touch video chat for communication with friends, family and healthcare providers.
It’s Thanksgiving, and we’re counting our blessings. What are we thankful for? We are most thankful for you.
We are thankful for caregivers, and we are thankful for everyone who helps and supports you, so you can do your important work. Why? Because we have family and friends who rely on you. We have parents, grandparents, and other loved ones who depend on you every day. And one day–just like everyone else–we will need you, too. We’re grateful that you’re here, that you’re doing what you do best, and that we know we can count on you to be there for us, now and in the future.
Our job is to make life better for each and every one of you. This Thanksgiving we want to express our gratitude to you – caregivers, families, friends, customers, and partners across the globe. We are joined in a mission to keep people safe, happy, independent and connected. We couldn’t do it without you and for that, we are grateful! Please enjoy this special offer from GrandCare, with our deepest gratitude!
Stay warm, healthy and happy this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.
Seniors who want to remain independent in their homes are finding that they can. With the advances in technology tools, seniors are discovering that remaining in their homes can be a safe, healthy and happy option. This is great news to the many seniors (more than 75% according to an AARP survey) who would prefer to stay home.
These days, as life expectancy increases, 80 is the new 60, and the age at which seniors identify as elderly continues to be pushed back. With the right technology, seniors can stay connected, healthy, and independent well into their later years.
But, not all senior home care technology is created equal, and not all systems offer the same functionality. If you’re shopping for technology devices for elderly home care, how do you make the best choice for your family? GrandCare has taken the guesswork out of it for you.
Here is our list of the 10 most important features to look for when buying a monitoring system for elderly in the home:
1. Social Connection
Seniors often suffer from loneliness, isolation and depression, but technology can be a great solution. Look for a system that allows communication between seniors and their families and friends. Some systems allow easy photo sharing, chatting and messaging, which can help Grandma stay in the loop, even from a distance.
2. Medication Reminders
It’s not unusual for the list of medications we need to increase as we age, and the schedule for taking them can get complicated. In fact, medication noncompliance is a leading driver to falls and hospitalizations. Timed reminders of what to take, and when, can be a big help. Family members, or even seniors themselves, enter the dosage information into caregiver management software, and reminders can appear on a screen, in a text message or email, or over the phone. More complete systems can even send follow-up reminders, or alerts to let you know if reminders haven’t been acknowledged.
3. Daily Check-in
One of the simplest ways to make sure that everything is okay is a daily check-in. It’s an easy way to let everyone know that Mom or Dad are up and moving in the morning, and doing fine. Some home care monitoring systems use a check-in button or motion sensors and even video check-ins. An alert notification can let people know if a check-in has been missed, and to follow up by phone or with a visit.
4. Help Buttons
The stereotype of the help button is something that can call emergency services and an ambulance will shortly arrive. The problem is that many seniors avoid using them for just that reason, even when they should. Buttons that can be used to notify family, friends, or neighbors are a simpler alternative that appeal to seniors and are more likely to be used as intended. Some systems work with a wearable pendant, or a push button device. Others provide an onscreen button. The best will offer a variety of these options.
5. Remote Activity Monitoring
Maybe you’re worried about whether your mom is getting into the kitchen to make herself meals regularly, or that she didn’t get out of bed. Maybe you’re worried that your dad is restless and up all night, or that he’s spending too much time in his favorite chair. Activity monitoring, using motion sensors, bed or chair pads, is an unobtrusive way to make sure that your loved one is safe and following their normal routines. When something has changed, an alert notification can let you know, so you can follow up if you need to.
6. Door Alarms
If you’re worried that a loved one might be confused and a wander risk, door controls can give you peace of mind. If an outer door opens in the middle of the night, the home monitoring system should be able to alert you, or a neighbor close by who can intervene quickly. You can also be reminded if doors are inadvertently left open.
7. Health Monitoring
If your loved one has health concerns, early intervention is key. A good home monitoring system can help them to self-track vitals, such as blood pressure, blood glucose, weight, temperature, etc. Unusual readings can trigger an alert, so you can get involved before it becomes a crisis. Reminders help seniors remember to take their readings on a timely basis. It’s helpful if the system collects and trends the data. This type of reporting can provide helpful information for care providers, who can see trends and changes in health.
8. To-Do Lists and Cognitive Assists
Calendars and to-do lists help seniors remember their appointments. Some monitoring systems for the elderly have a resident empowerment side which provides daily schedules, appointments and checklists of daily routines to help seniors who want to remain independent in the home. This feature gives a little extra reminding on routine tasks.
9. Video Calling
Video communication is a great way for seniors to stay in touch with family. It’s becoming an increasingly viable way to communicate with healthcare providers, especially if travel is difficult. It’s important that the video function is easy-to-use, especially for people who aren’t technical. Home monitoring systems with video must be closed and designed for safety, to prevent unwanted, predatory calls. Ask if your system is HIPAA-compliant, so that it can be used for telehealth and healthcare communications.
10. Designed for Seniors
The best systems have an interface that’s easy for seniors to use. Systems that are well-designed for older eyes use large fonts, with high-contrast displays, and easy-to-operate buttons, keyboard, and volume control. The caregiver management software should also be simple to use, and easy to set up, and must include alert capabilities. A caregiving app for cell phones has become a must-have for families and caregivers.
GrandCare Homecare Technology for Seniors
Founded in 2005, GrandCare is the most comprehensive and long-standing pioneer in the senior home care monitoring and technology industry. Our solutions help seniors who are seeking to remain independent, manage chronic conditions, and avoid potential hospital visits.
GrandCare’s touchscreen reminds the resident when it’s time to take meds, or when it’s time to take vital readings, along with to-do checklists, prompts and other cognitive assists. The one-touch HIPAA-compliant video chat and other socialization/communication/entertainment features help seniors stay connected with family.
Wireless activity tracking sensors and Bluetooth health monitoring devices report automatically to the system, where reports and graphs show data and trends. Designated providers/family can access the information and set up rules to be alerted if something seems amiss (e.g. excessive weight gain, med noncompliance, lack of motion, too much motion, etc.)
GrandCare’s one-touch video calling
If you’re shopping for a senior home monitoring solution, check out GrandCare. Our systems include all ten features above, in an easy-to-use, affordable home-based technology.
Want to find out more? Contact the leader in the field.