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 home monitoring system for seniors:
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.
We love fall. The leaves turn to beautiful colors, the air is crisp and it’s the perfect excuse to eat homemade apple pie. We only wish it could stick around for just a little bit longer and not taunt us with the impending wet and cold weather. As the temperature cools, please make sure that your loved ones stay warm, safe and healthy. Here are five safety tips for the fall season:
- Check around the furnace before turning on the heat for the first time.
- If you walk outside, especially around dusk, dress in light-colored clothing to help drivers see you.
- Change batteries when you “fall back” for daylight savings time.
- Know your fire escape plan before the weather gets too cold.
- Use space heaters safely and set timers on them to ensure they are not left on.
Limited Time Fall Special
GrandCare is a technology designed to keep individuals safe, healthy, happy and connected at home. For less than $2 dollars per day, your family can have peace of mind that your loved one is safe at home. Participate in video chats, communications, reminders, scheduling, photo sharing and more. This fall, get your first month free. Just call us (262-338-6147) or email: email@example.com with code: GCFALL19
Mention this blog and get ONE MONTH FREE. Expires 11/30/19. Valid for new purchases only. Open to current & new customers. Volume Discounts Available. Call for Details.
GrandCare’s CEO, Laura Mitchell, was recently a featured writer in a CSA Journal titled, “Got Social? Best Social Media Practices for Long-Term Care Providers.” In the article Laura explains how long-term care providers can benefit from social media and technology.
The CSA Journal is an award-winning publication that focuses on critical issues for aging adults. The academic journal is published by the Society of Certified Senior Advisors (SCSA), an organization that educates and certifies professionals who work with seniors.
Having over a decade of experience in the aging, technology and digital health market, Laura is considered an expert in this field. Known for her expertise in the aging market and social media, Laura has been featured in Forbes magazine, was named Dealerscope Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40”, has been awarded the 2014 Connected World Women of M2M and was a 2011 recipient of the Mary Furlong Silicon Boomer Venture Summit Award for Innovation and Leadership.
Love it or hate it, social media is an important part of our everyday world. And it isn’t just for the kids, either. Social media use has been steadily increasing among seniors, reaching 37% of those aged 65+, and 64% for the 50-64 age group last year (Pew Research Center, 2018).
In the article, Laura explains why providers should be using social media and gives tips on how to do so effectively by being selective of which social media platforms to use and posting smart content.
Laura summed up the social media wilderness this way:
“Social media is an important tool for marketing your long-term care community. It offers a low-
cost way to reach and engage with clients and potential clients, to learn more about them and what they care about, and to help them learn more about the good things you do in your organization. One of the very things that scare some organizations away from social media, the concern that users will post negative reviews, or publicly complain about your company or its services, can instead provide a powerful avenue for demonstrating your high level of care for your clients and their experiences.”
The entire article can be found in Volume 3, Issue 75 of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors’ CSA Journal.
Homecare companies are actively shopping for tech. Why? Staffing issues! They simply don’t have enough caregivers and they are not alone. This is a problem the entire aging service industry is experiencing with the expanding aging population and limited caregiving pool. Good technology can help you expand your services without adding more staff. And it can open up new revenue streams like virtual visits, concierge-style service ordering, telehealth monitoring and remote activity monitoring.
How do you integrate these new services into your existing business model? How do you price it? What does it cost? When should you do it?
Join GrandCare Systems for a free webinar to find out and differentiate your organization from the rest, plus improve your top and bottom lines.
Thursday, November 14th
Didn’t catch Laura’s big interview on the CEDIA podcast? You’re in luck. Here’s the whole thing for your listening pleasure!
At GrandCare we love receiving stories like this one, about how technology like GrandCare can be used to help seniors stay independent, and in their own homes. We thought you’d love it too.
My dad and I are very close. He is still active and tons of fun, but he’s getting older (aren’t we all) and we can’t help but worry about him. After mom passed away, we have been trying even harder to make sure he is healthy and isn’t too lonely. We have dad over for dinner a few times a week and he has church on Sundays. But, I know he misses mom so much and feels isolated.
We tried to talk dad into looking around at all of the amazing senior housing communities in our area, but he is adamant. He doesn’t want to leave the home that he and my mom lived in for the past 40 years. We didn’t know what to do. How could we feel good about him being alone, while empowering him and making sure he wasn’t too disconnected. After some online research, we selected GrandCare. A touchscreen system to empower dad with reminders, while feeling connected to family. And, we were able to set up just a few motion sensors that could tell us if something seemed wrong.
Before GrandCare, I could tell that dad just wasn’t engaged. My mom had been the glue that kept all of us connected. But now he is way more connected to us with GrandCare’s video calling and picture sharing features. It’s also kept him in the loop with news updates, weather, sports and anything else that he might be interested in. I even noticed he loves watching old music videos, re-run episodes from youtube and card games on GrandCare.
I used to worry all the time. Is he ok? Is he up and about today? How would I know if he wasn’t? And he hated when I would call to ask these things. But now with GrandCare I don’t have to. I already know that things are just fine. His GrandCare’s motion sensor will reach out and tell me if he didn’t access the kitchen in the morning or if he doesn’t return from his morning walk. Now when I call we can talk about more interesting things like last night’s baseball game.
As if that isn’t enough, GrandCare helps dad remember when to take all of his medications. It also reminds him to take his blood pressure every day like he’s supposed to. He loves it because he would prefer it’s GrandCare (and not me) that reminds him. And I love it because GrandCare allows me to not worry.
For my dad, GrandCare is perfect. And, it will also let me know when we might need to make changes (e.g. adding more sensors or bring in added caregiving services).
For HIPAA and security purposes, this scenario is based upon stories and lifestyles of the 50+ population. Names and identifying details have been changed.
In the second week of September, GrandCare CEO Laura Mitchell will be flying to Denver for the 2019 CEDIA Expo. Laura has been asked to share her expertise on smart technologies and aging in a presentation titled: “Smart Seniors Seminar: How Technologies are keeping Seniors Safer, Smarter and out of Assisted living.”
According to the CEDIA website, CEDIA is the international trade association and central touchpoint for 3,700 member companies that represent every facet of the ever-evolving technology market. The CEDIA expo is held annually in various geographic locations. The five day event features networking, training and product launches. It brings together more than 20,000 home tech pros and over 500 exhibitors.
GrandCare is no stranger to CEDIA. GrandCare is a CEDIA member, has spoken on the opportunity of technologists in the aging/healthcare market and has even founded and organized CEDIA’s original Aging and Technology pavilions and educational tracks, including extensive education on how integrators and distributors could become involved in this critical marketplace.
Advancements in technology are allowing seniors to stay in their home longer. With emergency response systems, medication management, telehealth and remote monitoring, it is now safer and more convenient to live at home more than ever.
“We take such good care of our homes, and as we age why shouldn’t our homes help to take care of us?” This quote from GrandCare’s CEO, Laura Mitchell, helps reinforce the mission of CEDIA.
Smart Seniors Seminar:
How Technologies are keeping seniors safer, smarter and out of assisted living
Wednesday, September 11
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
CEU Credits: 1.5
View: Show schedule
Over 60 percent of American seniors (65 and older) use the internet on a daily basis. Around four out of ten seniors say they have a smartphone. Acknowledging this, home service providers, home builders, in-home care agencies and retailers have now started to think of ways to incorporate technology into the places where seniors are living their golden years. Gone are the days of technophobes and the resistance to enabling technologies for aging. Whether it’s Alexa, Fitbit activity tracking or Sleep Number’s tech-enabled mattresses, technology is changing the way we age.
“The adoption of technology is becoming a critical component of caregiving from family caregivers, to professional care organizations,” says GrandCare CEO, Laura Mitchell. “The number of individuals needing care is surpassing those able to provide it, providing a huge gap in care. Caregiving organizations will use technology to amplify their caregivers, reduce costly windshield time and offer more proactive and predictive care.”
The incentives are remarkable and it’s not only fiscal. Using GrandCare, individuals can also improve their mental state-of-mind by staying connected to their families through video chatting, messaging and be reminded of medications, daily tasks and upcoming baseball games. All of which are ways to keep their minds and their bodies active.
This is the focus of the Connected Health Summit presented by Park Associates in San Diego August 27-29. Mitchell and other industry experts will present on topics ranging from technology in professional care organizations, social implications and empowering patients.
Wow! Our Missouri affiliate Gray Matters Alliance is going to be showing GrandCare at the Missouri Tech Fest on August 6th! Disability service providers and individuals will have the chance to explore Assistive Technology and Remote Support technologies…like GrandCare.
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Well, here we are. After a winter that seemed not to end (at least here in Wisconsin), we are finally seeing some warm temperatures. And Mother Nature couldn’t just do a general warm day. No, she had to go from frigid winter temperatures right into the 80s and even 90s. Love or hate the super hot weather, it’s a critical time to stay safe by keeping hydrated, staying indoors, and keeping the house cool. This is especially important for those with humidity-sensitive conditions such as COPD.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that approximately 1300 people die from heat related causes every year. The majority of those victims are young children and the elderly.
Here are some quick tips and tricks to BEAT THE HEAT:
- Stay hydrated: This is one of the easiest things to do. If given the option, drink water. You might also opt for sports drinks, such as Gatorade, to help replenish lost nutrients and minerals in the body. Make sure to read the label. Some sports drinks are loaded with sugar.
- Avoid overly greasy or hot and heavy foods: This includes hot pasta dishes. Eat cold sandwiches, salads, and lighter pasta salads. These will add less heat to your body.
- Stay away from tight or dark clothing: Loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored articles allow your body some breathing room.
- Stay inside and avoid strenuous exercise: This is especially important during the hottest parts of the day. If you do need to be outside, take frequent water and rest breaks.
- Be aware of heat stroke and exhaustion symptoms: These include confusion, headaches, profuse sweating, rapid heartbeat, nausea, and fatigue.
- Use a technology such as GrandCare to keep yourself or a loved one safer, healthier and more comfortable: The GrandCare touchscreen can let you and family know when the outdoor humidity or temperature is too high. It can remind you when it’s time to drink water. It can indicate if the air conditioner is not working and if the in-home temperature reaches a potentially dangerous level. And, GrandCare can help you to continuously monitor vitals and send an alert if a red flag reading needs to be addressed.
This warm weather won’t last forever – at least not in the Badger State! But in these dog days of summer, please remember to take care of yourselves and your loved ones!
If you’d like to learn more about GrandCare Systems, contact us or request a demo.