Mom Calls the GrandCare System “God-Send”

Touchscreen-based engagement and monitoring technology, GrandCare, enables communication between individuals and family members.

While we are no longer in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, it continues to threaten the safety of the aging and disability population. This is why it’s so important to keep these individuals connected to family, even when a physical visit isn’t possible.

We are always pleased to hear the personal stories of how GrandCare helps our customers. We recently heard from one daughter who, after being exposed to COVID, was unable to visit her mother at memory care.

“Almost done quarantining from COVID, and I wanted to thank you because having the ability to check on my mom daily with the GrandCare System has been priceless!” said Sharon Emerich, who uses GrandCare to check in with her mother and her caregiving team on a daily basis.

“She continues to be fine (thank goodness), but I was able to let her know why I haven’t been visiting and I was able to communicate quickly with caregivers also. Mom calls the GrandCare System a God-send and [my husband] Kirk and I agree!”

The GrandCare system, a 17-inch touchscreen, has family photos, streaming radio stations, old-time radio programs, games and medication reminders. Residents can check in on the system and video chat with designated family members. Optional motion and telehealth sensors can notify caregivers if something seems amiss.

We want to hear your story! If you’d like to share your GrandCare experience with us, please send us a message.

Caregiver with mentally challenged senior man

Disability Care Staffing Solutions: How Enabling Technologies Are Solving the Provider Shortage

While many disability service providers struggle with staffing shortages, some are finding solutions to mitigate the problem, cutting costs and increasing independence and outcomes for their residents using enabling technologies.

We recently hosted an engaging discussion with three leaders from organizations utilizing enabling technologies such as GrandCare during our webinar, Combatting DSP Staffing Shortages with Assistive Technology. Our guest speakers included Brian Hart, the COO of LADD and the CEO of ShiftAbility, and Heather Weitz and Christine Gilbertson of Wisconsin-based provider, Opportunity Inc.

LADD is an agency in Ohio that, four years ago, wanted to use technology-enabled supports to change the way they delivered services. As they looked to solve a staff shortage, they devised a Smart Living model. “The Smart Living model is not just a piece of technology or software, it’s a new way of delivering services using technology first, value-added supports, a way we assess staff, cultural methodology of inclusive services, and a whole bunch of different models.” Out of that bore ShiftAbility, a consulting arm, as a way to share how to implement these models for other organizations.

A smart home uses technology like GrandCare touchscreens, sensors, health devices and med dispensers that work as a support system and other home technologies like smart refrigerators and stoves.

“There’s never going to be enough people to provide the support. If you want to provide more supports, you have to do it a different way.” Brian Hart.

Opportunity Inc. is a nonprofit organization in Wisconsin that provides supports in AFH (adult family home) settings and community supportive living settings. Heather and Christina work in the community supportive living program.

“GrandCare has given us a way to actually implement self-sufficiency. Instead of just having staff come in, teach them something and 20 minutes after we walk about the door they completely forget everything that we went through, with GrandCare we’re able to upload videos and add reminders. This has been a huge way that GrandCare has helped us get to the independent living skills and maintain those independent living skills,” said Christina.

A GrandCare system is a remote monitoring and remote support platform on a stationary 17-inch touchscreen that can be set on a countertop or mounted on a wall. The touchscreen can deliver cognitive assists in the form of reminders for ADLs, medication, calendar appointments and much more. It can connect with motion sensors in the home and health devices such as pulse oximeters. Notification rules, simple if-then statements, can be customized for each individual and their support team. The touchscreen provides secure video calls, plus the system includes games, live radio and other entertainment features.

“It helps with staffing as well. We have some clients in their own homes that just need us to go check that they took their medications. Now they can mark off that they did it, and if we need a visual we can video chat instead of having somebody go over. Some of them like that because they want their privacy,” said Heather.

Christina added that many of their high functioning clients use a button on the touchscreen to check in for the night, which sends a notification to the staff that they’re safe at home, and that allows the staff to focus on the people who they need to be physically present for.

“They like that they feel more independent. Instead of coming to us all the time they can go on to their own GrandCare system and look for their schedules, see if they have doctor appointments or when the staff might be coming, and what they’re going to be doing with staff that day.” Heather Weitz

What’s the ROI on Assistive Technology?

The first LADD smart home was part of a two-year study by Xavier University. Researchers set out to measure “occupational performance” (the ability to do everyday tasks without help), resident satisfaction, and the cost of care in the new smart home setting. The results were remarkable. LADD was able to safely reduce direct caregiving hours by an astonishing 75%. This had a profound impact on the cost of care. Prior to GrandCare and remote monitoring technologies, the cost of supporting these individuals was $5,260 per week. Supportive technologies slashed the support costs by over 50% to only $2,607 per week.

“The technology ROI is less than nine months. It’s getting even faster now as we get more efficient,” said Brian. “Each year we’re able to do more with the same amount of resources.”

Learn More

Want to learn more about the GrandCare technology, choosing residents, setting up tech, staff training and funding? You can view the recording of our webinar.

“The big issues we have in our field are staffing, funding and transportation. We can solve for a lot of staffing and funding using technology.” Brian Hart

Have questions or would like to see a free demo? Contact us.

GrandCare remote support technology improves the lives of those with disabilities in the U.K.

The use of remote monitoring and remote support technology in residential settings grew exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic. But what started as a necessity for infection control purposes, has now proven to remain beneficial in many ways. Many people have discovered that receiving the majority of their support remotely is a far more independent experience than having a live person in your home. It is also vastly less expensive.

Cognitive assists, such as medication and activity of daily living reminders that can be added to GrandCare’s touch screen, allow people with disabilities to be successfully independent and yet still receive the support they need.

Video chats allow users to communicate with family, friends and caregivers. And when face-to-face support is needed, a quick video call is a very efficient way to provide it.

“Earlier this year we invested in Grandcare, an innovative communication tool which we are piloting for three years. Six months on, it is proving invaluable in helping people with autism to live independently. It is personalized and can schedule a routine for a person, reminding them to get up, shower, have lunch or when to take their medication. It can also help them stay in touch with friends and family through video calls,” said a spokesperson from Bolton Cares.

“Our mission is to help people to live the life they want their way and technology is helping us achieve this daily.”

Sophie’s Story

Bolton Cares offers person-centered care to people with autism, complex learning and physical disabilities, older people and people with dementia.

Want to know more about GrandCare? Set up a demo with us.


Image courtesy of BOLTON CARES

Mom sitting outside

Choosing the right community– My search for a technology solution and how GrandCare helped Mom during COVID

In 2012, I moved my parents out of their home and into an assisted-living community. This was a whole new world for all of us — lots of learning and experimenting. The community did offer pendants for residents to press when they needed something (anything) from a caregiver. My mom was never known for her patience. And my dad was struggling with the onset of dementia; so, the pendant was never satisfying for a wide variety of reasons, including the time it took for my mother to press the pendant and for someone to check on her. We brought in our own caregivers to supplement what we were receiving in the community and provide a more enriching life for my parents.

Three years later, after starting a Family Council at the community but becoming frustrated at the lack of responsiveness and level of care, we moved both of my parents to another community. My father moved upstairs to memory care, where he died shortly thereafter. Again, my mom was given a pendant and again she was frustrated by it for the same reasons. But, the community overall was better staffed, my mother had adjusted to the idea of being in assisted-care, as we had. But, as often happens, management changed at the community. It was owned by a private-equity firm who brought in a different company to manage it; and, not surprisingly, their first order of business was to reduce costs, which meant reducing care. We quickly moved again.

So, at the end of 2019, my mom — together with a good friend she met at the previous community — moved to a new one. I liked almost everything better about this facility except for one thing: no pendants. Instead, they had a pull cord in a few places in the room, though my wheelchair-bound mother couldn’t reach the cords and, as she was cognitively in decline, she would forget those options were there for her.

That’s when I went searching for a solution

I was recommended to personally contact the CEO of GrandCare, which right away made me more interested. At this point in my family caregiving role, I learned that personal recommendations are often particularly fruitful and — more so — if a CEO of a tech company is willing to speak with a customer, that speaks to how much they care and want to learn how even better serve those in need. We placed an order for the GrandCare system. When it arrived, a customer-service team member quickly and easily walked me through set up — both the hardware and the app on my phone. Finally, I could check in with my mother without her needing to carry a cellphone (and remembering to have it near her, listen for it, and answer it), which had become increasingly difficult. 

For all of these now seven-plus years that my mom had been in assisted living, I was able to visit her almost daily. But then, Covid hit and the world changed. How fortunate I was to be able not only to speak with my mother, but to see her and observe her care. I was the often “third person in the room,” as my mother was being cared for by individuals she didn’t recognize because they were now wearing masks. The closeness with my mother that I was about to virtually achieve with GrandCare, as well as many of the additional features the system offered, was exactly what we needed and continue to need. I don’t really know what I would have done without it, except to feel as if I’m no longer connected and far less informed. 

Anytime we had a question about the system or additional functionality, GrandCare would jump on a call. And during the course of the past many months, I’ve even suggested a few minor tweaks to the system, which their tech people not only appreciated but implemented. Thank you, GrandCare.

– Peter, son of a GrandCare user

GrandCare - it's a gift from God

“It’s a Gift from God!”

I was so worried about my dad. He’s pretty independent at 78, but he struggles with a few health issues and a month ago he had a scary fall. He kept forgetting to take his medication and it’s dangerous for his blood pressure. I live 40 minutes away. I checked on him all the time, but he wouldn’t always hear the phone and it drove me crazy. That’s when we found GrandCare.

It’s a big touchscreen he calls his “window to us.” My kids message him and video chat right from the GrandCare app on their phones. I sent him pictures of our new house and I added some old nostalgic ones of him and my mom when they were younger. He doesn’t feel like he’s missing out on our lives, and my kids are a lot more connected with their granddad.

Dad thinks it’s phenomenal. It’s really helped with his depression. He’s smiling and laughing again. His favorite features are the weather reports and watching old shows on YouTube. And if he forgets to take his medication, the system reminds him right on the touchscreen. If he doesn’t see it, he’ll get an automated text message.

GrandCare reminds him to take his blood pressure every day, and then tracks it so I can be sure he’s doing okay. I have Dad bring the graphs with him to his doctor, too.

He’s still in his house. He’s still independent. And we all finally have some peace of mind.

My dad calls it a “gift from God.” I do too.

Looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift for your dad? For a limited time get $100 off your order., Discount Code: dadspecial20. Or call us 262-338-6147.

*For HIPAA and security purposes, names and identifying details in this story have been changed.

elderly care monitoring system

GrandCare benefits all areas of elderly care

Caring for a loved one who is facing end of life is a difficult situation for all parties involved. Time or geographic constraints can sometimes prevent family members from being physically present, but modern technology is changing the way the nation looks at quality health care.

Knute Nelson, a nonprofit, Christian-based organization that specializes in senior care, has teamed up with local telecommunications providers such as Gardonville Cooperative Telephone Association (Brandon, Minn.) to offer an in-home technology solution that connects seniors and Hospice patients with their loved ones, caregivers and medical team.

Through the use of the GrandCare System, a simple touch platform enables in-home residents to view pictures, receive incoming messages, watch videos, listen to music and video chat with family. The system uses a variety of wireless activity and telehealth devices that also can alert designated caregivers by phone, email or text message if anything seems amiss.

Daphne Karpan, Knute Nelson palliative care manager, said the system has been particularly helpful and beneficial to the health-care organization’s Hospice clients, who generally have a one- to nine-month life expectancy. Being able to connect them with their loved ones at such a critical time has been a rewarding experience for all parties involved, she said.

Testing Out Telehealth Services

The GrandCare System requires an Internet connection to work. Because most of the affected patients are not existing customers, Dave Wolf, chief executive officer/general manager of Gardonville Cooperative Telephone, said that his team makes it a top priority to install the low-cost broadband connection “without a bunch of red tape.”

Karpan noted that Knute Nelson is only able to offer this service through the support of a Blandin Foundation grant. The private foundation is the state’s largest rural-based, rural-focused foundation that seeks to strengthen communities in rural Minnesota.

Karpan said hospice nurses are able to work with clients to set up Skype sessions and to upload pictures for families to share. In addition, the device can be programmed to monitor vital signs and activity. There are also sensors to alert caregivers if someone falls or needs to take their medicine.

“We have been proactively redefining the health-care paradigm over the last decade and have found great value in how technology helps to enrich the lives of our patients. With GrandCare, patients are able to become more involved in their own health care, stay living in their homes, and be connected to families and friends in meaningful ways,” said Mark Anderson, president/chief executive officer of Knute Nelson. “Partners and leaders in the field such as Dave Wolf … understand the value in delivering this technology. Making it available to their customers helps to spur economic development and vitality in our region—and, most importantly, adds significant value in the lives of our patients.”

Doing the Right Thing

Reflecting on the decision to partner with Knute Nelson on this initiative, Wolf said it was an easy decision to make despite the fact that it’s not a revenue generator. “These people are facing end-of-life,” he said. “It would require a one- to three-year triple-play package in order to break even at best. Everyone—the patient and their family members— is grateful and becomes loyal to the co-op for providing this service.

“There are 100 economic reasons not to get involved … but we have the means and the network already in place,” he said, explaining that Gardonville Cooperative Telephone is promoting the service as a low-speed data package that runs on 1 Mbps and doesn’t require those in home care or Hospice to sign a contract.

“Not everything has to be a slam-dunk,” Wolf said. “In this case, loyalty is a measurable outcome.”


By Tennille Shields, NTCA Senior Writer/Editor


A few years ago my mom passed away, and since then my Dad has been living by himself. He’s still in his home, and for the most part, he’s pretty independent, which is great. But he has quite a few medications to take, and that’s becoming a bigger challenge for him. Recently, we’ve noticed that he sometimes forgets to eat, which can be a real problem with his diabetes.

My brother and I try to get over there as much as possible, and lately, we try to make sure one of us gets over there every day. With work and all of the kid shuffling to piano, dance and soccer, it’s hard. We try not to let on that it’s a challenge, because I know dad feels guilty. He keeps saying that we shouldn’t worry about him and instead focus on our own busy lives. He constantly says he doesn’t want to be a burden. On the other hand, when we tried to get some home care services, he resisted. He is used to doing things for himself, and didn’t want to accept help from anyone else. In his words he plans to “die in his bed,” which makes us crazy. There’s no reason he can’t stay safe and healthy at home, if we can just make sure he’s taking his meds.

We decided to go a different route. We gave him a GrandCare System. It’s a touchscreen computer that not only reminds him to eat, and take his medications, but it also lets us see that he’s remembered to test his blood sugar and take his blood pressure medication every day. My brother and I get alerted if he forgets, if his sugar numbers are out of whack, if he misses his meds, or even if he isn’t moving around like normal. We still visit him pretty often, but now it’s more relaxed and enjoyable because we aren’t so worried.

The best part for him is the social end. He has always refused to get a cell phone and don’t even get him started on why he’ll never join Facebook. But with the GrandCare system, he video chats all the time with us and the kids. They’ve been sharing photos with him. My brother and I have Facebook albums that automatically show up on his GrandCare. He uses it to check the news headlines, weather forecast, listen to his favorite music and watch episodes of shows. He even watches the kids play their sports live, right from his living room.

GrandCare has made dad healthier and has made him feel more connected. It’s been a life saver for us!


virtual long term care

Benefit Specialists Recognizes GrandCare as the Cadillac of Virtual Long-Term Care

Benefit Specialists, an industry leader since 1980, is a privately owned, full service insurance brokerage firm specialize in both employer-provided and voluntary benefits for companies of all sizes across a broad array of industries. Affiliated with over 50 of the largest national insurance companies, they specialize in providing customized solutions for companies looking for group and individual insurance products and benefit plans which will meet the unique needs of employees.

Recently, Benefit Specialists wrote an interesting article discussing the impact that emerging technologies are having on long-term care environments. Check out the excerpt below, which explains how GrandCare is reshaping the healthcare landscape.

“For those who want to maximize their peace of mind, Gomez says the Cadillac of virtual long-term care is a remote-monitoring system like that offered by grandCARE.

With this system, activity sensors are placed in a senior’s home. To use grandCARE, Managed Senior Care first evaluates what a typical ‘good day’ looks like for a senior and sets alerts accordingly. For example, if a senior typically has breakfast by 9 a.m. and the refrigerator hasn’t been opened by that time, an alert may go out to a caregiver.

As with Banner iCare, seniors using the grandCARE system are set up with a tablet. In this case, it’s an oversized tablet that can be remotely activated. If a caregiver needs to check on a senior, he or she can open Skype which will activate the camera and microphone on the tablet. At that point, the caregiver can look for the senior and call out to him or her to determine whether help is needed.

‘One of the reasons we like this product is because it’s respectful of the senior,’ Gomez says. ‘You know when people are watching. There is no secret monitoring.’”

Independent Living: You Won’t Believe How They Made Mom Feel At Home

Betty’s husband had been gone for several years and taking care of the house all alone was becoming too much for her. Her children felt that it was time for her to move to an independent living community. Although she didn’t like the idea, she agreed so as not to be a burden.

When move-in day arrived, Betty was worried. Aside from Packer Sundays, what would she do all day? Her favorite football team doesn’t play every day, after all. But when she walked into her new apartment for the first time she was surprised to see pictures of the Pack displayed on a large screen. Her family explained that this community uses the touchscreen to let her know about activities, dining options, and more. There was a touchscreen in every apartment.

As she stood admiring the football-themed slideshow, Betty noticed something else. Some of these photos were of her. Betty with her kids, Betty with her husband, all of them taken at Packer games. She even saw the one from their 40th wedding anniversary–taken at Lambeau Field, of course.

Her kids explained that they had supplied these pictures themselves. They had uploaded them to the touchscreen, personalizing it just for her. They had even put a button on the screen that took her right to the Green Bay Packers website. Another button labeled “GO PACK!” showed her video of some of their Super Bowl touchdowns.

And that is how Betty’s children, her new community, and the Green Bay Packers helped her feel right at home in her new place.

Find out what GrandCare can do for your community. We do community-wide messaging, video calling, resident directories, concierge services, resident check-ins, and more. Click here to contact us today!

Video Calls Save Lives

Video calls are a feature of modern life. It’s the preferred method for grandparents to keep up with distant grandchildren. It can help seniors stay connected even when they live alone. But can video calls save your life?

Apparently they can. Just ask Opokua Kwapong of New York. She woke from a nap when her sister, Adumea Sapong, FaceTimed her from Manchester, England. The sister could tell right away that something didn’t seem right. Opokua was slurring her words, which might have been chalked up to sleepiness, but because it was a video call she could clearly see OPokua’s face looked wrong. She was having a stroke.

OPokua got medical attention immediately and credits the technology with saving her life.

GrandCare has video calling from the touchscreen to your PC and from touchscreen to our new iPhone app. Sure, it helps family and friends stay connected. It definitely can help stave off loneliness. But it can also provide critical information about the wellbeing of the GrandCare user. It can be hard to tell what’s going on with just a voice call. Sometimes you just have to see for yourself to know that everything’s ok.

Do you know the signs of a stroke? Use the letters in “fast” to spot stroke signs and know when to call 9-1-1. Click here to learn about FAST.