Tag Archive for: Michael Murdock

High-tech home help: Saga Magazine, Fit for life

Saga Logo Original DNTAs the leading provider of products and services for the over 50s in the UK, Saga has long been aware of both the positive, and the more challenging implications of an ageing demographic.  GrandCare Systems® is delighted to have been chosen by Saga as their technology to help their over 50’s stay independent, and at home.  GrandCare was recently featured in Saga’s February 2013 issue of Saga Magazine. The story highlights how one family utilized the GrandCare System to strengthen their family bond and feel more connected and in touch, even though they were over 1,600 miles apart.  It discusses Saga’s entrance into the digital health market, introducing this visionary technology into the UK in 2013.

High-tech home help

Saga Magazine, February 2013, Fit for life, Pg. 86
Words Charles Laurence

A new touch-screen system arriving in the UK this year (courtesy of Saga!) promises to revolutionise old age. It helps to keep older people in their own homes for longer by enabling family or carers to keep a loving eye on mum or dad from afar. Here’s where it all began…

At about the time that Michael Murdock began to worry about his mother’s approaching old age, his eye was caught by a stand at a high-tech trade show. It was called GrandCare Systems. Murdock was in business fitting ‘smart’ automation technology to expensive homes – his was a company you called when you wanted to be able to set the swimming-pool temperature from your car, or watch the front gate with hidden cameras. Amid the gizmos and trade tools at the show, GrandCare seemed to be offering something a little different. ‘I thought “Wow”,’ he says. ‘Here was a company with the sort of technology I use, but adapted to help me look after my mom!’

Click here to download the full article: PDF Download

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Discovery Channel Future Family Life in

GrandCare was featured in the Discovery Channel Future Family Life in the Digital Age – GrandCare featured. Watch here: http://ow.ly/39h52

Special thanks to Michael Murdock & Family, Discovery Channel and AARP for making this happen!

The Discovery Channel

Please tune in TOMORROW to see the GrandCare System LIVE on the DISCOVERY CHANNEL: “Future Family: Life in the Digital Age” (about baby boomers and new technology) is scheduled to air on the Discovery Channel this Saturday, November 13th at 8 am EST. It is scheduled to repeat in that time slot the two weekends following.

You can view when it airs here

Daily News Record reports on GrandCare Technology

Article by DNR Harrisonburg, VA Paper:

Aging In Place
New Technology Helps Seniors Stay In Their Homes Longer
As published in: Daily News Record
By: Jacquelyn Walsh

According to a March 2010 article in the New York Times, the average cost of nursing home care is $200 a day, not including additional fees for specialized services such as Alzheimer’s or dementia care. That amounts to roughly $6,000 a month and $72,000 annually to keep a parent or loved one in a nursing home.

With baby boomers approaching senior citizen status, these figures can be daunting for them and their children. But with technology moving at a rapid pace, new systems are helping seniors “age in place,” or live at home longer.

Elizabeth Roach, 71, of Harrisonburg had a Grand Care System installed in her home a few months ago. Her eldest son, Michael Murdock, came across the product at a technology convention in Florida, and now sells the product as owner of Enhanced Caring, a company based out of Aurora, Colo. Murdock also owns a home automation and integration company, Enhanced Living.

“We do all the cool high tech Jetson stuff to homes,” says Murdock, whose company installs high-tech security systems, home theater systems and now Grand Care Systems throughout the country.

“When I saw the Grand Care System, I thought ‘This is what my mother needs. This is a product that can change her life,’ ” says Murdock. “I am finally involved in a product that’s going to make a difference in the last years of people’s lives, and what I’m doing now makes a difference.”

The system focuses on three functions: communication, cognitive abilities and wellness.

It centers on a computer that allows the homeowner to keep in touch with the outside world and also collects information from sensors installed around the house, reporting data to designated caretakers.

Complete with a touch-screen monitor, this “computer” is free of the hassles of logging on, remembering passwords, downloading files and deleting spam, says Roach, so that she gets the technology of a computer with a simplicity geared toward a senior’s needs.

The computer system also gathers information from pressure mats installed under Roach’s chair and bed, motion sensors on her medicine cabinet and fridge, a heat sensor on the stove and panic buttons next to her bed, the bathtub and at the bottom of the basement stairs. These sensors signal alerts that send warning e-mails to designated people, such as Roach’s children, that lets them know if she hasn’t gotten up yet or has left the stove on for several hours. The system can communicate by sending texts, e-mails and phone calls to designated children or neighbors. This is used to alert these people if anything is out of the ordinary or Roach presses one of the panic buttons, which will also call 911.

Roach also logs on to the computer every morning and does a series of exercises that range from tic-tac-toe to trivia meant to strengthen cognitive functioning. With a scale and blood pressure monitor connected to the system, Roach weighs herself and checks her blood pressure each morning. The numbers are sent to the computer and tracked, showing any fluctuations and making the daily data available should the family wish to send it to a doctor.

“My mom is in pretty good health but she is getting older, so what we did was I got her a weight scale and blood pressure monitor and she checks it every day,” says Murdock. “We can take that information to the doctor and we can set up a rule [in the computer system] to alert someone when something isn’t normal. We don’t want to be intrusive on their lives and we don’t want to invade their privacy,” says Murdock.

With the information gathered from the sensors, Murdock can tell how long his mother sleeps each night and how long she sits in her favorite chair, most likely crocheting. These are not things he checks on constantly though, says Murdock, but uses to gauge patterns in her daily habits, and is alerted when something is wrong.

Roach was skeptical at first and worried about an invasion of her privacy, she says, but once installed, it became routine for her to use the system.

“Because there’s no cameras involved in it and people get into a normal routine of using it, it does not invade their privacy,” says Murdock. “It’s not like I check everything every day. I just find out when there’s something out of the [norm].”

The system costs about $8,000 to install and requires a monthly fee of about $75, more or less depending on what features you choose, says Murdock.

“As I get older I find that I want to stay home more. That’s why I retired,” says Roach. “I have very close relationships with family members; however, independence is important to me. With this system, I feel like I can be independent and know my family is a touch screen away.”

Because Roach lives alone with only one out of her four children nearby, it’s important to help the siblings communicate, says Murdock, a Spotswood High School graduate. “I miss being home and it has helped me as much as it has helped my mom — it gave me another avenue to communicate with her.”

In addition to the safety features, the system also offers more typical computer features. With the photo feature of the system, Roach’s children can upload photos of trips they’ve taken and Roach’s grandkids directly to her computer screen.

“I believe that the general reason behind it all, the core feeling, is that people want to age in place, no one wants to go to a facility,” says Murdock, who says he got the system mainly for communication and the brain exercises.

These systems are not only for those seniors in their last years of their life, Murdock said. It’s important for seniors to begin using the system early on so it becomes second nature for them.

For Roach and Murdock, the new technology has been a blessing for the whole family.

“We’ve distributed the responsibility of caring for my mother to all four children and we’re thousands of miles apart. It’s absolutely changed our lives,” says Murdock. “She feels more connected than ever, and that’s priceless to me.”

Roach and Murdock were featured in a July article of The New York Times, and will be featured on a Discovery Channel special about baby boomers and aging in place in November.

See here for more GrandCare Screen Shots:

GrandCare Systems Featured in NY TIMES!!


Technologies Help Adult Children Monitor Aging Parents

IN the wee hours of July 14, Elizabeth Roach, a 70-year-old widow, got out of bed and went to the living room of her Virginia ranch home. She sat in her favorite chair for 15 minutes, then returned to bed.

She rose again shortly after 6, went to the kitchen, plugged in the coffee pot, showered and took her weight and blood pressure. Throughout the morning, she moved back and forth between the kitchen and the living room. She opened her medicine cabinet at 12:21 and closed it at 12:22. Immediately afterward, she opened the refrigerator door for almost three minutes. At 1:36, she opened the kitchen door and went outside.

All this information — including her exact weight (126 pounds) and blood pressure reading (139/98) — was transmitted via the Internet to her 44-year-old son, Michael Murdock, who reviewed it from his home office in suburban Denver.

All was normal — meaning all was well.

“Right now she’s not home,” Mr. Murdock said. That he deduced because the sensors he had installed throughout his mother’s home told him that the kitchen door — which leads outside — had not been reopened since 1:36, more than an hour earlier. The opening of the medicine cabinet midday confirmed to him that his mother had taken her medicine. And he was satisfied that she had eaten lunch because the refrigerator door was open more than just a few seconds.

In the general scheme of life, parents are the ones who keep tabs on the children. But now, a raft of new technology is making it possible for adult children to monitor to a stunningly precise degree the daily movements and habits of their aging parents.

The purpose is to provide enough supervision to make it possible for elderly people to stay in their homes rather than move to an assisted-living facility or nursing home — a goal almost universally embraced as both emotionally and financially desirable. With that in mind, a vast spectrum of companies, from giants like General Electric to start-ups like iReminder of Westfield, N.J., which has developed a system to notify families if loved ones haven’t taken their medicine, are looking for a piece of the market of families with an aging relative.

Many of the systems are godsends for families. But, as with any parent-child relationship, all loving intentions can be tempered by issues of control, role-reversal, guilt and a little deception — enough loaded stuff to fill a psychology syllabus. For just as the current population of adults in their 30s and 40s have built a reputation for being a generation of hyper-involved, hovering parents to their own children, they now have the tools to micro-manage their aging mothers and fathers as well…

The system Mr. Murdock persuaded his mother to install is called GrandCare, produced by a company of the same name based in West Bend, Wis. It allows families to place movement sensors throughout a house. Information — about when doors were opened, what time a person got into and out of bed, whether there’s been any movement in a room for a certain time period — is sent out via e-mail, text message or voice mail. He said his GrandCare system cost $8,000 to install — about as much as two months at the local assisted-living facility, Mr. Murdock said — plus monthly fees of about $75. The company says that costs vary depending on what features a client chooses.

In addition to giving him peace of mind that his mother is fine, the system helps assuage that midlife sense of guilt. “I have a large amount of guilt,” Mr. Murdock admitted. “I’m really far away. I’m not helping to take care of her, to mow her lawn, to be a good son.”

His mother, Mrs. Roach, was nervous at first when her son brought up the idea of using the system. “I didn’t want to be invaded,” she said. “I didn’t understand the system and was concerned about privacy.” Now that it’s in place, she said, she’s changed her mind: “I was all wrong. I’m not feeling like I’m being watched all day.” And she really enjoys the system’s feature that lets her play games and receive photos and messages from her children and grandchildren. (She never learned to use e-mail.)

Mrs. Roach has no major health issues that require the kind of watching she is getting, and oddly enough, that is the ideal scenario. Elinor Ginzler, senior vice president for livable communities at AARP, said it’s best to discuss using such technology long before a parent’s health has slipped to a point where she might actually need it. “You frame it that way: ‘We’re so happy that things are going so well. We want to make sure to keep it that way. Let’s talk about what we can do to make sure.’ ”

What often follows is pushback. After all, this is not a generation known for its ease with technology…

Adult children who call parents to check up on them have learned to be careful about how they phrase their questions. “I personally don’t make it so that I’m watching,” Mr. Murdock said. “I don’t say, ‘Mom, I was looking and you didn’t do this.’ I say, ‘Mom, are you O.K.? I noticed you didn’t take your medicine.’ It’s a balancing act, but it’s an easy conversation. It’s not like I’m calling every day saying, ‘Did you do this or did you do that?’ ”