Tag Archive for: remote monitoring technology

GrandCare Featured on Las Vegas Morning Blend

Congrats to GrandCare Las Vegas dealer: Fusion Care for their wonderful feature on the Las Vegas Morning Blend this morning!!


If only the elderly could stay HOME: GrandCare Featured in Inc. Magazine

Hot Market: The Aging Population
Baby boomers are hitting old age—and they are terrified of nursing homes. If only there was some way to keep the elderly in their homes and healthy.

By Leigh Buchanan | Nov 1, 2010
By 2030, 71 million Americans will be over age 65, according to the U.S. Census. Currently, 30 percent of elderly Americans who are not in assisted living live alone, and 90 percent say they want to grow old in their homes, according to AARP. Home health care, much of it for the elderly, is one of the fastest-growing segments in the country’s fastest-growing industry.

The Inspiration: In 1993, Charles Hillman, an engineering consultant, was living on a farm in Wisconsin. His great-aunt Clara, then in her late 80s, occupied a cottage 100 yards from the main house. One day, Aunt Clara called to complain she was cold. Arriving at the cottage, Hillman found all the windows flung wide; his aunt said she had opened them because the room was smoky. “I went down into the crawlspace and saw her furnace was on fire,” recalls Hillman. After extinguishing the blaze, Hillman asked his aunt why she hadn’t mentioned the erratic temperatures and strange noises that had been emanating from beneath the house for days. Says Hillman: “She gave the answer that boomers caring for aging parents hear all the time: ‘I know you’re busy and didn’t want to bother you.’ ”

The Business: GrandCare Systems, based in West Bend, Wisconsin, makes technology that helps seniors live independently. Sensors installed around the home monitor motion (tracking, for example, if the resident appears to be wandering or fails to rise from a chair or bed and how often doors open and close); check room temperature; and allow remote reporting of blood pressure, pulse, weight, and other health indicators. A communications base, accessed through an ordinary television, delivers content that includes weather and spiritual offerings and enables communication with family, friends, and caregivers.

How It Got Started: After rescuing Aunt Clara, Hillman had to wait for the technology to catch up to his idea for a system to help seniors and their caregivers avoid similar situations. He bided his time by studying the market. He joined the boards of a local long-term-care organization and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. “As we would discuss finances and state reimbursement, it was pretty clear that institutional long-term care was not a sustainable model,” says Hillman. “Also, the view of nursing homes has really changed. People fear them more than death.”

As he prepared to launch the business in 2004, Hillman joined a consortium of companies developing technology for the aged. The consortium’s large corporate members — including Intel and Philips — were generous with their survey data. That research helped Hillman determine how to price his offerings, market simultaneously to seniors and their personal and professional caregivers, and design products that wouldn’t simply be unplugged or ignored. “People are used to getting information from their television and their telephone, so that’s where we started,” says Hillman, who purchased sensors and other hardware components from GE and hired programmers to develop software linking it all together.

The company launched in 2005 and spent several years testing the system in the independent-living units of long-term-care facilities. Those facilities may become his customers as well, Hillman says.

The Result: GrandCare released its new core system, HomeBase, last summer, and had sold several hundred units by mid-August, after the product was featured on CBS’s The Early Show. The company, which expects to become profitable this year, has seven employees — chiefly programmers — and markets through a network of almost 200 independent dealers. It has sold systems in every U.S. state, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

Comment by GrandCare Systems:
thanks for the wonderful article Inc. Magazine!!! The GrandCare System was released into the market in 2006 and has been installed by authorized dealers ever since into private homes, long term care facilities, independent apartments and group homes. Our latest model, the GrandCare HomeBase allows families to not only assess activities of daily living and tele-wellness, but also has an easy-to-use INTERACTIVE touchpad for the LOVED one to be able to see pictures, messages, emails (and post simple responses using the onscreen key pad), online family videos, two way interactive web chat via skype, check weather reports, play games like trivia, solitaire, tic-tac-toe and more. It’s simple for the LOVED one to use and requires ZERO computer knowledge or experience! Authorized family and caregivers can access info easily from any Internet Connected computer and send communications through the GrandCare web portal.

Thanks again to Inc. Magazine and Leigh Buchanan for covering the ever-important issue of staying safe, independent, healthy and HAPPY at home!!

The GrandCare Team

Special Senate Committee on Aging – Bill to increase low-cost housing for seniors

Legislation Moves Forward to Increase Low-Cost Housing Options for Senior Citizens

Legislation Moves Forward to Increase Low-Cost Housing Options for Senior Citizens
Banking subcommittee approves bill from Sen. Kohl, Chair, Special Committee on Aging, other Democrats

Oct. 4, 2010 – A program of Housing and Urban Development, Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly, is headed for expansion and improvement, according to an announcement from the office of U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman of the Special Committee on Aging.

The Senate Banking Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development last week approved Kohl’s legislation, S.118.

The Section 202 program provides capital grants to non-profit community organizations for the development of supportive housing and provision of rental assistance exclusively for low-income seniors.

“Through such housing and supportive services, the program allows low-income seniors to remain safely in their homes,” according to the news release.

This bill attempts to address the affordable senior housing shortage by:

● Making it easier for owners to refinance Section 202 developments, which may be in need of rehabilitation;

● Providing greater flexibility to owners to transform unmarketable studio apartments into rentable one-bedroom units;

● Establishing a new project-based rental assistance program for seniors at risk of losing rental housing due to rent increases after refinancing;

● Making it easier for owners to make health and supportive services available to residents through service-enriched housing; and

● Creating a national clearinghouse of senior housing facilities to ease the search for seniors and their families.

“Over one-third of the Section 202 population is considered disabled enough to be at risk for being put in a nursing home,” Senator Kohl said.

“Access to these types of services saves both seniors and the government money because they reduce the need for costly nursing home stays. And ultimately they allow aging Americans to stay right where they want to be – in their own home.”

If passed by the full Senate, S.118 would promote the construction of new senior housing facilities, as well as preserve and improve upon existing facilities. Under current law, these processes are time-consuming and bureaucratic, often requiring waivers and special permission from HUD.

There are over 300,000 seniors living in 6,000 Section 202 developments across the country, with ten seniors vying for each housing unit that becomes available. It is expected that approximately 730,000 additional senior housing units will be needed by 2020 in order to address the housing needs of low-income seniors. At this point the program is not expected to meet the future demand.

This legislation has been endorsed by the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, America Association of Service Coordinators, Alliance for Retired Americans, National Council on Aging, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corporation, Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Services in America, National Affordable Housing Management Association, National Church Residences, National Housing Trust, National Low Income Housing Coalition, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future, United Jewish Communities, and Volunteers of America.

Cosponsors of S.118 included by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

GrandCare Systems – High Tech Caregiving


GrandCare Builds Emotional Elements Into High-Tech Caregiving
This was the easy part: Creating a system that monitors, communicates, updates, assists and notifies a homecare client’s status — wirelessly — and is operated by people without significant technological experience. The system can do everything from report blood pressure and indoor temperature to sending photographs and medication reminders to coordinating schedules with family members and printing out graphs for doctor visits.

The hard part is marketing it.

Laura Mitchell, the director of business relations of GrandCare Systems in West Bend, WI, tells Selling to Seniors that “as with any technology or any service, you really are marketing to two different demographics: you’ve got the boomers who are most likely making the [purchasing] decision and you’ve got the senior who might be paying for it. Really you have a ‘triple sale’ going on: selling to one demographic then the other and then get them together on how this is going to work.”

GrandCare uses a combination of remote environmental sensing, passive physiological sensing, artificial intelligence and networking technologies to provide caregivers the ability to remotely and passively monitor a client or loved one without compromising dignity or privacy. It’s an impressive use of modern technology, and its touch panel controls are designed to be used by those with little experience using a computer, or even by those with memory issues.

Caregivers log into the system via Internet from anywhere in the world and can see, for example, if the client has lost weight in the last few days or if they’ve been to bed lately. They can also send images and messages to the client via the television. The variations of monitoring are nearly endless.

A Coming ‘Tsunami’ in Home Care Technology

It sounds like the ultimate “smart house.”

“But we’ve taken it one step further and really focused on the mental and spiritual and familial activity in their well being,” says Mitchell. “Not only should they keep their minds active but we also think it’s important to stay in touch with family members wherever they are. Email, Facebook, Skype — we enable the seniors to use all this technology without having to know anything about it.”

The system is entirely customizable and can be scaled up or down, and prices range accordingly. Local dealers perform care assessment and installation, and Mitchell says costs are about $15 to $25 a day. The average cost of skilled nursing, she points out, is $200 a day, and 24-hour in-home care can get up to $600 a day.

Since the product’s launch at the end of 2006, GrandCare has promoted the system using “a lot of guerilla marketing,” Mitchell says. “A lot of social networking, a lot of trade shows and press releases, presentations at places we think adult children may be at. We don’t do a whole of paid advertising.”

Meanwhile, Mitchell networks with others in the field and is a founding board member of the Aging Technology Alliance, a consortium of home tech companies. For the last two years she has hosted a weekly aging and technology webinar featuring others from the industry.

“The idea is the aging tsunami will float all the boats, so let’s work together,” she says.

Info: Professional caregivers and private homes can contact GrandCare at https://www.grandcare.com/page/contact_us. Laura Mitchell addresses the NAHB’s Home Technology Alliance and CEDIA in a free Webinar on Wednesday, Sept. 1 at 3 p.m. EDT; see www1.gotomeeting.com/register/940457584 for registration information. The Aging Technology Alliance can be found at http://web.me.com/pradsliff/Aging_Technology_Alliance/Home.html. A list of upcoming Webinars hosted by Mitchell is at http://grandcare.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/upcoming-aging-tech-webinar-topics-mark-your-calendar.


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