Tag Archive for: Stay Home

Geek News Central Interviews GrandCare Founder, Charlie Hillman

Geek News Central
Grandcare: Keeping the Senior Citizen Independent

Andy McCasky and Esbjorn Larsen spoke to Charles Hillman, PE of Grandcare. Grandcare goal is to help seniors stay in their home, while allowing the caregiver to have peace of mind. The system consists of a central unit similar to a TiVo box that connects to any size TV or monitor. Then a series of motion sensors can placed around the house that measure motions.

There is also a wellness system that can measure blood pressure, weight and other health measurements. The monitor has a series of buttons, that can be set by and changed by the caregiver. The buttons can be big as needed and give a tactile feed back to the senior citizen. On the buttons are pictures to indicate who or what the senior will connect to. Push a button and the senior citizen is connected with a family member through Skype or a video plays that the caregiver has chosen for the senior citizen, the possibilities are endless.

The Grandcare system is set up to prevent malware and virus, and unwanted communication to the senior citizen. It is simple to use and no computer knowledge is necessary by the senior citizen. Grandcare has distributors and dealers that install the system.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News. and Esbjorn Larsen of MrNetCast.com.

Watch the video Here

NOTE – – The Current Activity & Wellness Sensors Available from GrandCare Systems are here
Tele-Wellness Sensors Currently Available for Retail: Blood Pressure, Weight Scale, Medication Dispenser. (Glucometer & Pulse Oximeter available pending FDA Approval)


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:

Age in Place : A Watchful Eye

GrandCare Systems grants independence to the elderly and peace of mind to caregivers.

Demographics are changing. The elderly are growing as a group, and many of them want to maintain independence and stay in their homes. GrandCare System’s range of products creates a communication and monitoring path for the elderly, allowing them to retain their independent lifestyle.

Technology serves the elderly by using simple-to-operate touch screens that create a care triangle among seniors, families and caregivers. This allows the elderly to communicate with their family, doctors and even a monitoring company. In addition, it gives the elderly several layers of monitoring that assure family and friends that the senior citizen is safe and secure in their environment.
Ken Kerr, CEO of Home Controls, the nationwide distributor for GrandCare Systems, believes in the opportunity custom installers have with GrandCare Systems products.
“The elderly want to stay where they are and not go into assisted living. This demand is increasing as the baby boomer population ages. The time has come to meet this demand and technology has met the demand through GrandCare Systems products.”
The value proposition, as Kerr explains it, is that the family can constantly monitor the activities of their loved one. From making sure that they don’t leave their home unexpectedly through the use of door monitors, to monitoring blood pressure and other measureable health parameters, to offering a communication system via the touch panel, the elderly remain in contact with family members and health care providers.
Additionally, sensors can be installed to show whether a pill draw has been opened on time or if a bed has been slept in by using pressure-sensitive monitoring pads on the bed…All of this monitoring is pre-programmed so the elderly person does not need to be a technology expert to operate.
The touch screen can be programmed to have as many or as few buttons on the screen as needed for easy operation. The elderly person does not have to interact with the system at all, but if they are able, it can be the center for e-mail, Web browsing or any communication possible via the Internet. The system even has a button on the screen for getting the local weather.
Asking Kerr about the benefits of selling GrandCare for the typically A/V installer, he talked about the ease of installation and the remote programming of the system. Typically, it takes about half day to install, and most of the system uses wireless communication.

The recurring revenue stream from monitoring is an important part of the value proposition for the dealer. Although Kerr does not recommend a specific price for (monthly maintenance fee), he did mention that many dealers charge from $49.95 to $79.95 per month depending on the level of service included in the price.
Kerr’s company, Home Controls, is a national distributor. and by representing over 110 manufacturers, he emphasized that he understands what the dealer needs to be successful with GrandCare products. Education and training are fundamental, but they also need help with the marketing side. Kerr realizes that for dealers to be successful, they need to get the word out about this product range.
GrandCare products are selling to a market that is growing, working with families who want to take care of their loved ones. -end

Hello and thanks to Custom Retailer Magazine for reporting on the Aging Tsunami and enabling technologies like the GrandCare System! I wanted to make a few clarifications: Ken Kerr’s company is called Home Controls (www.homecontrols.com). Also, there is no monitoring center officially involved with the GrandCare System. The system is a tool that authorized family & care providers can use to remotely access activity of daily living & tele-wellness information. They can use that info to set up automated notifications (someone didn’t take meds, left the house during the night, excessive weight gain, etc).

The monthly fee involves 24-7 online user access, full installation/maintenance support, automated software updates, automated GrandCare email, text, phone alerts to designated Care-partners.

Thanks so much to Ken Kerr from Home Controls & Custom Retailer Magazine for spreading the word on the ever-growing aging & technology industry. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fD0qdEZd1PM

To find a dealer near you: www.grandcare.com
The GrandCare Team!

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?’ ”