Tag Archive for: Tom Ardolf

Nick McLain, CEDIA – On Digital Home Health

Nick McLain has recently written a great article on entering the digital home health field. He covers not only the basic demographics and applications, but takes a moment to point out the challenges and need for integrators to really understand the health care industry.  He used industry experts: Laurie Orlov (Age in Place Technology Watch), GrandCare’s own, Laura Mitchell, and GrandCare partner, Tom Ardolf of Cybermation .

“This is more about understanding home health care and its industry than it is about understanding the technology, which most integrators can get pretty easily.” – Ardolf

Digital Home Health Continues Its Ascent –
But Is It Viable for the CE Industry?

Posted on October 25, 2012 by Nick McLain

Ed Thelen, 69, of Cold Spring is able to live in his apartment with the help of an integrated monitoring system marketed locally by Cybermation.
Jason Wachter, jwachter@stcloudtimes.com

“You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger endorser of digital home health technology than Ed Thelen of Cold Spring, Minn.

That’s not how the 70-year-old originally felt when his daughter, who also acts as his caregiver, proposed getting such a system a year ago. “My first reaction was, ‘I don’t need anything like that,’” he says. “But she talked me into it, and I’m really glad she did. It’s absolutely wonderful.”

Thelen, who has Parkinson’s and diabetes, records his blood pressure and weight, and the results are sent to his doctor. The unit he uses, a Grandcare System, also has Skype capabilities so that Thelen can talk to and see his relatives, and in particular his grandchildren, often. “I can see them all the time now,” he says. “It helps me keep in close contact with everybody.”

Telehealth, digital home health, remote monitoring, aging in place, e-health, m-health — whatever you want to call it, the industry, which aims to deliver health care remotely through technology, is a burgeoning one. Laurie Orlov, an industry analyst and founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch, puts the size of the digital home health care industry at approximately $6-7 billion — and growing.”

Laura Mitchell, vice president of business development for Grandcare Systems, says many of her dealers lower the initial upfront cost of the equipment and instead spread it out over monthly fees. After the equipment is paid for, the monthly fees are pure profit.

Ardolf started offering digital home health products and services in 2010. After two years, he is so satisfied with it that he sold the low-voltage electronic portion of his business, and now Cybermation focuses exclusively on digital home health.

Read more at www.cedia.net/blog

GrandCare featured in Kare 11 News: “New technology keeping aging relatives in their homes longer”

The GrandCare System was featured on Kare 11 News of Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota.

The news story featured the GrandCare user, Ed Thelen, and how he uses the system as a comprehensive solution for his various health conditions and social connectivity.

Written by: Renee Tessman

Full story and video found HERE

Kare 11 News Station

Ed Thelen, GrandCare User

COLD SPRING, Minn. – New technology is making it easier for the elderly to live independently. It’s called GrandCare. Not only does the program monitor health and medication, it also allows the elderly to stay in communication with caregivers and loved ones.In his apartment in Cold Spring, Ed Thelen now has this magic window to a healthier world. As he touched a picture of a camera on his GrandCare touch screen he said, “My favorite things is merely touching this little thing and having all these beautiful people available to me.”

He’s talking about being able to talk to his three kids and six grandkids through a simple touch screen version of Skype. He said it has been beneficial to his emotional health.

He said, “This system has kind of re-birthed me, so to speak.”

Thelen, who battles Parkinson’s, Diabetes and depression, now sees family who live a minimum of an hour away almost every day.

His grandson, John Volkers, said, “It means a lot to me because I barely get to see my grandpa a lot in real life.”

His family can also see if he’s taking care of himself.

His daughter, Kerry Volkers, said it’s, “Nice to be able to make sure that he’s OK. And since we don’t get to go see him as often, it feels like he’s part of our life on a daily basis.”

GrandCare helps families remotely monitor daily activities with sensors that send notifications when pills are taken or when a door is opened. Thelen said, “I can take my blood pressure and that automatically goes onto the system. I can take my glucose.”

Brain waves can be monitored for those who have seizures. Motion sensors can detect movement for those who may wander at night. All of it can be monitored remotely by all caregivers, including family and health care professionals.

Deborah Delaney is with Sarah Care, a local home health care service that helped Thelen get the GrandCare system.

Delaney said GrandCare truly relieves the stress on caregivers who want to keep their loved one in their own home. She said, “Many people are working all the time and have to run home how do I know that dad’s ok during the day now they can communicate all day long and it’s just a peace of mind for people.”

And Tom Ardolf of Cybermation which installs GrandCare technology said GrandCare costs much less than the alternative.

Ardolf said, “Literally the cost of this system, in general, is less than one month of an assisted care facility.”

With the help of an iPad camera, GrandCare also allows Thelen to watch his grandson play basketball live this past weekend.

Thelen said, “When he came by the bench where my daughter was sitting he looked in the camera and he says, ‘Hi grandpa!'”

Thelen said he has a bad short term memory, so the GrandCare reminders to take his meds and to eat healthy for his diabetes are invaluable. He believes he is not only healthier physically, but emotionally too.

Story from: kare11.com

Images from: kare11.com

Full article: HERE

‘It’s a gift from God’: Cybermation tele-health venture makes it easier to monitor activity, medications

Written by Kevin Allenspach
12:40 AM, Dec. 11, 2011

St. Cloud Times – www.sctimes.com

See a video of GrandCare Client, Ed Thelen, discussing why the GrandCare System works for him and how it has been a lifesaver and lifted his spirits! http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid950566939001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAACbynFGE~,sf-WXU5Jxxvzf0yBwv5ezSaUvcZFydJt&bctid=1320587839001

COLD SPRING — After complications from shoulder surgery made it difficult for 69-year-old Ed Thelen to sleep in a bed at night, he’s taken to dozing in a giant easy chair in the living room of his third-floor home at John Paul Apartments. That discomfort isn’t his only concern. He also has a pacemaker, battles diabetes, struggles with Parkinson’s disease and is in a constant fight against obesity and depression. His biggest worry, though, is whether he’ll be able to keep a new device that has revolutionized his life.

As Thelen relates how he came to this place after 45 years of moving around the region as an insurance underwriter, something that looks like a flat-screen TV chirps next to his chair. He reaches over, touches a prompt, and within seconds is talking with his daughter via Skype.

After their conversation, he shows a visitor how the screen also notifies him if he has letters, pictures or video sent from one of his six grandchildren. He calls up his blood-pressure readings from the past month, which he can provide directly to his doctor, and demonstrates how it prompts him to take his pills — morning, noon and night — from a dispenser in the kitchen.

Ed Thelen, 69, of Cold Spring is able to live in his apartment with the help of an integrated monitoring system marketed locally by Cybermation. With the system, Thelen and others can monitor his health and activities and communicate with him through a touch screen he has in his living room. Jason Wachter, jwachter@stcloudtimes.com

“It’s phenomenal,” Thelen said with a hint of emotion behind his eyes. “If I forget to take my medication, it sends a signal and the phone rings. A voice says (with a nasal twang) ‘Mr. Thelen, you haven’t taken your medication.’ With all the things it does, to me it’s a gift from God.”

It is a GrandCare System, a product of a company in West Bend, Wis., that is being marketed locally for the first time by Cybermation, a Waite Park-based business that for 15 years was primarily known for home entertainment and security systems. Thelen has been working with it for about three weeks.

“We’ve mostly been about big boys toys,” Cybermation President Tom Ardolf said. “Commercial and residential people come to us and spend tens of thousands of dollars on their home theater, or they bring us a basket of remotes and ask us to create one that will run everything in their house. But late last year I got a call from a distributor that had known us for 10 years. They’d started a tele-health venture. I just wanted to ask the guy if we could go fishing. He said, ‘You really ought to look into this.’ ’’

Soon after he did, Ardolf decided to launch CyberHealth, a new division of Cybermation. His company is one of more than 300 authorized installers for the GrandCare System in the U.S. and Canada. Four are in Minnesota, with the other three in the Twin Cities metro area.

He said he’s working with an unnamed rural health care provider to distribute the GrandCare System on a wider scale. And, with baby boomers entering retirement and becoming elderly, remote monitoring is expected to be a $9.3 billion industry by 2014.

“My mom passed in 2007, and I often think of how my life, my mom’s life and that of my sisters would’ve been different if we’d had something like this,” Ardolf said.

Family connections

Gladys Ardolf lived in Maple Lake and was 78 when she died of complications from dystonia, a movement disorder that causes muscles to contract and spasm involuntarily. For the last six to eight years of her life, two of Tom Ardolf’s three sisters living in the area made daily — sometimes twice-daily — visits to make sure she was all right.

“The average caregiver puts in 24 hours a week — that’s a significant part-time job,” said Ardolf, 50. “People are willing to do it, especially when it’s their mom or their dad. But around year one or two, there’s invariably some resentment about ‘Why doesn’t this sibling who lives far away do something to help?’ If we’d had one of these systems, I could’ve played a role in her care — even though I’m 40 miles away.”

While the screen is in the user’s home, like the one next to Thelen’s easy chair, it provides a window for family members, caregivers and physicians to monitor the user’s health and activities.

“Just by placing sensors around my mom’s home, I could’ve had a call or text sent to my phone if she didn’t get up between 6 and 9 a.m.,” Ardolf said. “I would’ve known if she was restless in bed, went to the bathroom or didn’t take a shower. We could’ve put a magnet on the microwave that would’ve told us if she’d had coffee in the morning. It’s little things like that which can give you peace of mind — or alert you to trouble if they don’t happen.”

Read more

LA Home Care Makes An Impact on the Lives of Area Residents With Technology (GRANDCARE SYSTEMS)

View the article in full from Benton County, MN News

LA Home Care, a home care provider, located in Sauk Rapids, is making an impact on area residents through use of The GrandCare System, a combination of Smart Home Technologies, Activities of Daily Living monitoring, Internet communications and Tele-Wellness, which supports an entire network of caregivers providing greater security and less social isolation.

Last fall, after partnering with Cybermation, Inc located in Waite Park, LA Home Care www.mylahomecare.com received $16,000 in funding from the Living Connected in Benton County Steering Committeewww.bentoncountyconnected.org to help make this technology available to area residents.

“Technology has been such a growing force in our health care system. Now is the time to make the technology affordable, easy to understand and easy to use for all of us,” said Leslie Ann, owner of LA Home Care. “The GrandCare System, I believe, has done just that.”

This technology, which is currently in five homes, serves three main purposes:

  1. Assists seniors to stay in their homes longer. Client’s are more productive and able to remain connected to community and family through favorite websites set up by the client and caregiver as well as SKYPE, a scrolling alert/message system, brain bending exercises and more.
  2. Enables caregivers to assess a client’s abilities and helps monitor activities of daily living to keep them safe. They are able to accommodate a client’s needs and coordinate with doctors. This technology provides a number of wellness devices to fill the need of many different health issues including a blood pressure device, a weight scale, and a pill dispenser which all use a wireless bluetooth device to record results in the computer and route them directly to a nurse or other care provider.
  3. Gives family members peace of mind. Family members and caregivers are able to remotely upload pictures and send messages in real time, post daily reminders, create calendar appointments and events for the client. Family members are able to monitor their loved ones health concerns and stay in touch with caregivers.

LA Home Care cites Dorothy O. as an example of someone who is benefiting from this technology and who has been able to stay in her home longer. Without this technology Dorothy O. would likely be in an assisted living facility. “We have used Skype to see her newest great-grandchild in Hawaii,” says Leslie Ann. “She has some medical issues that have greatly improved while using the GrandCare system. She likes the fact that if she is in need of a nurse she only has to push a button and I would receive a message saying she needed help. Of course for emergencies she continues to have the Lifeline pendant. I can monitor all movement in the apartment and that can be reassuring to family members who are only hearing part of the issue over the phone. Family members can also log into Dorothy’s computer and see the same information that I do. This makes a well rounded caring atmosphere.”

For more information about LA Home Care, Leslie Ann or this technology visitwww.mylahomecare.com or call 320-828-0802.

Living Connected in Benton County www.bentoncountyconnected.org is a project partner in the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities Initiative (MIRC). MIRC is a coalition of 19 statewide partners and 11 demonstration communities funded in large part through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant. The work of the coalition focuses on bringing the full promise of broadband technologies to rural Minnesota communities, businesses and people. Blandin Foundation serves as the project administrator. More about MIRC is available at www.blandinfoundation.org.

Read the article <a href = “http://www.co.benton.mn.us/News_Item.php?NewsID=59“> HERE </a>

CE Pro: Why Home Health Technology Will Explode in 2011

CE Pro: Why Home Health Technology Will Explode in 2011

In the January 2011 issue, the editors of CE Pro feature the Five Technology Opportunities for CE Pros. Once again, aging in place/home health technology made the list at number three and GrandCare is featured front and center as the industry leader. Here is what Julie Jacobson – a recent guest speaker on GrandCare’s weekly webinar – writes:

We’ve hailed the coming of home health technology for several years now, but we really believe CE pros will embrace the market in 2011 and beyond. That’s when we reach a critical point in terms of the aging population, financially burdened healthcare system, and emergence of exciting technologies for seniors and their caretakers.

That’s also when many CE pros will have exhausted their growth options in traditional home systems integration.

The opportunities in the health technology sector are plentiful as are the terms you may hear to describe them: telehealth, telemedicine, telewellness, connected health, e-health, mHealth (as in mobile), aging in place, digital health and more.

They also encompass a number of technologies and markets, so it is difficult to pin down the numbers. At the very least, all of the players agree that the market – whatever you call it – is growing. Research firm InMedica predicts that the “telehealth” market will grow 55 percent (CAGR) per year in the next five years.

Of the disparate health technology sectors, CE Pro believes the best opportunity for residential integrators is to stick with their core competencies: security, home control and communications.

The bustling health tech pavilions last year at the Electronic House Expo and CEDIA Expo provided a good overview of the opportunities for integrators:

Whole-house care: Monitoring seniors via sensors, and sending alerts to loved ones and caretakers.

Communications: Establishing videoconferencing, email and telecommunications between the client and family, friends and health professionals.

Environment: Creating well-lit, appropriately cooled/heated, safe and secure, and otherwise comfortable environments for the elderly.

In the Field
Cybermation, based in Waite Park, Minn., is a typical home systems integration firm. Like many CE pros, the company thrived during the home construction boom and continues to enjoy a strong relationship with homebuilders, but that doesn’t help these days.

In his quest to find new markets for Cybermation’s mid- to high-end integration services, CEO Tom Ardolf explored commercial installations, as well as mass-market opportunities. In the end, he decided to address the aging population, and he is nowdoing that with systems from Grandcare that provide monitoring, communications and messaging for the elderly.

Deciding on a product line was the easy part for Cybermation, as it is for many integrators exploring the seniors market. The hard part is learning the industry protocol and finding customers and partners, including third-party payers.

“I spent months trying to figure out how home healthcare agencies work,” Ardolf says. “There’s a humongous government bureaucracy. It’s tricky trying to figure out who the gatekeepers are.”

The effort is paying off. Cybermation has tapped funds and grants from private and county agencies, and the company is working with a local home healthcare agency (HCA) to offer Grandcare solutions to seniors.

Currently, the HCA offers Grandcare free of charge to prospects as a way of attracting new business for its home health services. Cybermation installs the system (paid for by the various grants) for 60 to 90 days. If the client decides to keep the system, they pay only the $50/month fee for system hosting and software maintenance (through Grandcare). Otherwise, Cybermation removes the system so it can be offered to another prospect.

The outlay for the “free” install is nominal, Ardolf says. Currently, Cybermation budgets about one hour of labor for setting up a basic Grandcare system, plus 45 minutes per wireless sensor, but that estimate is extremely conservative.

Work with the one HCA has given Cybermation the confidence and the resolve to invest more heavily in the seniors market. Ardolf is calling all of the local HCAs – for profit and not-for-profit – and educating them about new and forthcoming technologies for seniors.

The word is getting out, and Cybermation has sold a few jobs. A basic system that monitors and responds to “activities for daily living,” or ADL, sells for about $3,000. A blood pressure cuff is included. From there, Cybermation can add touchscreen stations for social and medical interactions, and a host of other medical devices and environmental sensors.

Why Home Health Tech is Hot
Demographics, demographics, demographics. Your customers are growing older … and so are their parents.
CE pros already master most of the technologies demanded by seniors and their caretakers – security, lighting and temperature control, audio, video, communications and remote monitoring, to name a few. Even without learning new technological tricks, you’re ready to go.
The aging in place industry has no other suitable channel for bringing technology into the homes and lives of seniors. They are starting to realize the value of CE pros.
While there is work to be done, reimbursement rates for home health technology are on the rise from both private and government insurers, spurred by the overburdened healthcare system. Grants from various agencies also are available. For reimbursement resources visit click here.
Recurring revenue opportunities abound.

This post was originally written by Home Controls, an authorized GrandCare Distributor: To learn more about how GrandCare can benefit your family, contact Home Controls at 800-266-8765 to find a local authorized dealer near you.