New and notable tech offerings, GCMs and Skype

Last month I mentioned three new caregiving applications that entered the market recently -- this month, a summary list of other interesting products that have entered the market in recent (roughly the past 6) months, presented in alphabetical order. A number of products are expected to announce in the next few months -- expect another post when there's at least six more.

ActiveCare (Activecare.com): Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, ActiveCare offers "The PAL (Personal Assistance Link) handset is part cell phone, GPS enabled geolocator, and emergency fall detector. A single button connects you to a CareSpecialist and the personal assistance provided by the CareCenter" that can also provide concierge-type services as needed. James Dalton, CEO.

AFrameDigital (Aframedigital.com): Based in Reston, VA, AFrame Digital developed its remote monitoring tech through National Institute on Aging and other grants. Recently it has begun commercial distribution of its watch-based product. "AFrame Digital is a research-based technology company delivering intelligent, non-intrusive and secure wireless wellness monitoring and alerting solutions to senior living communities, rehabilitation facilities and in the home." Cindy Crump, CEO.

Ankota Family Connect (Ankota.com): Ankota, Inc, based in Baltimore Maryland, just launched Family Connect, "an innovative software product that enables healthcare professionals and homecare agencies to provide real-time information to family members about their loved ones’ health and well-being, monitoring data such as activity level, state of mental health, daily routines, exercise, overall energy, eating habits and week-to-week changes." Will Hicklen, CEO & co-founder.

BeClose (Beclose.com): Wireless sensor-based activity monitoring from a company based in Vienna, VA. Described as "discreet, easy-to-install, wireless sensors are placed throughout the home to help you monitor your loved one’s daily activities. If the sensors detect unusual motion or inactivity, the information is communicated to a secure online center." The company is privately funded and a technology partner with Alarm.com. Liddy Manson, CEO.

HAPPYNeuron Countdown (Happy-neuron.com):  In May, Mountain View, CA online brain fitness provider, HAPPYneuron, launched "its newest executive function game, Countdown, a math based game that engages working memory, long-term memory, mental imagery, and concentration. HAPPYneuron’s robust game collection delivers significant novelty and variety to the program and makes for more effective adaptive brain training workouts based on an individual's cognitive strengths and weaknesses." Laura Fay, CEO.

IDEAL LIFE and the iPad (Ideallifeonline.com): At last month's ATA event, Toronto-based IDEAL LIFE’s wireless remote health and wellness monitoring system unveiled its "universal mobile connectivity through compatibility with communication brands from Apple (including iPads) and AT&T to Verizon, Virgin Mobile and US Cellular." Harvey Goldberg, Co-Founder and CEO.

Lifeline with Auto Alert (Lifelinesys.com): In March, Andover, MA Philips Lifeline, provider of the Lifeline personal emergency response service (PERS), announced its augmented offering, Lifeline with Auto Alert, designed to "automatically place a call for help if it detects a fall and you're unable to push the button yourself." Eric Silfen, Chief Medical Officer.

Mobile Help: (Mobilehelpsys.com) Launched in January, Boca Raton, FL startup offered Mobile Help, that "integrates cellular and GPS technology to provide medical monitoring services and location tracking for emergency assistance to the user as well as notification and tracking for the caregiver."  Elias Janetis, Founder and CEO.

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Finally, a thought about GCMs and technology.  Last week the Times New Old Age blog featured an interesting mention of a doctor consultation with a 100-year-old woman -- and her grandson, attending through Skype video, on a laptop provided by the accompanying geriatric care manager. Yeah, that's right, the GCM. It was a first for the doctor (no early adopter there), and no doubt it was a first for the patient and her grandson. The GCM is not identified by name, only her company, SeniorBridge.

Now here is the remarkable part from the post: "SeniorBridge, a national geriatric care management chain, has trained its care managers to connect patients and families with laptops and Skype, not only during doctors’ visits but for special events like birthday parties or just for everyday contact." Maybe it's just me, but this is the first time I have heard about an organization of GCMs considering a video interaction with families important enough to define a process and train care managers accordingly.  Meanwhile, an entire issue of NAPGCM's Journal of Geriatric Care Management, edited by GCM Julie Menack, was devoted recently to technology (including an article by yours truly). I think we've turned a corner -- vendors take note.

 

 

 

Eldersync also launched

Another company in the Eldercare space, Eldersync.com, also launched this month:

http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2010/06/07/hacker-with-former-slashdot-tie...

We are in beta. In short, we hope to be a dashboard for everyone in an aging person's life: professional caregivers manage schedules and time tracking, family members and caregivers can leave notes and communicate (securely) with just about any device, home health devices can sync to the site, doctors and professionals can share information. We hope to be an ecosystem for coordination of care.

Making Skype Easy For Seniors

Kudos to SeniorBridge for "getting" how valuable it can be to link patients with families. As you point out, they may be a rare breed but judging by some of the responses to the original post, families certainly seem to understand the benefits. Comments like, "Once you can include your older loved one in the digital family loop, only then can you really provide the care and support they need" and ". . . wonderful for young/ old ( 65-85 ) aging family members to visit children and grandchildren." say it all.

One comment that stood out was offered by DebbieC who expressed concern about how easy it would be for someone to setup and use Skype. She's right - for some, this may be an issue. We recently added videophone capability with Skype technology to our PointerWare software for seniors. With just two clicks of the mouse (or taps of the touchscreen) an elder can be talking to their grandkids.

Karen Hamilton
www.PointerWare.com

Pointerware Software

Karen,
My name is Ginger Smith, and I recently launched a company in Nashville to help older adults travel to and from medical appointments. One of the additional services I would like to provide is connecting my passengers with their families. I thought of a Skype-like product several months back, and was happy to hear through this blog entry that I was at least headed in the right direction in terms of my thought-process. It was actually the passengers who suggested such a service when I asked what else I could do for them. Can you tell me more about Pointerware? I spoke to the company founder via email, yet it was some time ago. Thanks for all you do...

Laurie, I have been researching blogs for two days now and I love this blog - excellent and so helpful. Thank you for sharing your expertise and great insights.

Connecting Around PointerWare

Hi Ginger

Thanks for your comment. In a nutshell, PointerWare is a very simple to use computer interface that makes it easy for older individuals who have no (or limited) experience with computers to get online and connect with family, friends and the wider world. It's also great for people who have physical or cognitive limitations that make using traditional computer systems difficult. In addition to an easy video-phone using Skype technology, PointerWare allows people to send and receive email, view photos, play brain fitness games and surf the Internet.

I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you have. I'll try to get in touch with you via your website but in the meantime, feel free to email me at karen@pointerware.com.

And thank you Laurie for making the connection!

Karen

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