Acute shortages of home health aides and nursing assistants are cropping up across the country.
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As I try to make sense out of the aging in place technology market, new companies or companies new to me regularly surface, contacting me or being referred by others. These vendors will make their way into the July vendor update release of the Aging in Place Technology Market Overview. These are all launched (or in beta), but perhaps not well known in the marketplace as they could and should be. Here are some of them you should bookmark -- all valuable solutions for boomers and seniors, improving technology access, personal or medical care:
1) Zume Life. For individuals with chronic diseases or complex health regimens. A combination of a web portal and mobile application, Zume Life offers a means of creating reminders, recording changes, and reviewing and detecting patterns based on the recorded information. The system (web + phone app), is actually a service that acts as a journal, trend analysis, and reminder system combined. The premise is that you, the individual, can take more control of your chronic disease or program -- information you record becomes a powerful way to become healthier. Consumer. Learn more at www.zumelife.com
2) LinkedSenior. An entertainment kiosk for residents of senior living communities that enables seniors to customize and download audio content ("The world by the ear") -- like books, news, music, audio e-mails, talk shows -- to play in their own residences. "Allowing residents to enjoy a variety of audio programs and to develop new activities, skills, and knowledge without leaving the comfort of their own homes, especially when their mobility is hampered." Senior housing. Learn more at www.linkedsenior.com.
3) PointerWare. This is the new name of SoftShell -- software that makes a computer more usable ("computers made simple") -- with large button formats, best used in a touch screen interface (like the Asus EeeTop) for those who cannot use a keyboard, it manages a centralized e-mail system, and enables e-mail of voice recordings as MP3 files. The product can be downloaded for individuals, but it's biggest opportunity is as an 'additional revenue' source for assisted living, nursing homes, and continuing care communities. Senior housing. Learn more at www.pointerware.com
4) Famililink. Like PointerWare and BigScreenLive, Familink is in the category of making computer access easier through a simple interface portal to enable exchange of e-mail, set calendar reminders, keep track of contacts, and view pictures or videos stored on YouTube -- "a fun and easy way to stay in touch." Consumer. Learn more at www.famililink.com.
5) Caresquare. This is a new consumer-facing free site for families looking for references, profiles, and background-checked caregivers and for caregivers to look for work. It is also a site that can be customized as the portal for home care agencies to use in their local geographic area. In addition to background checks, the site also serves as a way to request concierge services for remote health. Learn more at www.caresquare.com.
6) OnTimeRx. This company has been around for a while in the medication reminder space, but always worth thinking about in the context of ranges of complexity to solve this problem. Medication non-compliance is one of those thorny issues that gets lots of talk, many offerings, few of them light-weight (without containers of the pills themselves). This one "the prescription for taking medicine on time") works on smart phones or direct from a web-based portal to your telephone (cell or landline). Consumer. Learn more at www.ontimerx.com.
7) Touchtown. This just-launched provider of 'Touchtown Companion' is used to deliver information from senior living facility staff to residents even when the power is out. Using a "'self-organizing, self-healing wireless mesh network' the system is two-way, using interactive 'base units' placed in each resident's apartment. In the event of an emergency, base units sound an alarm, flash, and deliver detailed instructions." The base units can also support a daily check in with residents, sharing of pictures from family members, and integration with the in-house TV system. Senior housing. Learn more at Touchtown.