Seniors aging in place face a number of obstacles. Caregivers who cannot be with their loved ones often wonder how day-to-day activities are going without their help. The peace of mind that live-in, round-the-clock care provides is difficult to parallel. However, one company seeks to bridge the communication gap between seniors living alone, remote loved ones, and health care providers: GrandCare.
The following are the four best features of GrandCare.
GrandCare is a closed system which requires some equipment and which may be modified to suit users' needs. At its simplest level, GrandCare consists of a large touch-screen device resembling a television screen. This screen connects seniors with various applications and caregivers. A variety of sensors may be added to monitor an elderly loved one for safety. Additional features, such as video chatting, add to the closeness caregivers may feel to their faraway loved one. Entertainment videos for the senior's pleasure are also available through the device.
Through the easy-to-use touchscreen, seniors and their caregivers can add information or monitor activity levels. Anyone who is added to the Care Portal, including doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, and more, can access important care information. This may include medication dosages and times, physical activity reminders and suggestions, and wellness checks on blood glucose levels, weight, or body temperature. When a remote loved one accesses the Care Portal, he or she is invited to a world of information and can even modify the loved one's touch screen from afar. It is simple to change medication times, for example, or to add a reminder to check blood glucose levels. These notifications will pop up on the elderly person's screen, attracting attention at the appropriate time, making the process easy.
GrandCare wants to empower seniors and their caregivers. To them that means helping seniors maintain independence. Elderly people are typically happier and healthier when aging in place in their own homes. In light of this, GrandCare seeks to make it safer for elderly people to live at home and easier to get help if it is not safe. This is preferable to expensive or stressful facilities. Some seniors have chronic illnesses or need to recover from surgery, but with proper care, they can safely age in place. Using the touchscreen and online Care Portal described above, seniors and their caregivers can monitor health goals, check in with each other, and remember important daily tasks. There need be no fear that the elderly person will forget to take a medication or to prepare a meal. Through GrandCare, caregivers can set up reminders and send video recipes for nutritious meals that perfectly reflect doctors' recommendations. Family members and their elderly loved ones can video chat while both are cooking their own meals, even across the planet. When seniors have their routines and health monitored, plus are able to enjoy social interactions with loved ones, their quality of life improves. They will be safer and happier, making independence a viable option.
GrandCare requires only a connection to the Internet through either a standard Ethernet cable or Wifi connection. Thus, seniors and their caregivers can access it twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. If an elderly loved one is in a different time zone or has different sleeping patterns than caregivers, family members can check on the person throughout the day through a mobile device, tablet, or laptop. This eases the stress of the remote caregiver. Logging in and noting that the person took his or her morning medications, went for a short walk, prepared a meal for lunch, and is now watching cute puppy videos, gives remote caregivers peace of mind. This updating makes it much easier to care from a distance.
When not in use, the GrandCare touch screen becomes a slideshow of personalized content that is easy to change. Family members can upload new photos of grandchildren, playful pets, beautiful flowers or landscapes, or artwork. Seniors who feel connected and stimulated are less likely to feel lonely, isolated, or depressed. Changing pictures and the ability to quickly respond through the touch screen means that elderly people and their loved ones stay in close touch.
The system also allows for customization insofar as monitoring is concerned. This is important to providing the best remote care. Some will benefit from motion sensors to detect untoward movements or falls. Others need wellness monitoring if they are struggling with diabetes, fresh from surgery, or are trying new medications.
Utilizing rapid communication, problems can be addressed as soon as they are noticed. For example, with a security or motion sensor system, a caregiver may notice that the front door has not been opened in a full day. This is a red flag about a senior with a dog or who checks the mail each morning without fail. A quick phone or video call can find the reason for irregularities that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.
GrandCare can make a real difference in the lives of remote caregivers and the seniors they love. Consulting with the elderly person's physician about the viability of aging in place with such a system is a good first step.
GrandCare. Healing in Place: Using Technology to Reduce the Risk of Hospital Readmissions. Grandcare. Available at https://www.grandcare.com/downloads/healinginplace.pdf. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
GrandCare. Home. GrandCare. Available at https://www.grandcare.com/. Retrieved November 19, 2016.