Last month there was a National Caregiving Conference in Chicago. Portions of the conference were broadcast over the web. Brain Support Network volunteer Denise Dagan watched the panel on technology, and shared her notes. The panel was a presentation by four technology developers who presented a number of products — both software apps and hardware (cameras, sensors, pill dispensors, etc.) — to help caregivers do the best for care recipients.
Here are a few of the technology items described:
* MedMinder.com: pill dispenser
* HawkCam: camera with speaker so you can monitor visually
* OnKol.net: health alarm in homes without Internet
* Smokey: a mobile app that detects when a smoke alarm is going off
* Reminder Rosie: a service from parentgiving.com
* Great Call: phone provider (greatcall.com) has senior focused phone with limited buttons
* Mother – a product by Sen.se (sen.se) that connects to your wifi as a hub with peanut-shaped sensors around the home to detect motion, heat, etc.
See Denise’s notes below.
Notes by Denise Dagan, Brain Support Network Volunteer
Technology Panel at 2017 National Caregiving Conference
Panelists: Claudia Cook, Carl Hirschman, Andrew Koch and Jackie Schwabe
Moderator: Denise Brown
November 10, 2017
Claudia Cook kicked off the panel by talking about calling your family member to see how they are doing and hearing, “Fine.” There is technology to provide more information than ‘fine.’
There are not enough caregivers for the number of those needing assistance now, and the elderly population is aging, so the imbalance is only growing.
Caregivers do want technology to assist with their work but the barriers include cost, learning curve, and hassle factor. Claudia has created a resource guide to what’s out there and how simple it can be to include some technology into your caregiving. Claudia implemented some technology for her aunt with Parkinson’s to test them.
Pills & Beyond + MedMinder.com = Better Medication Management. The compartment with the pills they need to take now blinks, alarms and reports if/when pills are removed from the compartment.
HawkCam: camera with speaker so you can monitor visually. $129 on Amazon.
LivHOME (livhome.com), a home care agency, has implemented Connect Advisor to do a video call with the client to reinforce the work of their caregiving staff’s instructions to the client. Connect Advisor is especially helpful with clients who have dementia, but can be used by family caregivers to check in on distant family members, as well. This can also be set up with alarms and reminders, a care journal, photos for social interaction between family members and a calendar.
Carl Hirschman is founder of CareTree (caretree.me). He’s been in tech a long time but developed CareTree when his mom complained about carrying around a heavy 3” binder with all his grandmother’s health information. The format has a similar look and user interface as Facebook since people are already familiar with that. Communication between family members or paid caregivers is centralized because you enter the message into CareTree and CareTree texts and/or emails to the entire care team. Includes a shared calendar, HIPAA security compliant, 1-Click EMR Access to log in to any doctor/cliunic patient portal to read appointment summaries, instant fax messaging to doctors. Care Tree is working on a program for users to make suggestions for future tech development. For critical/crisis events there is a care assessment that builds a care plan for you, recommending best practices, technology, POLST, etc.
CareTreeMarketplace.com is online shopping for medical technology like pathway lighting, TV tray with a built-in grab bar, etc.
Onkol (onkol.net) connects Blue Tooth devices in homes without internet and is a health alarm.
Coro Health (corohealth.com) – app for music therapy for dementia care
iGeriatrics – mobile app by the American Geriatrics Society with all that organizations information at a touch. Search on GeriatricsCareOnline.org.
MyFitnessPal.com – diet restrictions helps you look up food to see if it fits in your special diet
Smokey – an app from CleverLoop (cleverloop.com) that detects a smoke alarm going off in a residence and alarms on your phone.
Jackie Schwabe has been a programmer for many years, not necessarily in healthcare. A family crisis brought her to develop an app to help her find caregiving tech, because you don’t know what you need until you know what you’re looking for.
These tools are good for both Alzheimer’s and autistic people:
Reminder Rosie (parentgiving.com) – verbal reminders for those with memory issues to remember things
Leap Frog – pen that talks
SafetyNet Tracking – GPS to find lost loved ones
Andrew Koch is a current family and professional caregiver. Current client has a progressive motor-neuron disease. Together they did some soldering and wiring of his wheelchair, recently.
4 Promises of Technology:
I will foster independence.
I will help yo make meaning in life.
I will fail you.
You will need a back-up plan.
Two perspectives on Technology:
Handmade – vs – machine made
Earth made – vs – man made
Decomposes – vs – non-biodegradable
I can repair if broken – vs – throw-away society
Makeyourownlifts.com by Dr. G (Andrew’s client with progressive motor-neuron disease). Video at www.youtube..com/watch?v=ocsGwnUXb2k shows Dr. G’s home made lifts to transfer in/out of bed, up/down stairs
Dr. G has also made devices to move blankets on his bed to cover and uncover him.
Denise Brown brought a Jibo robot for the family home that takes photos/video, can be programmed to give reminders. Jibo converses, like Siri. Becoming familiar with technology increases our trust in technology. $899 on Amazon.
QUESTION & ANSWER
“Here’s how I use it” conversation is helpful to learn what’s available or how to solve some caregiving problems with tech.
Q. Father keeps messing up the tech that’s in their home, now. How can I possibly put more tech in their home?! Parents also resist tech in the home because they don’t want to be spied on.
A. Great Call – phone provider has senior focused phone with limited buttons. The help button dials customer support.
Caption Call transcribes phone conversations for the hard of hearing.
Arlo (arlo.com) – battery-powered camera has no buttons to mess up.
Guided Access – an iPhone feature; triple click the home button on your phone gives you restriction to accessing features on your phone for kids/seniors.
Grandpad (grandpad.net) – targeted to seniors with one-button operation (by ComfortKeepers)
Roomba – vacuums for you.
Mother – a product by Sen.se (sen.se) that connects to your wi-fi as a hub with peanut-shaped sensors around the home to detect motion, heat, etc. and send you a text that there could be a problem with the person being monitored.
Put cameras in the home to communicate with grandkids, then use the camera system to check on their well being, too.
Get buy-in on bringing tech into the home by selling it as fostering independence.