RALEIGH, N.C. – K4Connect will deploy its K4Community platform in 10 senior living communities across California that already exist or are being planned by Eskaton, a nonprofit community-based senior living provider. As a result, connected-life technology, including health and wellness products, will be offered to more than 1,000 residents, beginning in early 2018 and throughout the rest of the year. “Eskaton is at the forefront of innovation in many ways and our connected-life platform provides a solid foundation for these innovations, both now and into the future,” said F. Scott Moody, co-founder and CEO of K4Connect, in a statement. “With technology advancing so rapidly today, a plug-and-play platform that can change and expand with the latest innovations is well aligned with Eskaton’s focus on long-term life enrichment initiatives.”
RALEIGH, N.C. – K4Connect has partnered with Kisco Senior Living to deploy the company’s K4Community platform to 16 of Kisco’s senior living communities in California, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia. “As our largest multi-community deployment to date, this partnership with Kisco is a true testament to the positive feedback and benefits that we are seeing with residents and staff throughout all of our deployed locations,” said Scott Moody, co-founder, CEO and chief client advocate of K4Connect, in a statement. The K4Community integrates home automation, connected health and social engagement features, enabling residents to fully manage multiple aspects of their lives. “We see this as a long-term partnership—given K4Community’s ‘plug and play nature’ capabilities and their ability to continue to integrate new features and technologies,” said Terri Novak, COO of Kisco Senior Living, in a statement.
LOS ANGELES – Researchers at the University of Southern California will use a grant from the National Institute on Aging to develop and test a mobile app designed to increase seniors’ levels of physical activity. “We’re looking at a wonderful opportunity for utilizing mobile devices to promote wellness and prevent disease,” said Stacey Schepens Niemiec, assistant professor of research at the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, in a statement. The MovingUp app features messaging that promotes positive attitudes toward aging, a coach that suggests ways to intensify everyday activities and peer-generated suggestions for activities to combat sedentary time. The researchers will beta test the app with research participants and analyze the resulting data to discover what parts of the app are most effective and why. “We intend to truly harness this technology’s life-changing potential for older adults,” said Schepens Niemiec.
RICHFIELD, Minn. – Electronics giant Best Buy is entering the senior home monitoring market with a system of sensors and smart devices that integrate with Amazon Alexa and are aimed at helping people age in place more comfortably.
Currently being tested in the Minneapolis and Denver, Colo., areas, the Assured Living program is designed to learn the senior’s activity and sleep patterns, then send alerts to caregivers when patterns change. The retailer has added the program to its in-store lineup and sees it as a natural extension of its business plan.
“A key priority of Best Buy’s growth strategy is to explore services and solutions that solve real customer needs and help us deepen customer relationships,” said Matthew Smith, external communications specialist for Best Buy.
The Assured Living program costs $389 for a base package of equipment that includes bed and chair sensors, motion sensors, doorbell cameras, smart locks and thermostats that all connect with a senior’s smart phone. Data from the devices is sent to a dashboard and automatic notifications can be set up to alert caregivers. The system can also send medication and other reminders. After the initial purchase, there is a monthly fee of $29. The equipment is installed by Best Buy’s Geek Squad, who then train the senior and caregivers.
Smith said the company is introducing the Assured Living program at a time when many adults are facing decisions about healthy aging.
“The opportunity for this program is supported by our employees and customers who are experiencing the challenges that come with caring for aging parents, along with the growing population of seniors and the need for alternative aging-in-place solutions,” he said.
Best Buy will evaluate feedback from the Minneapolis and Denver markets as they consider expanding the program to other areas in the future.
SAN FRANCISCO – LifeAssist Technologies is partnering with two Canadian health care providers on a pilot program to improve medication adherence for aging adults.
The company was selected by the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation accelerator to participate in the Industry Innovation Partnership Program, which connects health tech companies with health care institutions seeking solutions to challenging issues in aging and brain health.
“It’s kind of a really big deal,” said Val Ornoy, CEO of LifeAssist. “The fact that the government is willing to commit serious dollars to allow research to happen and allow early stage companies like us to partner and work on specific challenges is incredible.”
Through the I2P2 program, Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network and Baycrest Health Sciences will use LifeAssist’s Circura/Rosie medication management and care coordination platform to evaluate and validate medication adherence, efficiency, resource utilization and overall patient satisfaction and engagement.
The program, which will last nine to 12 months, will begin in the next several weeks and test the reminder feature of the platform’s Reminder Rosie voice-controlled device with home care clients and long-term residents of Baycrest, a health care provider and brain research institute. As the program progresses, it will expand to include other features of the Circura platform, which is designed for seniors, caregivers and health care providers.
“To get the data we’re looking for today, we would have to physically go out into the community,” said Tim Pauley, manager of research and knowledge mobilization, TCLHIN. “The LifeAssist platform integrates data from a number of different devices so we can create a comprehensive clinical profile of a patient in a much more efficient way.”
SAN FRANCISCO – LifeAssist Technologies has been selected by the Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation to participate in the Industry Innovation Partnership Program.
I2P2 seeks to connect companies who have innovative aging and brain health products/services that are at an advanced stage of development with health care institutions who are seeking solutions to challenging issues in aging and brain health.
Through the program, LifeAssist will partner with Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network and Baycrest Health Sciences to evaluate and validate medication adherence, efficiency, resource utilization and overall senior care participant’s satisfaction and engagement in health management.
The focus of the trial is on enhancing medication and related compliance for homecare clients and long-term residents.
“Our focus is assisting people during health care transitions and the care coordination that promotes independence,” said Tim Pauley, manager of research and knowledge mobilization, Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network, in a statement. “Our clinical trial with LifeAssist’s medication adherence technology and in-home device is a great opportunity to enhance medication compliance in a home setting.”
LifeAssist competed against companies around the world for the opportunity to participate in the program, which will provide further validation of LifeAssist’s Circura + Rosie medication management and care coordination platform/device.
“We are very happy to be an I2P2 partner with LifeAssist,” says Dr. Anna Ballon, Executive Director, Residential Living and Community Programs, Baycrest. “This I2P2 project will enhance care and connectivity across senior-friendly communities and specialized programs,” said Dr. Anna Ballon, executive director of residential living and community programs at Baycrest Health Sciences, in a statement.
SAN FRANCISCO – Reemo Health has launched a senior care platform that works with Samsung Gear S2/S3 wearable. “We’re seeing an incredible uptick in innovation through collaboration with our partners,” said Eric McCarty, vice president of B2B mobile product marketing, Samsung Electronics America, in a statement. The platform gives senior and care facilities insights into a patient’s key health aspects like activity level, heart rate and sleep quality. It also creates a safety net with a continuous link between seniors and their caregivers. Seniors can easily connect to get help through the smartwatch’s built-in cellular communications, enhancing their safety and mobility. Caregivers also have access to Reemo’s dashboard to monitor trends and activity, so they can react proactively.
By Brian VanHook
It’s a common misconception that individuals over the age of 60 are less interested in technology than those of other generations. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, America’s senior population is engaging with new technology every day and companies around the globe are increasingly enthusiastic about their presence in the marketplace, including the home health industry.
According to a Pew Research Center report, the number of people age 65 and older is projected to triple by mid-century, from 531 million in 2010 to 1.5 billion in 2050. A separate Pew study found that seniors own smart phones and regularly spend time online and engage with social media. Of those seniors who are online, three quarters of them go online daily—sometimes several times a day.
Do these statistics paint a picture of a stereotypical frail granny hobbling past a computer with minimal interest? No. Instead, we see a readily engaged senior interested in connecting to society through technology. There’s a real and valid reason why home health companies are innovating new products, reimagining exiting ones and creating unique services to help seniors age well.
Home health devices, for example, are incorporating wearable technology that uses voice activation to assist with senior safety. When individuals wearing the technology fall below a certain height, the device registers it as a fall and a live operator speaks directly to the individual. Other companies have developed automated, verbal reminders for medications. What’s more is that doctors around the nation are encouraging patients to use technology through online portals. A member of my own family was able to take a trip shortly after experiencing a heart attack all because of a WiFi device communicating with his heart. There’s no need to stay in town when a doctor can monitor a patient remotely, right? A deep dive into a senior’s involvement with technology reveals that, to them, technology equals freedom.
But what tech-based solutions exist when an individual does become home-bound or requires some level of assistance in the home? As we watch America’s massive Baby Boomer population age, a large percentage wants to retain that freedom. They hope to age in place and want—or need—to gain control of their own health care.
People, like technology, are ever-changing—always presenting new challenges, exposing their glitches and reinventing what once was the standard.
Brian VanHook is the co-founder and CEO of Home Care Assist, a compatibility matching service for in-home care. The online service connects care seekers with in-home based on personality and skill sets for mutual compatibility.
‘We really need to be exactly what people want’
AUSTIN, Texas – It’s been a long road to market for UnaliWear, maker of the Kanega voice-controlled watch, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter as the company looks to launch the device in 2017.
“We hope to be in production in the fourth quarter this year,” said JeanAnne Booth, CEO and founder of UnaliWear.
A $100,000 Kickstarter campaign launched in 2015 originally called for the device to be available last year, but Booth wanted to be sure the Kanega was something users needed, so adjustments to the timeline were made along the way.
“We really need to be exactly what people want,” she said.
The Kanega watch is a voice-controlled device that features fall detection, medication reminders, emergency assistance, voice-activated directions and Guide Me Home assistance if the user gets lost. The waterproof device works independently of a home-based system or smartphone and has no buttons to push.
The watch uses artificial intelligence to learn the wearer’s lifestyle, and that information is updated each night.
The company has spent the past five months deep into a user experience test on the latest version of the device. Users included about 100 people across the country ages 23 to 97 with Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gherig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, Down’s Syndrome, blindness, disabled veterans and seniors.
Booth said the user experience test was invaluable to the company, as it brought to light some issues only a user would experience like battery charging and instruction language.
“The user experience test was fantastic—we knew it was the right thing to do,” she said.
Booth said UnaliWear will look to add biometrics to the Kanega device in the future.
“We want to wait on the biometrics until we have enough money to get through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration process independently, without having to rely on investors,” she said.
The company is continuing with a smaller user experience test on the final production version over the coming weeks.
STOCKHOLM – Aifloo has raised $6 million to continue development of its artificial intelligence-powered smart wristband for seniors. “With this investment and support, we’re looking forward to growing the team and developing our product further,” said Michael Collaros, CEO and co-founder of Aifloo, in a statement. The wristband uses sensors and AI to monitor user behavior and lets caregivers know of any potential problems. “Using cutting-edge AI, we’ve developed a system that learns and analyses human behaviours to increase people’s safety and help caregivers provide help where it’s needed the most,” said Collaros.