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Smart High-Tech Solutions for Aging in Place | Best of ECT News

This story was initially printed on Aug. 11, 2018, and is dropped at you at this time as a part of our Best of ECT News collection.

The name got here in lower than an hour earlier than the eight a.m. shift was scheduled to begin: A household emergency meant the common caregiver for an aged Dana Point, California, shopper could not make her shift that day, so a alternative caregiver was wanted ASAP.

Homewatch CareGivers of San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) needed to shortly discover and ship a substitute from its pool of licensed, skilled and security-bonded caregivers.

Once confirmed to cowl the shift, the substitute caregiver tapped into the Homewatch CareGivers “Care+” cellular system to entry the shopper’s medical data, corresponding to shopper care plan and schedules for meals, drugs, blood stress monitoring, physician visits and extra.

In the cellular app, the caregiver was capable of examine in for the shift, affirm timesheet particulars, and procure driving instructions to the shopper’s home.

At the tip of the eight-hour workday, the caregiver used the cellular app to seize end-of-shift notes and formally try of the work interval that had been scheduled so hurriedly early that morning. All the day’s client-related data and exercise have been recorded within the Care+ database for future reference.

Connecting With Caregivers

Homewatch CareGivers of San Juan Capistrano started operations in 2015 as a franchised home care supplier in South Orange County, California, a part of the worldwide
Homewatch CareGivers franchise community.

Homewatch CareGivers of San Juan Capistrano employs 50 to 75 full- and part-time caregivers (95 % feminine) serving roughly 40 purchasers in South Orange County. The company pursues a business mannequin based mostly on enabling purchasers to remain of their properties — wherever home could also be — and permitting households to take care of a balanced dwelling routine by offering the care wanted for family members when members of the family cannot be out there.

Applying expertise options to eldercare wants is one thing Brad Larsen, co-owner of Homewatch CareGivers of San Juan Capistrano, strongly advocates. He works within the healthcare business that makes use of the Internet in some ways to supply complete, reasonably priced companies to an getting old U.S. inhabitants, a part of a rising pattern in “digital care” for the aged.

However, Larsen additionally likes to emphasise the human contact.

“Technology is great for filling in the gaps, he told TechNewsWorld, “however a heat, loving relationship between shopper and caregiver is what’s actually most vital.”

Internet, GPS and More

The U.S. at the moment has a inhabitants of 51 million residents age 65 and older, based on
Index Mundi and the CIA Factbook. That quantity is predicted to double by 2060.

Meeting the calls for of a quickly getting old U.S. inhabitants has given rise to a multibillion-dollar home care business serving thousands and thousands of Americans who rent private-duty home care companies and their paid caregivers to supply private take care of purchasers.

The introduction of applied sciences just like the software program platform that saved the day for the aged Dana Point lady is only one of a number of main developments — for instance, fewer nursing properties, a nursing scarcity, digital senior care, home automation — at the moment reworking the eldercare business.

At the forefront of those business developments is the thought of “Aging in Place,” outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.”

The expertise to make Aging in Place potential depends extensively on the Internet, plus a slew of good units and apps corresponding to GPS location monitoring on smartphones and tablets, distant monitoring of well being situations, medical alert techniques, voice-activation devices and extra.

Some examples:

Care Coordination
CaringBridge is a care-sharing device primarily used throughout a well being disaster. Family and mates go online to get progress studies and join assignments. The iPhone and iPad app synchronizes to a web site.

Medication Management Devices and Systems — On common, somebody age 65-plus takes 5 medicines a day, based on AARP. Medication techniques assist getting old mother and father keep on monitor — and let members of the family learn about any disruptions.
CareZone is a free app that customers set to buzz the telephone when it is time to take capsules. Users take a photograph of a capsule bottle and add it, and the app transcribes the label and provides it to a medicine checklist.
MedMinder is a flashing, beeping digital capsule dispenser with messages prerecorded in a member of the family’s voice. Reminder Rosie, the Personal Voice Reminder, encompasses a speaking clock.

Social Engagement Tools
grandCARE makes use of giant touchscreens to allow residents at home or in long-term care to have video chats with household, get the news, play video games, go to web sites and extra.

Other options: treatment prompts, sensor monitoring, and telehealth system recording (e.g., glucose, pulse, weight, and many others.). Caregivers can hook up with a web site portal from any Web-connected system.

GeriJoy, usually utilized by individuals with delicate to reasonable Alzheimer’s, encompasses a touchscreen pill that “talks.” Tap the display screen and a snoozing “virtual pet” (canine or cat) “wakes up,” and interactive chatting begins.

A distant skilled employees operates and speaks by means of the display screen. Staffers know every shopper’s pursuits and would possibly ask educated private questions. Family can inform distant employees about issues taking place on any given day.

S.O.S. Safety Devices — Personal emergency response techniques (PERS) corresponding to medic alert-like pendants and wristbands have been getting extra refined. These units could be pressed throughout an emergency to alert members of the family and professionals about any issues or hassle.

Some firms, like
GreatCall and
CellHelp, have cellular PERS that work wherever, not simply in a shopper’s home — and so they embrace fall detection. If the PERS senses a fall, it alerts a name heart even when the consumer hasn’t pressed the button.

Transformational Healthcare Trends

The most vital demographic pattern within the U.S. — and worldwide, for that matter — is that child boomers have grown outdated.

According to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), a complete of 76 million births occurred within the U.S. from 1946 to 1964, often thought of the “baby boom” a long time.

Before millennials outnumbered them, child boomers have been the most important technology in American historical past. Roughly 10,000 child boomers now flip 65 day by day, and about 10,000 extra will cross that threshold day by day by means of 2029.

The key query for boomers: Whom can they belief to assist them with the getting old course of?

Recent developments:

Nursing Homes Decreasing in Number — At the identical time that the variety of older Americans has been growing quickly, the variety of U.S. nursing properties has been declining.

The complete variety of nursing properties within the U.S. decreased by 9 % from 2000 to 2009, based on CNBC. There have been 15,640 nursing properties with a reported 1.7 million licensed beds serving a senior inhabitants of greater than 45 million in 2014.

The state of California had the best variety of nursing properties of any U.S. state in 2015, with 1,219 services to serve a state inhabitants of 5.three million adults age 65 and above.

National Nursing Shortage Increasing — There definitely will not be sufficient nurses out there to care for all of the aged.

America’s three million nurses make up the most important phase of the healthcare workforce within the U.S., and nursing is at the moment one of many fastest-growing occupations within the nation.

Despite that progress, demand has been outpacing provide. There can be 1.2 million vacancies for registered nurses between 2018 and 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics as forecast.

By 2025, the shortfall is predicted to be “more than twice as large as any nurse shortage experienced since the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in the mid-1960s,” a workforce of Vanderbilt University nursing researchers wrote in a 2009 paper on the difficulty.

Caregiving Options Increasingly Inadequate — Caregiving within the U.S. is “at best patchy and at worst dangerous,” reported the
Financial Times final 12 months.

The U.S. aged care business was dominated by greater than 25,000 non-public teams, lots of them small “mom and pop” operators that paid the federal minimal wage of US$7.25 an hour to the roughly 2.2 million individuals who labored as caregivers, based on the paper.

In addition to at-home care, eldercare choices embrace private and non-private third-party companies corresponding to grownup daycare facilities, assisted dwelling communities, and nursing properties. All of them fluctuate by way of companies supplied (and related prices), not simply from state to state, but in addition from metropolis to metropolis inside every state.

Adult day applications supplied at drop-in facilities usually can be found on weekdays throughout daytime hours. Assisted dwelling services supply community-like settings for individuals who not dwell can independently with out assist. Nursing properties supply non-public rooms and semi-private rooms at totally different value ranges, with extra expenses for numerous companies, together with meals.

No Place Like Home

Enter “Aging in Place” and the at-home eldercare business with professionally skilled caregivers.

Because of the fragmented nature of the home care business, it’s tough to place a greenback worth on its measurement, though funding financial institution Harris Williams estimates that the business was price $40 billion in 2016 and can develop to virtually $54 billion by 2019.

An optimum home care program options skilled, skilled and supervised in-home caregivers offering customized, one-to-one social, bodily and cognitive assist care and help with Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs.

Most adults would favor to stay of their home of alternative for so long as potential, and one-third of American households are home to a number of residents 60 years of age or older, based on AARP, which studies that 90 % of adults older than 65 have indicated that they would favor to remain of their present residence as they age.

Innovation Never Gets Old

The most vital pattern relating to eldercare expertise within the U.S. at this time is the motion towards good home expertise that permits management of a home’s techniques with out the necessity for touching any controls, based on Laurie Orlov, principal analyst at
Aging in Place Technology Watch.

Aging in Place Technology Watch is a Port St. Lucie, Florida-based market analysis agency that gives thought management, evaluation and steerage about applied sciences and companies that allow boomers and different seniors to stay longer of their properties of alternative.

Enabling older adults to manage expertise by utilizing their voices reduces their dependency on keyboards, an vital benefit when finger dexterity has diminished.

Some of the most important issues going through the eldercare expertise business at this time, based on Orlov, are the next:

“The venture capital industry is not interested in the space and prefers to focus on the young,” she advised TechNewsWorld, “and the largest technology companies tend not to focus on this market either, also preferring to design for the young. Moreover, there’s the often prohibitive cost of technology for older adults. Most still require WiFi in the home, and at the older age ranges, WiFi access is limited and/or costly.”

Regarding the long run as boomers attain their later years, Orlov mentioned that with higher entry to WiFi, together with different decrease expertise prices, “older adults will benefit from many innovations under way today.”

A Place for Privacy

Mivatek Smart Connect, in Fremont, California, markets plug-n-play good home options and companies. In 2017, the company launched
Home8care, a collaborative care and security supplier, to satisfy the rising wants of distant monitoring of the aged at home. Mivatek developed a homecare system that integrates sensor and video recording applied sciences for fall detection and medicine adherence functions.

All points relating to eldercare expertise are important, no matter the place the care is delivered, based on Joe Liu, CEO of Mivatek Smart Connect and Home8care.

However, “the aging-in-place trend — which allows seniors to remain in their homes for as long as possible, safely and independently — is currently the most significant catalyst of eldercare technology,” he advised TechNewsWorld.

Eighty-seven % of adults age 65-plus wish to keep of their present home and neighborhood as they age, Liu mentioned, citing AARP statistics. However, since many aged individuals is not going to be bodily in a position to take action unassisted, the applied sciences to allow these seniors to age in place is of paramount significance.

“The technology needed is varied, and includes a multitude of devices that can keep our elders connected, protected and feeling safe at home,” Liu famous. “This includes interactive video, security, safety monitoring, medication adherence reminders, medication dispensers, activity trackers, panic and fall alerts, and emergency alert services.”

While the eldercare expertise business has been booming, there are distinct challenges that have to be overcome, based on Liu.

“Chronic diseases, some of which will not respond to current treatment or cannot be monitored through current technology, are an issue,” he mentioned, “and the cost to develop technologies that do work on these diseases is prohibitive.”

Also, “for those elders who are aging in place, privacy is an important issue,” Liu mentioned.

“Many elderly people do not want to be monitored or watched, feeling it is an invasion of privacy,” he noticed. “Thus, eldercare devices must either be small and unobservable or, in the case of wearables, very lightweight and barely noticeable.”

In addition, many eldercare units are nonetheless solely point-to-point options.

“It is important that eldercare devices are fully connected, so that everyone — caregivers, first responders, neighbors, etc. — can all be connected to an older person in a medical emergency for the quickest and most effective response, and thus the best outcome,” Liu mentioned.

As for the long run?

In the following few years, in addition to over the long run, eldercare expertise can be absolutely related and automatic, based on Liu.

“It will not only provide healthcare monitoring per se, but will tie into a home’s total automation ecosystem,” he mentioned. “This is already happening now — a sensor on a refrigerator can let a caregiver know whether the senior living at home is eating regularly.”

Or a sensible door lock that hasn’t been opened for some time could be trigger for concern, as it’d imply the aged individual hasn’t left the home for days, could have missed a physician’s appointment, or could even be in hassle.

“In addition, emergency monitoring technology and alert services will be more popular,” predicted Liu, “as will wearable, preventive healthcare monitoring technology.”


Ned Madden is a California-based advertising skilled and journalist who writes about expertise and business-related matters. You can e-mail him at nedmadden[at]cox[dot]internet.

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