Senior Care Technology Round-Up: Dementia Care, Pill Management & More

| April 23, 2013

Included in this edition’s round-up is another batch of senior care technologies that promote independence and support desires to safely age in place.

Senior care technology innovations come from all over the world in this week’s lineup. From an Israeli Alzheimer’s memory game making its way to Harvard, to a European collaboration for a robot caregiver, new technologies in the senior care space have yet to show signs of slowing down. 

Leading the charge is a unique partnership between General Electric and Startup Health, including a list of their chosen health tech companies to partake in a new growth acceleration program. Read on:

1. GE and Startup Health List Companies for Growth Acceleration Program

Three months after the launch of a new program for consumer health tech companies, GE and New York-based Startup Health announced picks for their first inaugural class, reports CNN Money.  

The 13 selected startups, who came from a pool of more than 400, do not receive funding from the program. Instead, GE and Startup Health chose companies that have already raised some funding and are looking for support to take their businesses to the next level.

In exchange for giving up 2%-10% equity ownership, split by GE and Startup Health, the selected companies receive three years of mentorship, training and other support from the two groups, writes CNN. 

The program enables GE to keep a “close watch on new developments in digital health and spot potentially big opportunities early on,” CNN writes. 

Read more about the program from GE and Startup Health and see who made the cut.

2. Exercising Brain with New Tech System Can Reactivate Cell Activity

Emerging technology from Israel focuses on computer brain exercises may offer new hope to Alzheimer’s patients and their families, reports Medical News Today.

The NeuroAD system enables patients to solve challenging computer exercises ranging from identifying colors, shapes, letters and animals to solving memory games. 

The regions of the patient’s brain responsible for memory and learning receive electromagnetic stimulation, which in turn activates brain activity.

The device has already shown promising results in a clinical trial at Harvard University, as the technology not only stopped patients’ symptoms from deteriorating, but in some cases actually improving their cognitive performance to an extent greater than currently approved medications, according to MNT.

“Tests have shown significant improvement of cognitive functions. As a result, patients’ daily activities such as taking care of themselves, speaking, and even recognizing their loved ones have improved dramatically,” said Professor of Neurology Alvaro Pascual-Leone of Harvard Medical School, who directed the Harvard trial. 

Learn more about this Alzheimer’s technology.

3. Medication Management Made Easy with Talking Alarms and Visual Aids

As prescription medicines are a critical component of health management, research indicates that millions of Americans do not take their medications correctly, whether in terms of the proper dosage or appropriate timing. 

After noticing such concerns, often first-hand from his father, MedCenter Systems LLC found Martin Cooper developed a device that would help older adults keep track of their medication schedules. 

The MedCenter system emphasizes the “date” rather than the “day of the week.” The date is located on each pill box and pill cavity, the visual display of the clock as well as audibly during alert messages.

The repetition of the data helps ensure proper medication compliance, even when the use is unsure whether it is Monday or Tuesday, according to the company.

Adults load an entire month’s-worth of medication into the 31 daily pill boxes (or however many days in the month) and place them into the organizer with the device’s “green” ends up, showing they are full.

People can then set up to four daily alarms to alert themselves when their medication is due.

The MedCenter features a large LCD screen with backlight, making the clock and the device easy to read even in the dark.

4. Social Robot Keeps Seniors Active and Independent

For the past three years, a variety of universities, research institutes, commercial companies and care organizations have been working on a new type of caregiver: a robot, reports Medical News Today.

Through integrated smart garments and vision systems, “Mobiserv,” reminds seniors about eating, drinking and taking medications. The bot also helps older adults stay active by suggesting a variety of activities.

Mobiserv’s main goal is not only to keep people independent, but also support and empower individuals’ loved ones or family members in providing care.

Currently, the Mobiserv team is focused on preparations for its final user evaluation studies. Based on findings from previous years, the Mobiserv robot and services have been improving and fine-tuned to be useful, acceptable and fun to use, according to MNT. 

The purpose of these evaluations is to enable end-users and caregivers to experience Mobiserv’s capabilities, and what developers can do to improve the robot’s technologies to help support seniors’ and others in their well-being and independence. 

Read about Mobiserv.

5. Johnson & Johnson Showcases Virtual Dementia Tour

Multi-national manufacturer of pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and therapeutic products, Johnson & Johnson showcased a new toolkit that gives an in-depth look at how to care for someone with dementia. 

Introduced at Johnson & Johnson’s exhibit at TEDMED—a national conference focusing on the intersection of healthcare and medicine—the Virtual Dementia Tour is a scientifically proven method of building a greater understanding of dementia through the use of sensory tools and instruction. 

During a “Tour” experience, participants meet with certified trainers who guide them through takes and exercises that enable caregivers and professionals to experience for themselves the physical and mental challenges facing those with dementia. 

“It is my hope that by participating in TEDMED more healthcare leaders will have the opportunity to see how the Virtual Dementia Tour uses a humanistic approach – enabling caregivers and communities to experience firsthand the behaviors and needs of patients,” said P.K. Beville, founder and CEO of Second Wind Dreams and author of the Virtual Dementia Tour. 

6. Health System Embarks on Electronic Records Partnership

In an effort to continue providing the highest levels of care to patients and residents, Virginia-based Riverside Health System embarked on a selection process to implement an integrated post-acute care electronic medical records system, coupled with a more sophisticated billing system. 

Riverside selected HealthMEDX Vision solution to provide all of these capabilities in a patient-centered system that can be implemented throughout Riverside’s Lifelong Health and Aging Related Services division.

“The HealthMEDX solution will provide us with the ability to achieve standardization across our post-acute care system, continuity of care, and improved documentation of resident/patient care for quality improvement, state and federal surveys,” said Kevin Mulhearn, Director of Finance for Riverside’s Lifelong Health division.

Riverside’s Lifelong Health and Aging Related Services Division handles development and operation of continuing care retirement communities, assisted living communities, skilled nursing and rehab centers, residential memory support, Program for All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), home health and hospice, and home enabling technology. 

HealthMEDX LLC provides an integrated, clinical and financial electronic medical record across the long-term care continuum. 

Written by Jason Oliva


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Category: Senior Housing

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