Senior Care Technology Update: 2013 International CES Edition

This roundup of senior care-related technology features a variety of products and systems that were announced or debuted at last week’s 2013 International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) held this year in Las Vegas, Nev. From Independa’s announcement regarding the availability of its Integrated CloudCare suite on LG TVs and Samsung tablet computers, to the debut of Philips Lifeline’s mobile PERS solution and the development of a web-based brain fitness program specifically geared toward seniors, there’s plenty to read about.

1. Independa Solutions Available on Certain TVs/Tablets

Independa announced during the 2013 International CES that its Independa Integrated CloudCare suite promoting “supported independence” for seniors is now generally available on LG TVs and Samsung tablet computers that have been specially designed and supported for Independa Angela.

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The suite combines the Caregiver Web Application, Angela interface for care recipients, and an integrated suite of wireless health devices and home sensors.

Under a previously announced relationship, LG Electronics USA has developed innovative and easy-to-use, commercial Pro:Centric Healthcare TVs in partnership with Independa. This senior care solution enables important prompts and services to appear over normal television programing. Each TV comes with a custom-designed camera and microphone component, as well as a “Magic Remote” with a scrolling ball for an easy on-screen point-and-click user interface.

For tablet users, a new agreement between Independa and Samsung Health announced at the event will make Angela available on the Samsung 10-inch Galaxy Tab 2 tablet.

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2. Philips Lifeline: Mobile PERS Solution Debuts

Philips Lifeline GoSafe, a new mobile personal emergency response system (PERs), designed to help seniors get more out of life. Philips’ latest innovation provides a unique combination of fall detection capabilities along with a suite of locating technologies and two-way cellular voice communication to help provide users the confidence to continue doing the activities they enjoy knowing they have access to help if they need it.

GoSafe incorporates many Philips features and expands PERs functionality beyond the home, providing users 24/7 access to the Philips Lifeline Response Center. The system employs two-way cellular voice communication and the use of up to seven user-locating technologies designed to help identify the user’s location in a variety of situations.

3. Dakim: Web-Based Brain Fitness Program for Boomers

Dakim has introduced BrainFitness OntheWeb, a new subscription service designed for baby boomers and seniors and clinically validated to improve memory and language. Dakim has already built a brain fitness program for senior living communities in the U.S., and the web-based program has fresh content tailored to baby boomers and utilizes activities and technology developed over a 12-year period to develop a “scientifically sound brain workout” with personalization and entertainment features meant to increase effectiveness.

The 20-minute sessions feature more than 100 different activity types and thousands of variations that can exercise different parts of the brain. Dakim says it’s the only program that “continually adjusts the sequence of activities as well as the level of challenge based on each user’s abilities” and that it’s the only one designed for mature adults, including age-appropriate references ranging from Rosa Parks to Watergate.

4. VTech Communication Survey Reveals Caregiver-Senior Problem Solving Opportunities

A VTech Caregiver/Senior Communication Survey found that caregivers’ top worry relates to the amount of time seniors spend alone, while seniors missed an active social life.

More than 60% of caregivers spend at least nine hours with a senior a week, but both groups see ways to improve the time apart, according to a VTech Communications survey that explored communications challenges and perceptions in senior-caregiver relationships.

The survey examined common issues faced by caregivers and seniors relating to communication as seniors look to age independently. More than a third of caregivers said their greatest concern is that they were not doing enough for the seniors in their lives, whereas 41% of seniors said their top challenge was not being as active or social as they would like. These concerns topped those about financial issues or other aging and caregiving issues, says VTech.

Nearly 70% of caregivers also reported challenges communicating with the seniors they cared for, citing physical limitations such as hearing problems, illness, or disabilities as top concerns. However, nearly 60% of seniors didn’t note any communication challenges, while those that did indicated that physical difficulties topped the list.

5. Link·age Ventures Closes Investment in Skilled Care Pharmacy

Skilled Care Pharmacy, Inc., institutional pharmacy focused on senior living providers located in Mason, Ohio, recently announced the formation of a partnership with, and an investment by, Link·age Ventures, Inc., a private equity firm focused on investing in leading companies that provide products, services and technology to the aging marketplace.

The transaction enables Link·age to own a significant equity position in Skilled Care and to partner with the pharmacy for future growth. The infusion of long-term capital by Link·age will be used to position the company for growth and to accelerate the adoption of new technologies, such as remote dispensing. The goal of the partners is to triple current company revenues over the next five years.

Larry Galluzzo, who formed the company in 1981, will remain as CEO of Skilled Care and will retain majority equity ownership of the company. Nancy Mlinarik will remain as Vice President, and will also retain an ownership interest in the company.

6. American HealthTech Online Community Passes 10,000-Member Mark

The online community for American HealthTech, a skilled nursing care connectivity partner, has reached and passed 10,000 members, making it one of the largest online post-acute healthcare communities in the world.

MyHealthTech members have access to training tools, support, advance industry education, and best practices to drive operational excellence. A learning management system tracks education progress of each member, and industry news updates summarize weekly news, eliminating the need to scan multiple sites, periodicals, and transmittals.

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