Senior Care Technology Roundup: Video Chat, Social Media, GPS Shoes & More

As health and wellness are essential components to any senior living community, several tech innovators and entrepreneurs are furthering these ideal elements with a range of gadgets, gizmos and social media tools. 

Helping them stay connected to friends and family who may not be as near as they once were, one senior living community is encouraging the use of social media among its residents, while another is opening up the World Wide Web to its residents via video chat. 

With the health and well-being of those with dementia in mind, a few tech companies have created GPS-enabled devices that individual keep safety of the utmost importance. Read On:


1. Brookdale CIO Discusses ROI of Connecting Seniors with Social Media

“In 2009, at an industry conference, [Scott Ranson, vice president and CIO at Brookdale Senior Living] was introduced to Connected Living, a social networking startup for senior citizens. Acknowledging the rise of social media and the impact it’s had on others, Brookdale considered bringing this technology to its senior citizens,” says a recent CIO article.

“The pilot, which lasted a year, was a basic implementation with little capital investment, Ranson says. After the year-long pilot, Ranson presented Brookdale’s executive board with the results, and the board was impressed. Ranson got the go-ahead to expand the Connected Living project, which included a $9.5 million investment in enterprise wireless and the construction of new Internet cafes, which vary from $8,000 to $12,000 depending on size. Stepping outside the corporate box and trying something new—regardless of its ROI—has been an important lesson, Ranson says.” Read more at


2. BrightLife: Senior-Friendly Video Chatting for Retirement Communities

“At Wilson Commons, a retirement community on the south side of Milwaukee, residents are making video calls to family and friends even if they have never heard of Skype, much less ooVoo, Tango or Google Video,” reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

“Wilson Commons is among the first customers of BrightLife Innovations, a start-up company that is selling a turnkey service for video calls to retirement communities. “It can make such a difference in the quality of life of the residents,” said Jennifer Kessel, who oversees operations for the independent living complexes at the 10 retirement communities run by Capri Communities in Waukesha.”

Read more of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article about how BrightLife’s video technology is gaining popularity among senior living communities.  

3. GizMag: GPS App Tracks Dementia Patients

“The number of people suffering from dementia is expected to increase significantly as the baby boomer generation ages. As of 2010, there were an estimated 35.6 million people with dementia worldwide and this number is expected to almost double every 20 years, to an estimated 65.7 million in 2030, and 115.4 million in 2050,” says a recent GizMag article.

“One of the most common concerns for families of dementia sufferers is that the person can often wander off and become lost after getting confused and disoriented. Researchers at Scandinavia’s largest research organization, SINTEFF, have been trialling a prototype GPS application to track dementia sufferers living at home, in institutions, and in other forms of shared accommodation facilities.”

Read more of the GizMag article to see what researchers are doing to improve the lives of dementia patients.  

4. GTX Corp Partners, BrickHouse Security Partner to Market GPS Tracking Shoes

GTX Corp, a holding company in the global GPS Personal Location Services business, announced a U.S. expansion in anticipation of its patented “Smart Shoe.” The company is teaming up with BrickHouse Security, a supplier of safety and security solutions to consumers, businesses and law enforcement to release its product which allows caregivers to pinpoint seniors via on-demand location updates. Caregivers can receive notification updates on where their patients are through various technologies, such as smartphones, PC and tablets.  

“We’re thrilled to expand our relationship with GTX Corp and Aetrex Worldwide,” said Todd Morris, BrickHouse’s CEO and founder. “And I’m comforted to know that we can play our part and offer this potentially life-saving solution to millions of Americans who care for the elderly, Alzheimer’s or dementia patients, or anyone with special needs.”

BrickHouse Security will be responsible for sales and support of the GPS shoes through its business-to-business and business-to-consumer channels. 

5. LTL Magazine: Techno-Gaming Transforms Rehab Experience, Helps Prevent Falls

“Most residents view their physical or occupational therapy regimens as a chore, but some companies have harnessed technology to engage residents in fun activities to inspire their therapy—without residents realizing they’re actually doing the hard work their doctors ordered. Virtual reality and other technology-assisted game systems have garnered plenty of attention in long-term care’s falls prevention initiatives, too; assisting residents with flexibility, joint replacement rehab, gait and balance training.

In just the past three years, a slew of scientific journals have published research on the benefits of technology-based “exergames” for physical rehabilitation, especially for those with strokes, joint replacements, traumatic brain injury, motion limitations and imbalance. Many studies have connected body and brain, noting that exercise not only improves muscular and cardiovascular systems, but also improves cognitive function and mood.”

To learn more about the positive effects of virtual gaming on senior living residents, read the article from Long-Term Living Magazine.

6. OnShift Partners with Silverchair Learning Systems for Online Training

OnShift, which provides web-based staff scheduling and shift management software for the healthcare industry, recently announced a partnership with Silverchair Learning Systems for online training, allowing joint clients in long-term care and senior living gain access to OnShift’s staff scheduling and employee training content through the Silverchair platform.

Written by Jason Oliva

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