iPhone App Reviews: CareBeacon iPhone App

iPhone App Reviews: The CareBeacon Medical Alert

I recently tested the CareBeacon fall detection (and inactivity) app for iPhone.  The app functions like a mobile medical alert system and notifies loved ones of falls by utilizing the accelerometer  and GPS (global positioning systems) functions in the smart phone.  The app is free for the first 30 days and is available from $8.33 per month (if you sign up for the year) to $12.99 (on a month to month) after the initial trial.

The CareBeacon app is great for those who have an existing iPhone and who carry it with them at all times.  The app will work wherever the phone has a signal and is not confined to the home like many traditional personal emergency response systems.  The pre-determined friends and family will be notified if the user does not answer the “Are You Ok?” prompts after a period of inactivity or a fall is sensed.  The time to sense inactivity can be adjusted by the user, from one to 15 minutes.  If the phone senses a fall, it sends a text and/or voice messages with the users location.  The friends/family would then contact the user and emergency services if needed.

iPhone App Reviews | CareBeacon | Likes and Dislikes

What I liked:

  • Conceptually utilizing the mobile phone functionality for active adults (that just need a safety blanket) makes a great deal of sense
  • For those that carry their mobile phone all over the place, it’s always with you
  • Accelerometer should work as well as other mPERS (mobile personal emergency response system) or better, though phone’s location on the body could make a difference in sensitivity for the fall algorithm
  • Simple to use and simple to set up
  • Designate friends and family (to contact in case of emergency) as you wish
  • Price is right when comparing it to traditional or mobile medical alert system subscriptions

What I didn’t like:

  • You have to have an iPhone (no Android version as yet)
  • If you don’t have adequate service coverage (from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint) you don’t have a functioning app
  • Only calls friends and family no direct 911 calling (this isn’t so bad as long as someone answers)
  • 15 minute inactivity alarm started bugging me, CareBeacon may want to adjust this to allow for less frequent check-ins
  • Price is high IF you’re comparing it to other apps on the iPhone app store

CareBeacon 268x300 iPhone App Reviews: CareBeacon iPhone App

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Product Review: Video Care | Family Communication Made Simple

02 Call Selection Product Review: Video Care | Family Communication Made SimpleMany of today’s seniors living at home don’t have a son or daughter next door.  The interaction with immediate family may be limited to phone calls, occasional visits, and holiday gatherings.  Video Care has developed a personal communication tool with a unique approach to solving the long-distance caregiver gap by combining complex technology with a simple, elder friendly interface.

Video Care brings face-to-face companionship and interaction to the elderly through a touch screen system that requires no mouse, keyboard or computer skills to operate.  A touch of the screen opens a two way video screen with a family member, caregiver or friend.

Video Care was kind enough to send me one of their systems to check out and see exactly how easy it would be for a senior with little or no computer skills.  I was very impressed with the simplicity of the unit and ease to set it up.  In addition to using two-way-video, loved ones can also share instant photos, videos and music.  Video Care also offers a nifty senior app if you want to share videos and photos directly from your smartphone.   The system can also be set up for medication, appointment, and activities of daily living reminders. Loved ones will be notified if the user does not respond to the reminders.

06 iPhone Delivery Product Review: Video Care | Family Communication Made Simple

05 Reminder Dialog Product Review: Video Care | Family Communication Made Simple

For professional caregivers, Video Care allows remote visits without the cost and time of driving to the home.  Clients can be checked on several times a day for a fraction of the cost of a typical home care visit.  Geriatric care managers could also use Video Care to check in with caregivers already in the home as a quality assurance tool, or as a problem solving option (in the case of any unusual behavior or symptoms).   Video Care is currently being used by in-home care agencies and geriatric care managers as a value-add to their current client base (I think this is a fantastic idea by the way).

I had the opportunity to speak with David Trescot, Co-Founder and CEO of Video Care.  One of my favorite stories he told me about Video Care users was about a daughter and her elderly mother who turn on Video Care every morning and use it as a “window” into each other’s homes.  They chat, have breakfast together, and go about their day with the two-way video all day long.  They’re able to participate in each other’s lives, and the daughter has peace of mind each morning when she sees her mother appear on the screen.

The other aspect I love about Video Care is that it can be used along the continuum of care for a loved one.  Video Care can operate from any location that has internet access (wireless works too).  I imagine the transition into assisted living or a skilled nursing facility could be greatly eased with daily check-ins and support from family and friends, even if they live on the other side of the world.

I look forward to following Video Care and others that will follow in the exploding telehealth and aging-in-place space.

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Backlighting On Tablets May Help Seniors Read

The Senior List has long touted the new e-readers and tablets as being increasingly “Senior Friendly”.  Now a small study out of Johannes Gutenberg University (Mainz,  Germany) has shown somestack of books Backlighting On Tablets May Help Seniors Read results that add some science to this notion.  It appears that backlighting from tablets may make it easier for seniors to read on these devices vs. traditional printed materials.  In the study, seniors (age 60-77) AND their younger counterparts (age 21-34) overwhelmingly preferred traditional books over the electronic versions.  But when the researchers looked at the scientific evidence (in this case combined EEG and eye-tracking measures) they noticed some contrary clues worth noting.

Among the older adults, digital measures “showed shorter mean fixation durations and lower EEG theta band voltage density – known to covary with memory encoding and retrieval – for the older adults when reading from a tablet computer in comparison to the other two devices.”  In layman’s terms… The back-lighting from the iPad allowed the older adults to read faster, and comprehend more.  This is quite interesting indeed, considering the built-in bias toward traditional printed materials.  More scientific data is probably warranted, but this certainly raises some eyebrows.

In the rapidly changing circumstances of our increasingly digital world, reading is also becoming an increasingly digital experience: electronic books (e-books) are now outselling print books in the United States and the United Kingdom.” Kretzschmar, Pleimling, Hosemann, Füssel, & Bornkessel-Schlesewsky, et al.

Kindle Fire 150x150 Backlighting On Tablets May Help Seniors ReadCould tablets become mainstream devices or “must haves” for aging adults?  Some would argue (including us) this evolution/revolution is already happening.  Emarketer.com predicts that the highest growth rates among tablet users will come from users under 12 (huh?) and adults age 65+.  With an intuitive user interface (UI), video conferencing capabilities, multi-media at the fingertips, and email… Tablet growth and new applications (apps) will push even more tablets in the hands of aging adults.

BugMe Pro Giveaway

iphone BugMe BugMe Pro GiveawayThe Senior List is giving away the Pro version of BugMe!

The fine folks at Electric Pocket have provided The Senior List a number of Bugme Pro App coupons for you to use at iTunes.  If you’d like to download the Pro version of the BugMe! sticky-notes-app (for free), let us know on our Facebook page.  Just “like” The Senior List (if you haven’t already) and let us know you’d like a coupon for the BugMe! app at iTunes.  (Note: We only have the app coupons available for iOS/Apple products… Not android).

We’ll give them away on Friday, so make sure you check back to see if you’re a winner!  Thanks again to the developers at Electric Pocket (you guys rock!).

The Senior List is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TheSeniorList

- Tim “the tech man” Taylor

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