I’m sitting at home, thinking maybe it’s time to fly off somewhere on vacation. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I know that hundreds of planes are taking off and landing at local airports throughout the day and evening. But who’s up there…
Many 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.
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.
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 some results that add some science to this notion. It appears that back-lighting 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.
Could 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.
The 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!).
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- Tim “the tech man” Taylor