UPDATE- 09/25/2014- We received the sad news that Video Care has gone out of business. We look forward to seeing future companies in this space.
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.