GrandPad App Allows Senior Clients To Stay Connected To Loved Ones Digitally

For senior clients as they age, particularly for those who live a fair distance from their family, staying involved in one another's daily lives can be challenging. While the younger generations are plugged into technology, social media could seem overwhelming for a senior client with posts to sort through from so many different sources. The GrandPad app offers a way for families to send pictures and updates to their senior loved ones in a private program.

To use the GrandPad app, the senior client needs to purchase a plan with the site. The options include a monthly or annually billed plan for the tablet itself, connectivity, and insurance in case of damage or theft. Once a senior client is set up with their GrandPad, then their loved ones can download the GrandPad app to begin sharing photos and videos with them. 

When users first download the app, they need to send e-mail invites to all of the people who they'd like to contribute to the Family Feed. From there, the new users can download the app too and sign into their private feed. From there, users can post pictures and comment on other people's posts, just like on other social networks such as Instagram or Facebook. Loved ones can also decide to hook up their Instagram feed to the app so that pictures are sent automatically to the Family Feed automatically. 

To make it as easy as possible for senior clients to interact with the content, voice memos can be left instead of typed comments. Users also have the option of conducting voice or video calls directly on the tablet or in the app. The voice memos can also be sent as e-mails, so seniors have many options to communicate with their families stress-free. The GrandPad also features games and music for seniors to interact with as they'd like. 

Caregivers can support their senior clients in using the GrandPad to communicate with their families. They can take photos of them doing activities around the house, such as cooking dinner, or help them record voice memos to share with their loved ones. They can also monitor the family feed for them and make sure they don't miss any updates from their family. 

The GrandPad app is available for Apple and Android products. Visit the GrandPad site for more information on the tablet for senior clients. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Japanese Seniors to Get 5 Million iPads

Apple and IBM are partnering with Japan Post to provide 1,000 seniors with free iPads for six months beginning in October. If successful, the program could increase senior users to five million by the year 2020. iPads will be equipped with IBM-produced apps specifically geared to the elderly such as reminding seniors to take their medication, help them keep in touch with family, and assist them in finding local senior services in an effort to improve the quality of life for Japan’s senior population.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Japan Post CEO Taizo Nishimuro (who is almost 80 years old) announced the program in New York on Thursday. Japan’s elderly make up 25 percent of entire population. That’s about 33 million seniors. That number is projected to grow to 40 percent over the next 4 decades.

Japan Post Group, a government-owned postal service, bank, and insurer will train 400,000 of its employees on the iPads. They in turn will deliver the devices to the elderly. Currently, Japan Post service workers make elderly wellness checks and reports back to the senior’s family. This “Watch Over” program costs families $1,000 yen, or $8, monthly. It is not known if the iPad program will increase those costs.

“This initiative has potential for global impact, as many countries face the challenge of supporting an aging population, and we are honored to be involved in supporting Japan’s senior citizens and helping enrich their lives,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a press release.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the proportion of people aged over 60 years is growing faster than any other age group in almost every country. Between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the world's population over 60 years will double from about 11% to 22%. The number of people aged 60 years and over is expected to increase from 605 million to 2 billion over the same period.


Mashable gave us a peek at the iPad interface which includes large buttons, an emergency call capability, and other senior-friendly and senior-empowering features.

Image: Mashable, Lance Ulanoff

The proposed iPad program certainly can’t take the place of a one-on-one in-home senior care, but for millions of independent older people, especially with those whose families distance care, I think it will be a great care supplement.

Honor System Hopes to Marry In-Home Senior Care with Technology

In-home senior care is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. I know because I'm constantly looking at senior care industry trends. This week, there was a new name on the in-home senior care landscape: Honor.

Honor (www.joinhonor.com) recently received $20 million in funding to roll out it’s new service—a high tech way to connect seniors with senior caregivers. Honor is launching Contra Costa County, California this month and then plans to spread to the rest of the Bay Area. San Francisco is the fifth largest metro area for senior care employment.

Helping seniors age in place, at home, is at the core of CEO and co-founder Seth Sternberg’s mission. Like many of us, Mr. Sternberg was confronted with the challenge of long-distance care for his aging mother. He would fly into Connecticut, where his mother lives, hire a caregiver, and be clueless about the care his mother was receiving once he left for home. The idea behind Honor is that, not only could a senior (or their family) hire a caregiver Uber-fashion, but the app would help families monitor that care.

The Honor Frame is a device that sits in the senior’s home and allows a senior or their family to request a caregiver for as little as one hour per week, to help with the activities of daily living, including meal preparation, transportation, or simple companionship. Families can download the Honor app onto their smartphones in order to monitor the caregiver’s time, activities, and to provide feedback.

It will be interesting to watch how Honor approaches the challenges inherent to in-home senior care. We agree that technology can facilitate the connection between senior and caregiver, but building a team of caregivers is different than hiring in any other field because seniors who live alone are especially vulnerable to all sorts of elder abuse. The creators of Honor believe they can build a strong team of professional caregivers by offering them an hourly rate well above the industry standard—$15 per hour instead of the current average of $9.50.

In order to understand the challenges Honor is facing, perhaps we should take a look at just what an in-home care agency provides to a caregiver, their senior client and their family that a direct hire doesn’t necessarily offer. At Caregiverlist, we make sure our quality home care agencies:

  • posess a business license and required state licensure
  • fully vet all employees by performing a thorough criminal background check
  • offer and maintain training for caregivers
  • are responsible for paying all employee payroll taxes, as required by law. That includes unemployment insurance tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax and State and Federal withholdings
  • provide Worker’s Compensation Insurance
  • carry Professional Liability Insurance and Fidelity Bond Insurance (aka “theft” insurance)
  • supply active management of the senior caregiver through a direct supervisor and a plan of care

As the population ages, their technology comfort level will increase. Until then, I’d love to take a look at Honor’s interface, knowing that seniors themselves will be using the software to request their caregiver.

We at Caregiverlist wish Honor the most success. We certainly believe in their philosophy, one that Sternberg recently told Forbes. “We do not honor care professionals in today’s world,” he said. “We should. And we should honor our parents.” We couldn’t agree more.

Seniors and Online Dating

Seniors are using technology in all its aspects to improve their lives. Cell phones can also be medical alert devices. Email is a way to keep in touch with family and friends far away. Skype is the video phone promised in yesterday’s sci-fi movies.

It’s no wonder that seniors are now one of the fastest growing demographics in the online dating game. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, US-based technology advisory company iTOK sent out a survey asking their members to discuss their online dating habits. Their findings? 1 in 5 seniors have tried online dating, with the largest group of respondents ( 36%) falling between 66 and 75 years old. And they’re not necessarily looking for lasting love, either. Seniors seeking companionship and casual relationships found their way primarily to Match.com, eHarmony, and OurTime (a dating site that caters to singles 50 and older). Fifty percent of iTOK responders were already married; 19% reported being widowed, 18% divorced, 11% single, and 2% currently dating.

Here’s their infographic:

AARP got into the game when they partnered with an online dating service and came up with HowAboutWe. As in, “How about we” take in a movie tonight? Take a baking class together? Although in my experience, most of the men seem to be under 40 years old. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. However, they are all so good looking according to their online profile photos, I have a hard time believing that a 32 year-old Javier Bardem-looking Jared would want to “hang out and hear bluegrass while drinking whiskey” with a 50-year-old woman. But perhaps I’m wrong. Certainly my Valentine’s-addled mind would love to think so.

At the risk of sounding alarmist, I might even run a background check on someone before I committed to a relationship. I know, I’m a hopeless romantic. There are a lot of scammers out there. I strongly advise to take care in all things — especially matters of the heart, where the head tends to lose.

Is Jibo Your New Senior Companion?

As you senior caregiver readers know, I’ve embarked on a mission to bring some technology into my elderly mother’s home so she can live independently longer, the way she wants to live. I made a list of her needs, the most important of which are keeping safe, connected, and engaged.

My mother is not alone in her needs. The 80+ age group is the fastest-growing segment of the world’s population. By 2050, it is estimated that there will be 392 million persons over the age of 80, more than three times the present. At the same time, there will be fewer caregivers for the elderly. Smaller and more geographically disparate families mean fewer family caregivers.  We are already experiencing a shortage of trained certified nurse assistants and home care aides. And, of course, ever-increasing senior care costs, whether in the home or in an institutional setting, means the entire system of elderly care needs to be rethought.

Technological advancements are growing exponentially, just as is our elder population. It makes sense, then, that someone utilize the advances in technology to address the true needs of people. The Jetsons’ Rosie, Luke Skywalker’s C3PO, fiction is rife with examples of robot family helpers. Beyond the physical assistance these robots provided, they were also companions and assistants. Those imaginings are now becoming reality.

Jibo, the “world’s first family robot”, is the brainchild of MIT professor and social robotics pioneer Dr. Cynthia Breazeal. Dr. Breazeal saw the necessity for technology that supports the needs of the human being.

“I do this because I want to empower people to stay healthier, to learn better, to age with dignity and independence (my emphasis)”, Dr. Breazeal writes on the Jibo blog. “... to support more empathic and emotionally engaging telecommunication with those you love, to delight and surprise & entertain so that people laugh and experience joy and wonderment more often, and to make our lives just a bit easier with a touch of technological magic.”

For seniors, that means an “attentive companion that can help you live with greater independence and stay connected to those you love.”

Here’s what Jibo can do (from the Jibo website):
See
Two hi-res cameras recognize and track faces, capture photos, and enable immersive video calling.
Hear
360° microphones and natural language processing let you talk to Jibo from anywhere in the room.
Speak
Hands-free reminders and messages, so you'll never forget and can always be in touch.
Learn
Artificial Intelligence algorithms learn your preferences to adapt and fit into your life.
Help
Like a personal assistant, Jibo proactively helps you, to make everyday tasks simpler and easier.
Relate
Communicates and expresses using natural social and emotive cues so you understand each other better.

Here's Jibo in action:



The Indiegogo campaign to crowdsource funding for Jibo started on July 16 and ended on September 14, 2014 and raised $2,289,506, and astonishing 2,290% of its $100,000 goal. Those numbers make it the most successful technology campaign on Indiegogo to date.

Over 4,800 Jibos were pre-ordered at $499, 28% of which are Developer Editions and upgrades (new application development is ongoing.) 71 Jibos will be donated to Boston Children's Hospital.

What do you think about Jibo and the future of carebots? Is this something you would welcome into your home? Personally, I’d love to see it in action. And if the response on Indiegogo is any indication, Siri’s in for some stiff competition.

Seniors Online, Connected

America’s seniors may be late to the game, but are now finding their way online in significant numbers, according to the Pew Research Internet Project’s latest findings. The data also points to the fact that tech adoption varies within the senior population, with younger, more educated and affluent seniors using internet and at-home broadband at “rates approaching—or even exceeding—the general population.”
The study shows that  six in ten seniors go online, and just under half are broadband adopters. Once online, seniors make the internet a part of their daily routine. Many older adults that use social networking sites like Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family. Interestingly, those that socialize online are more likely to regularly socialize with friends offline as well, in person, or over the telephone.

In which I get my mom hooked up.

I wake up at four in the morning worried about my mother. She lives only 5 miles and 20 minutes away but I know she’s alone (by choice) and maybe lonely. When I voice my concerns, she assures me she wasn’t lonely, she was asleep, and I don’t need to worry about her as she “has gotten used to” living alone. She prefers to age at home, even if it means living a certain level of isolation. I wish I could see her. Today. Right now. Have breakfast with her (well, I’d wait until she was up.)

If only there was some sort of technology that would make it easy to look at the person to whom you were talking. It would be great if you could talk on a television-like device like they did in old sci-fi movies. Oh, right.

My 83 year old mother has Skyped.  She’s watched the videos I’ve posted of her grandchildren on YouTube. We’ve talked about getting broadband into her home to make it easier for her to connect with us and with her family in Europe. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share with you the process of getting my mom online.

First step: determine need and level of tech comfort.

The extent of my mother’s ownership of technology begins and ends with her cell phone (not even a smartphone.) She has used my laptop to Skype, so she’s comfortable with and enjoys that application. So in determining the best hardware to purchase, we have to look at what she will be utilizing and how. Let’s face it—she’s not creating spreadsheets and newsletters.

Family photos and videos
With family scattered all over the world, photo and video sharing is one way we can all catch up. Full screen, high resolution images make it possible for her to see without her glasses. Headphones or amplified speakers will make sounds easier to hear.

Video calling   
Like the aforementioned Skype, video communication would get a lot of use here. I would much rather see her when speaking to her. And since she’s not getting on a plane to her homeland anytime soon, it’s great when technology affords her the ability to see and speak with her 78-year-old baby brother.

E-books
She loves to read, but we are exhausting all the large-print titles in the library. An e-book reader, where font size can be increased to reading comfort, would open a whole world of reading that she would otherwise find impossible. And no more late fees!

Internet access
I’m not sure about how important this is. She’s used to getting her news and weather from television. It would be interesting to see if those habits would change if she had access to information online.

Social networking
Facebook, maybe. Twitter, no. Pew found that 46 percent of those 65 and older use social networking sites, although just 27 percent of internet users over 80 access social networking sites. Many senior websites including AARP have their own online communities, however, I think my mother would be most interested in socializing with family and friends rather than joining forums, but I might be wrong.

Senior caregivers, this is where I’m starting. I know there are stand-alone computers made especially for seniors, where the keyboard buttons are big and the set-up and operation is easy and stress-free. I’m going to start my research there and see what they have to offer. Next week I will let you know if a desktop model like Telikin or portable tablet like Claris Companion fits the bill for this family.

If you have any suggestions for hardware, software, or other technology for seniors, or want to share stories of getting your senior online, please leave them in the comments.

German Nursing Homes to Try 3D Printed Food for Seniors

Senior caregivers can find it quite challenging to keep the elderly well-nourished, especially if the senior has problems with chewing and swallowing. A steady diet of baby food-like mush can make seniors dread their next meal. Dealing with the challenges of feeding those seniors can lead to caregiver stress.

So, the European Union is funding a consortium of five European countries along with 14 companies called PERFORMANCE (which stands for PERsonalised FOod using Rapid MAnufacturing for the Nutrition of elderly ConsumErs), to help develop 3D-printed “smoothfood” to create a more appetizing-looking meal.

German company Biozoon created Smoothfood, in which deconstructed foods that are safe to ingest without chewing are reconstructed to look like conventional meals by using plant-based solidifying agents and poured into food-shaped silicon molds. While the food retains its shape on the plate, it completely dissolves in the mouth, making it safe for those with chewing and swallowing impairments.

Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing food, affects as many as 15 million Americans and according to the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), over 60,000 Americans die from complications associated with swallowing dysfunctions each year. Many times, victims of stroke find themselves unable to chew and swallow regular food.Currently, those seniors have no choice but to eat a variety of pureed foods, much like baby food. Needless to say, a constant diet of unappealing and uninteresting food has been shown to cause a loss of appetite and lead to malnutrition.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are already overtaxed and overburdened with senior care, so the objective of the PERFORMANCE project is to utilize new processing approaches and tailor-made technologies for the use by small and medium sized (SME) food producers to produce personalised food for the frail elderly European consumer, thereby improving the quality of life.

Over 1,000 retirement homes in Germany have already implemented the smoothfood concept according to Wired UK. The PERFORMANCE project is hoping to take that idea and, by applying automated 3D printing technology, make it easier and more affordable to use on a broader scale by nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

But how does that food taste? Sandra Forstner, the project manager at Biozoon spoke to food blog Munchies about the taste of 3-D printed food. “The food tastes like normal food. It is made from fresh ingredients, so the taste doesn’t change. One of our goals is not to change the flavor; the texturizing system doesn’t change it.”

C.N.A. Test Prep App Provides Practice Questions: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (C.N.A) increases the number of job opportunities available to a senior caregiver. Certified Nursing Assistants help take care of bedridden patients, assist with dressing, bathing and feeding and take vital signs among other personal and nursing duties. Senior caregivers who wish to pursue becoming a C.N.A. can look into schools in their state that offer training programs. Before receiving certification, caregivers must past a C.N.A. qualifying exam. Caregiverlist offers a sample test to give caregivers an idea of what to expect on the exam. 

To review questions and study for the exam on the go, the MedPreps CNA Test Prep app offers free practice C.N.A. test questions for senior caregivers. The app features approximately 1,000 questions covering topics that could appear on the test, from client rights to activities of daily living to communication issues. Users are presented with a question with four multiple choice answers at the bottom. The app indicates an incorrect answer by lighting up red and a correct answer by highlighting the choice in green. No matter which answer is chosen, a box in the right corner labeled "Explain," brings up a screen that explains the correct answer in detail. 

The app enables caregivers to study for the test at any opportunity where they might have ten spare minutes. Try answering just five questions each day while enrolled in C.N.A. school while riding public transit or before bed. Look at which questions you originally missed as the test approaches and see if you can answer them correctly now. 

 

App Name: CNA Test Prep

Available for free for Apple and Android platforms. Limited questions are available in the free edition, unlock all questions in the paid version of the app. 

"Practice for your upcoming Certified Nursing Assistant Examination with our database of 1000+ CNA practice test questions!" 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

 

Fooducate App Offers Nutrition Label Scanning and Tracking: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Planning meals for yourself and your senior clients while adhering to dietary restrictions or simply trying to eat healthy can be tough. Food products that seem healthy may be deceiving, like a low-fat item with additional salt or sugar than the original. 

Senior caregivers can take the mystery out of reading labels at the grocery store with the Fooducate app. Instead of staring at a label and analyzing all of its parts before deciding whether the food inside the box is dinner-worthy, Fooducate offers a label scanning service that provides a brief breakdown of the nutritional value of a product. By holding your smartphone over the barcode of a product, you can see the calories per serving, warnings of high levels of sugar, fat, artificial coloring and a letter grade for the product showing how healthy (or unhealthy) it is. 

This app can be particularly useful when determining between different brands of a similar product. A brand name product might have surprisingly more fat than a generic version, for example. It also provides options for gluten free or other dietary restrictions to help alert you of products you should avoid. Alerts appear with a red exclamation mark next to them, while positives of a product appear with a green check mark. The product below, for example, is 100% whole wheat, which provides more fiber than similar white crackers. 

The app also offers nutrition tracking services through logging what you eat throughout the day. The scanning option may be used to log food as well as simply searching a dish name, such as "scrambled eggs." Foods you can be marked at "liked" or "disliked" for future reference. 

Currently it is available for Apple products and Android. There is a free version as well as a paid version with more features. 

"GET FOODUCATED!

Lose weight by eating REAL food! Fooducate grades your food, explains what's really inside each product, and offers healthier alternatives. We've got the largest database of UPC-based nutrition information - over 200,000 unique products and growing."

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help to relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist.

-Paige Krzysko

 

EasyFamily App Gives Seniors Simple Social Media Access: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

 

For seniors, having loved ones to check in with and talk to for mental health can be just as important as maintaining physical health. These days, staying connected to friends and family has become a matter of simply pressing a “follow” or “friend”button on a social media site, but most of these are geared towards the technology-savvy younger generation. Now senior caregivers can help their clients get plugged in and online.

 

EasyFamilyApps offers simplified access to Facebook, Skype and other social sharing services so that seniors can log on and see what their loved ones are showing them without having to learn the individual applications. The application also allows seniors and caregivers to set medication and appointment reminders to stay on track with their health and doctor's appointments. Creating a video chat on Skype takes only two clicks, and there are far fewer buttons on this app than on the separate Facebook and Flickr apps.

 

For caregivers, this application offers the chance to connect senior clients with their loved ones on a daily basis. By downloading it and encouraging family of the senior to send updates a few times a week, a senior will be able to feel in the loop of their day-to-day lives. When your senior clients' granddaughter has a soccer game and her mom posts a picture or video of her scoring the winning goal, your senior client will feel included in that moment. Ongoing contact with loved ones makes a huge difference in mental health during the aging process.

 

The creator of the app is called Family Ribbon and the app itself is called EasyFamily AppSuite. It comes with a step-by-step manual to help introduce seniors to the app and take them through the various features. Currently it is available for Apple, Android and Windows Tablets and is described below:

 

"Get all generations of your family online with the 7-in-1 AppSuite designed for new users, especially with older users in mind. "

 

The cost is a one-time fee of $9.99. 

 

For more information, watch this introductory video: 

 

Family Ribbon introductory video from EasyFamilyApps.com on Vimeo.

 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help to relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist.

 

-Paige Krzysko

 

 

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