Category: Home Health News

4 Free & Low-Cost Ideas to Improve Care for Your Aging Parents

Your aging parents’ care can quickly become costly. From expensive medical specialists and prescriptions that may not be covered by their insurance, to wages lost from needing to take time off work or driving back and forth between two homes, caregiving carries a steep price.

Is there anything the adult children of older parents can do to improve care for their parents in a cost efficient, less disruptive way?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes! Here are a few free or low-cost ways you can care for your aging parents:

1) Get Grandkids & Grandparents Together

How can smart environments and machine learning help seniors remain independent?

By 2050, the number of Americans over the age of 85 is expected to triple, and demand for long-term care may well outstrip supply. To meet the looming need for senior health care, researchers are working to develop innovative technology solutions that can help maintain a high quality of life for aging individuals.

A program at Washington State University is using machine learning to help seniors live in their choice of environment for longer and with a greater degree of independence.

Technology responds to seniors’ needs

WSU’s Center for Advanced Studies in Adaptive Systems is working on technology that will use machine learning — a form of artificial intelligence — to monitor an individual’s activities, determine what is happening and how it compares to typical behavior, and respond as needed.

The “Smart Home in a Box” includes about 30 sensors that can detect factors like movement, temperature and doors opening or closing. The system is currently being tested in 40 homes in the Seattle and Spokane areas.

Aging in a preferred environment

IndependaTV™ is an innovative technology that allows seniors to age in their choice of environment. With a simple-to-use interface, IndependaTV™ is the first technology that provides video chat, medication reminders, and messaging on a familiar television platform.

With user-friendly software known as Angela, IndependaTV™ assists seniors as they use their simple TV remote to watch favorite shows, communicate and receive medication and appointment reminders. The system also interfaces with a variety of wireless health-monitoring devices, and loved ones can check in through a convenient PC or mobile dashboard.

Promoting seniors’ quality of life

With the need for long-term care expected to skyrocket in the coming decades, seniors and their families increasingly will look to technological solutions that promote independence. IndependaTV™ provides a number of tools that work as a turnkey solution for helping seniors age in place, either at home or in a senior living community.


Why some seniors choose to age in place – Part #2

As Americans age, many choose to move to senior living communities. The extensive services and amenities offered by communities designed for senior living encourage residents to live vibrant, active and healthy lives. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, some individuals choose to age in place in their homes for as long as possible. What are some of the reasons for aging in place, and is current technology providing effective solutions for seniors to remain in their homes as long as possible?

Reasons for aging in place

Some simply don’t want to leave their homes. Whether for the sake of convenience, comfort, familiarity or fear, they prefer to stay in the surroundings they know. Some may have friends and family nearby, and they wish to continue to see their same doctor, attend the same church and shop at the same stores.

For others, money may play a major role in the decision to age in place. Staying in a personal home even for a few months to a year longer can save on the costs of moving into a senior community setting. Remaining in a home with little or no mortgage can save money over moving, and selling a home may incur expense as well. Many will also decide to take advantage of reverse mortgage or refinancing options. The challenges of remaining in the home is likely to include the costs of remodeling to accommodate mobility challenges, property maintenance and upkeep.

Is technology the answer?

With technology advancing rapidly in recent years, many seniors and their children believe that a few well-placed gadgets can lead to successful aging in place. Solutions such as hiring a home care agency, to providing consumer technology like smartphones, tablets, computers and wearables, often seem to be the answer to allowing mom or dad to remain at home.

In practice however, some technology-based solutions often don’t work. While use of technology among seniors has grown significantly in recent years, seniors still represent the group of adults unaccustomed to and unfamiliar with technology interaction. More than 40 percent of seniors don’t use the Internet, more than half don’t have home broadband service, and nearly a quarter still don’t use cell phones, according to the Pew Research Center.

For seniors with little tech experience, computers and mobile devices present numerous challenges when they need updates, are dropped or lost, or become outdated. In the end, many simply aren’t used effectively as tools for aging in place.

Aging in place is an option for many seniors

Despite the challenges posed by current technology, some seniors still intend to remain in their homes as long as they can. With motivations including the prospect of saving money and the allure of familiar surroundings, the use of in-home care solutions provides attractive options.

Read Part #3: Challenges for Care Providers in the Senior Care Industry



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  • Our guests use the video chat and photo and message sharing features of Independa to stay connected with their families. In fact this week we admitted a guest who has a daughter in Georgia and another in Italy. I spoke with the daughter about how to share photos and messages and to make video calls from her Independa device, and later went to see the guest about how it was going. She said to me “Kelly this video chat is so cool! I don’t care how long I have to be in here now because I can see my daughters!” It’s just amazing to see one of our guests be able to connect with a loved one all the way from Italy!

    Kelly M., Director of Rec Therapy
  • You don’t need to keep calling me now to remind me, my TV just told me to take my medication!

    93 Year Old Independa User
  • I love that Dad can get digital photos now. He didn’t want a Facebook account so the only time he would see any photos was when we came over to visit and we’d show him on our iPhone. Now he gets them himself on the TV all the time, and when people come to visit him he proudly shows them his photo album on the TV.

    HUD Building Developer/Operator
  • I’ve been using video chat and it has opened up my world – my family who live close by still visit once a week, but now I get to see them every day. I also get to see the rest of the family who live interstate and can’t come to visit. I also video chat with old friends who I haven’t seen for years. It has made such a big difference to my life, I don’t feel isolated anymore. I highly recommend this to other people; it really does change your life.

    HUD Building Developer/Operator
  • I live in California, my 80 year-old dad lives in Texas and my 21 year-old daughter lives in Colorado. My daughter spends all her time on social media using her smart phone, whereas my dad spends all his time watching TV, he doesn’t understand social media and doesn’t have a smart phone. Independa is great because not only does it bring us closer despite the geographical distance between us, it bridges the gap between the generations because it uses the technology they are most comfortable with.

    Independa User
  • We use the video chat feature in the resident’s TV to get the entire circle of care together at once; we will have the nurse and the physical therapist in the room with the resident, and we will then video call their family. That way everyone who is involved in their care gets the same message at the same time and can ask questions while we are present so there is no confusion. One time when we were working with a deaf resident, we were able to arrange for her daughter to sign via video chat and translate what we were saying and the questions her mother had; it made such a huge difference.

    Short-term Rehab Operator
  • My dad was on the Honor Flight to DC today. An amazing trip for a veteran. I was able to meet him at the Korean War Memorial. He is a Korean War veteran. I was able to send pictures of the entire experience to my mom at home throughout the day. Mom was thrilled, and when my dad gets home he has all the pictures from his trip on his TV and can even play a slideshow. Amazing!!! Thank you!

    Daughter of Independa User
  • Video chat on the TV is great! I was using FaceTime on my iPad to see the grandkids and I thought that was the greatest thing, but seeing them all on the big TV is truly incredible, it’s like they are in the room with me. I love it!

    HUD Building Developer/Operator
  • When Lillian broke her hip a week before her Grandson’s wedding, she and the family were broken hearted because they thought she would have to miss this very special day. Thankfully, she had chosen Wellbridge of Brighton for her short-term rehab. “I’m going to my Grandson’s wedding” she proudly told the staff as she received the video call through her TV and was instantly ‘seated’ in the front row for the ceremony!

    Short-term Rehab
  • I travel a lot for work. I used to worry myself sick about not being able to be there if Mom needed me. She says the smartphone I got her is too small, too complicated, and hard to see, but she loves using Independa. Now she can see all her shows and we can video chat so I can make sure she’s taking her medicine. It’s such a relief to check in anytime and know she’s OK.

    Daughter of Independa User