Sensors Harness Skills for Independence at UCP-NYC

UCP-NYC Image 1SimplyHome is pleased to announce our work with UCP-NYC to incorporate our customized assistive technology services to promote more independent living for residents with United Cerebral Palsy – NYC. UCP-NYC is the leading nonprofit agency in New York City providing direct services, technology and advocacy to children and adults with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.

“It’s My Own Routine”

One UCP-NYC resident, Efrain, uses SimplyHome technologies to increase independence with respect to his health. He uses Telehealth devices that record his blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and each device notifies staff if those levels exceed set parameters.

Efrain also uses a medication dispenser, which allows him to start his day and take medication without assistance from staff.  “I like just getting up and being able to get going,” said Efrain. “It’s my own routine, I don’t have to wait for staff.”

Read more: UCP-NYC’s full article.

 

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Arc of NC State Conference Features David Maennle and SimplyHome

“Enabling technology empowers individuals to dream of new possibilities where every person can live a life of their choosing. It should be less about a person’s needs and more about their abilities, capabilities, and potential for success through natural supports.”

- Allen Ray, SimplyHome

 

This year’s ARC of NC State Conference will feature key presentations by SimplyHome and a Western North Carolina family who uses SimplyHome technology on a daily basis to support more independent living. This year’s conference takes place September 8-9, in Charlotte, NC, and brings together self-advocates, families of people with disabilities, and I/DD professionals to create an informative and inspiring experience aimed at supporting people with disabilities as they pursue their personal goals for work, home, and community.

SimplyHome’s conference presentation will engage families to discuss the life-changing effects of assistive technology and smart home options for people with disabilities. SimplyHome will also partner in a panel on Assistive Technology. David Maennle, an individual who uses SimplyHome technology, and his mother, Becky Garland Hopper, will both participate in this panel, discussing how David’s use of assistive technology supports his vision for his life.

David's VisionDavid Maennle’s story (“David’s Vision”) is a great example of how technology can promote independence and create customized outcomes for people with disabilities. David Maennle is an accomplished young man who won’t take no for an answer. Diagnosed with down syndrome as an infant, David has established very specific goals for his home, workplace, and community. He has graduated from Western Carolina University’s University Participant program, formed friendships with people with and without disabilities, successfully completed internships related to emergency medical care and athletic injuries, obtained a job with the Graham County EMS, and frequently volunteers in his community. David’s coworkers attest that he is a valued member of his workplace and his larger community. David also serves in leadership for the advocacy organization NC-TASH.

David’s mother Becky, an outspoken advocate for inclusion, also has a unique perspective on the use of technology to promote independence for people with disabilities. Becky not only functions as Treasurer for the North Carolina TASH, but also works as Finance Officer of Graham County, NC. Because of her position in finance, Becky is keenly aware that David’s chosen lifestyle not only promotes his desired goals for his life, but ends up being a cost-effective way to support people with disabilities.

David uses a SimplyHome system (a customized integration of assistive technology) to promote residential safety, to adhere to a daily schedule, and to enable his family members to provide a natural level of support without intruding on his independence and privacy. David utilizes customized verbal prompts and various sensors throughout his home to reach outcomes related to cooking his own meals, completing a morning routine of self-care before he heads to work, ensuring he meets his health needs every day, and accessing help quickly if needed.

Comparing North Carolina’s typical costs for providing group home or institution-based support services to someone with disabilities similar to David’s, Becky has calculated that David’s chosen, independent lifestyle, supported by assistive technology, saves the state almost $100,000 annually.

 

“Beyond cost, the big factor is his quality of life, and his ability to navigate life himself, which is priceless.”

- Becky Garland Hopper

 

David continues to set and meet goals for his life, whether it be his goal of building his own log cabin, caring for his own bluetick hound, or continuing to work with area emergency services in Western North Carolina.

What can technology do for you and your family? Do you have the courage to change the way you and your loved ones live? Are you ready for technology to step in and provide the independence your family members long for? We’re on this journey together.

Thanks to the willingness of David and other individuals to share their stories, SimplyHome is engaging in thought-provoking discussions on customized technology solutions that promote independence, dignity, and person-centered planning in the lives of people with disabilities.

Sources & Additional Resources:

Implementing Technology: How One Provider Moved Past the Residential Supports Waiting List

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 1.44.51 PMMore than 9,000 individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities are on a waiting list for residential supports, with no funding available. As a proactive response to this dilemma, one S.C. provider decided to move toward implementing technology throughout their programs.

Charles Lea Center (CLC): CLC began creating programs with technology in 2010 as an effort to offer people with disabilities an opportunity to develop skills, promote independence and empower people to live in their own homes. Since then, SimplyHome has continued to work with CLC to help them employ and benefit from the efficacy of such technology. In order to provide new independent living options, customized supports were designed for the residents based on each individual’s daily routine and priorities.

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The programs at CLC now offer individual support teams, person-centered planning, technology, remote monitoring (safety, health and security), and specific skills training for individuals and staff.

• Today, 100% of CLC’s programs offer technology & 93% of the clients supported utilize the technology.

6 new programs have been created over the course of 6 years.

• Using technology, CLC is able to provide support for their clients costing approximately $100 per day, per individual. Without technology, this cost would be approximately $200 per day.

• As of March 2016, savings generated through the use of technology has enabled 20 new individuals to be supported by CLC – without any additional state dollars.

• In a recent survey, when CLC residents were asked if they felt safe in their homes, 100% said yes.

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Which SimplyHome Technology Has Been Implemented?

SimplyHome System
• Panic Sensors: Pendants worn by residents, allowing them to push a button requesting help from staff 24/7.

• Motion Sensors: Creates an alert at night if someone leaves their bed and does not return within a specific amount of time.

• Door/Window Sensors: Placed on all exterior doors and bedroom windows to notify staff of entry/exit during day and night hours.

• Water Sensors: Alerts 24/7 and typically used in the bathroom to alert in case of water overflowing.

• Cameras: One camera is located in a common area to help responding staff triage an issue or alert before they are on-site.

• Medication Dispensers: Can dispense medication up to four times per day at customizable times.

SimplyHome Environmental Controls
• Integrated Tablets & Mounts: Assists in managing the temperature of the residence, doors, TV, and lights. Through various available interfaces, individuals control their environment by using the touch screen, voice activation or a switch.

Phone Paging System & Response Center
• Phone Paging System: To create the fastest response and best overall experience, CLC uses our two-way voice paging system in each room of the home via the resident’s telephone. Remote staff can instantly talk with a resident with the push of a button, without the individual having to answer the phone. Should the individual get out of bed and not return, or call for help, the responding staff can have open communication in a matter of seconds.

• Response Center: Staff members are utilized as a team of responders for alerts generated by sensor activity. The staff have two response cell phones and a computer on-site dedicated to monitoring and following-up on the alerts.

Dakota’s Story

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 11.38.02 AMWe are on the road again and this time we ran into our friend Dakota. Click here to watch the video.

Dakota is a young man who desired to live on his own. Dually diagnosed with mental health issues and IDD, he had been hospitalized twice for aggressive behavior that injured other adults. Dakota’s mother, however, knew that with the right natural supports, he could live in a supported community setting rather than in a group home. His team agreed that given his behavioral challenges, living alone could actually be a better option than congregate living.

When asked about his priorities for independence, Dakota noted:
• He didn’t want anyone to be telling him what to do
• He wanted to have friends over and not have his home look like a preschool (staff had posted large pictures around his home since Dakota was a nonreader)

SimplyHome developed a wireless sensor system to cue Dakota so that he could be reminded by technology rather than by adults.
His cues included:
• Getting his keys and locking his door when leaving the apartment
• Turning off his stove if he left it on longer than 30 minutes
• Taking a shower and bathing with soap
• Using his CPAP machine so he could get better sleep at night

He also used a medication dispenser to remind him to take his medication regularly. At the 6-month mark, Dakota had accomplished the following outcomes with technology as a natural support:
• Staff was reduced to from 2-to-1 to 1 person, and the same staff person, John, remained with him since the team meeting 6 months prior
• Dakota had called our office to request the door cue be removed because he naturally grabbed his keys and locked his door
• Dakota demonstrated 100% compliance with his CPAP machine at night, thus resulting in better sleep for physical and behavioral renewal

At the 9-month mark, Dakota’s SimplyHome representative, Cameron Kempson, visited him at his apartment. When she arrived, he was playing basketball with people from the apartment complex community. John, his staff person, noted that with the assistance of the technology, he and Dakota were able to develop a rapport rather than argue all the time. John had been working with Dakota on social and behavioral skills that now enabled him to play a team sport with neighbors.

At the 9-month mark, Dakota had accomplished the following outcomes with technology as a natural support:
• Maintained the same staff person for the 9-month period and had reduced staff hours from 12 hours to 6 hours per day
• Transitioned to using a smart phone alert for medication and demonstrated 100% compliance
• Cooked meals independently without leaving the stove on or burning food
• Most importantly, demonstrated success in activities of daily living, ability to self-advocate, and integrate into his neighborhood community

David’s Vision

We hit the road to see how people have been empowered using our technology. For our first stop, meet David.SimplyHomeDavid is an accomplished young man who doesn’t take no for an answer. David was born with an intellectual disability but like his mother Becky Garland says, “he is able to do everything that he puts his mind to. It’s just a little bit differently.” After graduating from college, David was eager to live in his own place. With SimplyHome technology throughout David’s home, David is able to live out that dream. He utilizes verbal prompting, door sensors, motion sensors, bed sensors and pendants to remain safe in his own home. His mother is able to login to a website to track sensor activity if she is notified of an issue.

David’s Vision is his dream of one day building a log cabin for himself on some family property with his red pickup truck and coon dog by his side. They want David’s Vision to help others with I/DD to attain safe, affordable independent housing. To make a donation, contact SimplyHome’s Marketing Department at kristen@simply-home.com.

For Today’s Retirees, There’s No Place Like Home

Aging in place is an ever growing idea throughout the baby boomer generation. As Dorothy said, “there is not place like home.” This rings true for people of all ages, but baby boomers are clinging tight to this thought.

See what people are saying about aging in place in this article by USA Today and Newsmax.

For Today’s Retirees, There’s No Place Like Home

(photo: Thinkstock)

(photo: Thinkstock)

American retirees these days are gravitating toward the notion of staying put and “aging in place” rather than moving to sunnier climes, new data show.

USA Today reported an AARP study found the overwhelming majority of people 50 years of age and over want to remain in their home and community “for as long as possible.”

Separately, a Merrill Lynch/Age Wave survey concluded 65 percent of retirees say they are living in the best homes of their lives right where they are.

“There is something deeply nourishing about our homes, and people become increasingly appreciative of that emotional connection as they get older,” says gerontologist Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave. “It’s a rich emotional nest.”

Many retirees want to remain in their home “because they are most comfortable with what is most familiar,” psychologist Mary Languirand, co-author of How to Age in Place, told USA Today. “People are going to do whatever they can to maintain that sense of comfort. That is the ideal place in a lot of people’s minds.”

The Merrill Lynch/Age Wave survey concluded a majority – 58 percent – are interested in new technologies such as cleaning robots, 80 percent are interested in tech-enabled efficiencies such as smart thermostats and 76 percent are interested in technologies to maintain their health, such as sensors, alerts and air purification devices.

Dychtwald says 52 percent of people over the age of 75 live alone.

“Technology can help people keep an eye on mom or dad,” he said. “The good news is that all of these breakthroughs are on the drawing board or already available, but they are waiting for the market to take more full advantage of them.”

USA Today noted AARP offers a guide aimed at helping consumers stay in their homes as long as possible.

The guide offers tips and suggesting ranging from simple do-it-yourself fixes to more expensive improvements, and also includes worksheets.

See the original article about what people are saying about aging in place here.

Siblings of special-needs children: They are their brother’s keeper

Often times the parents of children are mentioned. While parents probably play the biggest role in the life of a child with special needs, there is another big time player in their life: their siblings. Brothers and sisters of a child with special needs play a special role in that they are closer to their age and understand some of the struggles of growing up in a way that is different than the parent may view the child’s life. Siblings are typically the ones who go to school and experience life together. This being the case, having a sibling with special needs heightens a child’s sense of empathy and compassion in a way that other children may not understand.  Check out this article highlighting the siblings of special needs kids. 
 

Siblings of special-needs children: They are their brother’s keeper

It’s a funny dichotomy.
Parents of special-needs children are often recognized and lauded for their unflagging service to their children. Yet, the non-disabled siblings of the same families can go unnoticed.

It’s tempting to look at the challenges of such a family and conclude that having a sibling with a disability is a damaging burden — one which can marginalize and embitter the brothers or sisters of a child with special needs. We might feel it is a tragedy
not only for the child with special needs, but also for the siblings.

It isn’t the case, though.

In my family, which includes two boys who have multiple disabilities as well as two typical boys, I’ve seen the opposite. The same is true in the myriad families I know who had both disabled and non-disabled children.

Siblings of a special-needs kid are the lucky ones, because they grow into people who understand selflessness.

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 4.01.05 PMThey learn at a tender age to serve and have endless opportunities to offer unending service at home.

My eldest son has never known anything different. At age 6, he started washing his own hair in the bath before instinctively reaching over to wash his 4-year-old brother’s hair as well. In the car, he buckled his little brother’s seatbelt automatically before buckling his own. Now as a middle-schooler, he picks up the toddler when the 10-year-old starts violently rampaging. He calmly talks to the 6-year-old, whose anxiety can spin out of control. He watches over his younger brothers with gentleness.

Read the rest of the article here.

Give Technology A Try

With 97% of seniors wanting to reside in their own home for as long as possible, it is crucial that proper steps are taken in order for that to happen. Though this is a desire for almost the entire aging population, less than half of them have done research in order to find ways to make this dream a reality. On account of the lack of research done, it often does not turn out favoring the aging. Often families turn to traditional ways of caring for the aging; that being assisted living or nursing home.

Though the traditional route is not a bad option, it is often not what the person it is affecting the most wanted. It does, however, make sense as to why people would want their aging parents to be in a facility that is assisted living or a nursing home. They take a sigh of relief because they are assured that their loved one is getting the care they need. However, not all people thrive in such an environment. Often, the person does not want to be in a place like that, but would rather prefer to be at home where they are comfortable.

Technology for aging is often overlooked on account of lack of knowledge and the fear of being watched over all the time. Trying something new can be intimidating, but in the case of assistive technology, it almost always proves fruitful.  No matter if the technology is needed for medication monitoring cooking safety such as a stove or oven monitor or if it is a bit more extensive like a system that monitors daily living sequences, there are options that are totally user friendly and provide personalized outcomes.

Knowing that is only step one. Step two is doing some research on what you or your loved one actually needs. Are you afraid of falling and not having the ability to call someone? Are you worried about taking medicine on time? Is wandering of concern? With the help of family and professionals, it is crucial to decide what your priorities look like.

Step three is giving it a try. Technology can be for everyone just so long as everyone is on board with it. Often is it a challenge if not everyone is committed to the technology because then it either goes unused or is misused in which case it is not assistive technology because it loses its assistive aspect.

Be encouraged that this technology is not in an effort to be “Big Brother,” but rather to be an attentive caretaker, even from a distance.

Former First Lady Discusses Aging

LauraBush

 

Listen to what Former First Lady Laura Bush has to say about aging gracefully, her worries of aging and what she is doing to keep her mind sharp.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/15/aging-survey-research/11921043/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=usatoday-newstopstories&utm_reader=feedly

If You Build It, They Will Come

We are thrilled to see that just up the road from us (about a half an hour from our home office) at Western Carolina University, they are reaching all populations with higher education. What started as an idea pitched in a graduate level class is now a fully inclusive 2-year program funded by passion. Funding over 42 dreams of higher education, Ruby’s Rainbow is using University Participant Programs to bring students with Down Syndrome to college.

Ali and Zach have found their niche in Cullowhee. With natural supports, independent living and education, these students are making friends, pursuing their passions and building community in a way that every college student does.

Take a look at the whole story about a hopeful mom’s trip to visit Western Carolina to find Zach and Ali thriving at Western Carolina with the help of Ruby’s Rainbow.