Top 10 Ways to Embrace More Person-Centered Language

Does Language Matter

It’s 2017, and the language we choose — in particular, the terms we use to describe people who differ from us — has never seemed more important. Every day seems to bring another news story about cultural and social divides.

Language, however, does not only create barriers — it can also build bridges. That’s why we are taking time to revisit the idea of language being person-centered, especially as we continue to work with people in the disability community.

Want to use empowering, respectful language? Here are ten ways to make your language more person-centered (besides, of course, simply using a person’s name!).


10. Take time to eliminate outdated and offensive words from your vocabulary.

Some of the terms used to describe people with disabilities are outdated, offensive, and considered slang. Need some examples? Here is a great place to start: Terms to Avoid When Writing About Disability.


9. Avoid using the language of disability to describe potentially negative traits.

When people in our culture feel that there is a slowness in understanding something, they often describe ourselves or others as “retarded.” Don’t understand what the big deal is? Read more: Eliminating the R-word.

When we feel that someone is distracted or not very focused on a task, we may describe them as being a “spaz.” In the United States, many people do not realize that this term is derived from the word “spastic” – an alternation in muscle tone that is seen forms of cerebral palsy. In other English-speaking countries, however, both words are used as derogatory terms for people with disabilities.  Read more: The origin of “spaz.”

When we use disability-related language to describe negative traits, we promote the view that people with disabilities are somehow defective or abnormal, a view that contributes to the isolation, oppression, and maltreatment of people with disabilities.


8. Take time to understand why individuals may prefer person-first language (PFL) over identity-first language (IFL), or vice versa.

The theory behind person-first language (PFL)—saying “a person with a developmental disability” rather than “disabled person,” or a “person with quadriplegia” rather than “a quadriplegic” – is that it emphasizes the person, not the disability: “By placing the person first, the disability is no longer the primary, defining characteristic of an individual, but one of several aspects of the whole person.” Continue reading about PFL.

While it’s important to be familiar with PFL, keep in mind that many individuals prefer identity-first language (IFL). In identity-first language, “disabled” is a “perfectly acceptable way for a person to identify,” because PFL may unintentionally create negative attitudes:

“Consider how PFL intentionally separates a person from their disability. Although this supposedly acknowledges personhood, it also implies that “disability” and “disabled” are negative, derogatory words. In other words, disability is something society believes a person should try to dissociate from if they want to be considered a whole person. This makes it seem as though being disabled is something of which you should be ashamed. PFL essentially buys into the stigma it claims to be fighting.”

-Emily Ladau at Think Inclusive

Two examples of communities that generally tend to prefer IFL are the Autistic Community and the Deaf Community. Many individuals in the Deaf Community capitalize the “D” in deaf to indicate being Deaf as a culture and identity. Read more about IFL.


7. Recognize cultural assumptions: The Religious Model

In the United States, our language is deeply affected by four major models of understanding disability: the religious, the medical, the educational, and the social.

The religious (or superstitious) model of disability gave rise to phrases like “afflicted with” or “stricken by” or “suffers from” a disability – reflecting a belief that disability somehow resulted from divine judgment or that the person was a victim or somehow morally deviant.

This way of thinking has also contributed to the devaluing, oppression, and isolation of people with disabilities. These terms also assume that a person with a disability is suffering or does not have a high quality of life. Read more about the Religious Model.


6. Recognize cultural assumptions: The Medical Model

The medical model of understanding disability promotes language that sees people with disabilities as “patients” with a “sickness” or “disease” that needs to be “cured.”

This way of talking about disability has also contributed to the isolation and oppression of people with disabilities, because disability is labelled as contagious or dangerous. Again, there is an assumption that a person with a disability is suffering or is a victim. Read more about the Medical Model.


5. Recognize cultural assumptions: The Educational Model

The educational model tends to promote language that sees people with disabilities as needing supports or assistance to become more like “the rest of us.” This view values or devalues people based on their capacity to adapt, “promotes low expectations of people with disabilities, and assumes unequal relationships.” Read more about the Educational Model.

This way of understanding disability often contributes to more isolation and the loss of rights, particularly in academic and professional settings. This view of disability also leads others to assume a patronizing role of “helpful teacher or parent” around people with disabilities.


4. Strive to understand the Social Model of understanding disability.

In contrast to the models above, the Social Model views disability as a mismatch between a person’s traits and their environment, and teaches that human culture turns natural traits into disabilities. A person’s disability can “become less severe without anything about their brain or abilities changing, if their environment accommodates their needs.” Read more about the Social Model.

This model of disability places the need for adaptation not on the individual with the disability, but on the environment and culture.


3. Re-examine the stereotypes our culture promotes about disability.

How many times have you seen a person with disability portrayed on television as inspirational? Or as dangerous to others? Or as a person without any flaws?

Laurie Block, in her article Stereotypes About People with Disabilities, describes six common stereotypes to be aware of. She describes one such stereotype as the idea that a person with a disability is a “superhuman,” triumphing over adversity in a way that serves as an example to others. Another stereotype is that people with disabilities are “holy innocents with special grace, with the function of inspiring others to value life.”


2. Choose to care about the preferences of other people, rather than just caring that you are “correct.”

In the end, our attitudes are more important than our choice of language:

“While terminology is important in shaping viewpoints, attitudes are even more important. Most people with disabilities are less offended by occasional outdated terminology than by obvious paternalistic or patronizing attitudes … Sincere respect and equality are easily recognized.” (Read more from Disability Info)

Language that is respectful IS possible – but only if we are willing to slow down, examine our terminology, learn to be better listeners, and transform our own attitudes.  Not sure where to start? If possible, ask the people with disabilities who are already present in your life, and then start listening. A commitment to listening demonstrates willingness to put another person’s preferences, desires, and priorities first.


1. Remember that language is more powerful than we can imagine. 

During the worst eras of disability history, people who did not have disabilities chose terminology – usually words referring to inanimate objects—to describe people with disabilities, in order to dehumanize or separate them from the rest of society.

During the 21st century in the United States, people with disabilities were labelled as “undesirables,” “morons,” “degenerate,” “defective,” “lunatics,” “idiots,” “unfit,” and “feeble-minded.” These dehumanizing and objectifying terms were used to justify mass sterilization, institutionalization, oppression, and murder. During the eugenics era, the United States was a principal actor in promoting the “perfection of the race” through these forms of oppression.

These eras of history should compel us to pay closer attention to our language and our attitudes. If we do not know why we have so many conversations about language and terminology, and if we do not educate ourselves on disability history, we will not understand the power of language, and we will be at risk of repeating many terrible mistakes as a culture. What we teach our children and how we expect others to speak about disability can deeply affect every aspect of life, from access to a life in community to access to a voting booth or civil rights.


Lastly, don’t forget: One of the most empowering, person-centered uses of language is to simply use a person’s name. 


For further reading:

Learn more about identity-first language and person-first language:

Learn about using more respectful, empowering language:

Learn more about the different models of understanding disability:

Challenge your own assumptions + visit important moments in disability history:

Fellow Technology Leader Therap features SimplyHome and CLC in New Video

SimplyHome is delighted to be featured in Therap’s newest video, which highlights the role of assistive technology in providing state-of-the-art, affordable, and person-centered care.

The Charles Lea Center in Spartanburg, SC has pioneered the implementation of technology in their organization, one of the first in South Carolina, both through Therap (a provider of electronic record keeping) and through SimplyHome’s assistive technology systems, in order to support CLC’s residents, care staff, and administration.

Charles Lea Staff Member Shanena R.The video highlights the role of technology by interviewing Charles Lea staff and South Carolina policymakers. Here are two of our favorite quotes from the interviews:

“Technology gives individuals both the freedom they are capable of, and the support they need.”


“The technology allowed staff to spend more quality time with individuals.”


What else are our partners saying about using SimplyHome technology? Watch the video to find out! For the full video, featuring the Charles Lea Center, SimplyHome, and Therap technology, click here.


















Monarch Pilot Program: Smarter Homes, Greater Independence


SimplyHome is pleased to share technology success stories from our providers across the U.S. and other countries. Today we are featuring two stories of individuals who receive services through Monarch, a nonprofit that supports thousands of North Carolinians who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness, and substance use disorders.

Monarch began a pilot project in 2015, seeking to enhance independence for 46 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental illness living in eight homes in three North Carolina counties. The project combines SimplyHome’s wireless smart home technology with adaptive home modifications to create healthier, safer living environments where residents can have greater control of their daily activities.

You can read the full article in Monarch’s Reaching Dreams Fall/Winter 2016 Newsletter (the stories below are excerpts, used with permission, from that newsletter).



For individuals like Crissy Fiolek, the installation of smart home technology like motion-sensor and iPad-controlled lighting, medication dispensers, panic pendants, an induction stove, temperature-controlled faucets and other features, has had a significant impact.


Monarch SmartHome 1

Pictured (l-r): Joann and Crissy, residents of one of Monarch’s smart homes, settle in for an evening at home after locking the front door and setting the alarm using an iPad and smart home technology.

For example, before the smart home technology was installed, Fiolek needed to be reminded three or four times a day by staff to take her medication. She needed assistance in taking the right dosage at the right time. As part of this project, Fiolek received a medication dispenser. The dispenser reminds her when to take her medication and safely provides the correct dosage for her. If she does not take it within a predetermined period, the dispenser accesses the wireless home system and alerts staff she may need assistance.

After just three months, Fiolek rarely has to be reminded to take her medication. She is now more independent when it comes to managing her medication and has more confidence and higher self-esteem as a result.



With the help of smart home technology, Melvin Burton has taken greater advantage of his unsupervised time in the home. Many of the high-functioning people Monarch supports have unsupervised time, where they are able to stay by themselves in the home without staff for short periods.

Unsupervised time increases independence and fosters a sense of personal responsibility and self-reliance, but many residents are afraid to use it because they fear they will need staff and be unable to contact them. With this project, Burton now wears a wrist pendant which is set to alert staff if he presses the button and needs support during his unsupervised time.


Monarch Smart Home 2

Melvin shows off his wrist pendant, which is set to alert staff when he presses the button and needs their support.


Monarch continues to evaluate the success of this pilot project and hopes to expand it to other homes across the state. The Smart Home Project was developed in partnership with Trillium Health Resources and was made possible with generous support from The Harold H. Bate Foundation, the CarolinaEast Foundation, and many other donors.


About Monarch:

Monarch is a nonprofit organization that supports thousands of people statewide with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness, and substance use disorders.









Finding Independence and Saving for the Future in NC

David and his mom



David Maennle is an accomplished young man who directly benefits from assistive technology in North Carolina. David’s chosen lifestyle — living independently in the community with the help of technology — saves the State of North Carolina almost $80,000 per year.

David was born with an intellectual disability, but as his mother Becky says, “He is able to do everything that he puts his mind to. He just does it a bit differently.” David currently has a job and is saving for his dream of building his own log cabin. He rents his own apartment and is able to apply the independent living skills he learned at Western Carolina University.

The use of SimplyHome’s sensors and verbal prompts enable David to:

  • Cook his own meals and be notified if he leaves the stove on.
  • Complete a morning routine of self-care, eating breakfast, taking medication, and tidying up before going to work at a scheduled time.
  • Receive a verbal reminder to close and lock the doors.
  • Access help quickly if needed.


Increasing Independence in a Cost-Effective Way

The SimplyHome technology David uses has two components: an annual monitoring fee and a one-time fee for the technology itself:

  • $779.40 annual monitoring fee
  • $6,827 one-time cost for customized SimplyHome System

David’s use of this technology reduces his living costs, enabling him to take advantage of additional supports such as supported employment, in-home skill building and personal care for $80,055 per year. Altogether his living supports total $87,661.

If David were not using technology, he would not have access to these supports. Institutional home care costs would be $60,794 per year and group home rates would be $105,495 per year. That comes to a total of $166,290 per year, which nearly doubles the cost of living in his own home.

The chart below contrasts the annual costs for David’s supports if he were in a group home and receiving day supports, with the annual costs for his more independent lifestyle of living in his own apartment.


Comparison Chart



David lives a fully-immersed life on his own terms, including working for the local EMS, cooking his own meals, and saving for his “Vision”: building his own log cabin, driving his own red truck, and owning a blue-tick hound.

Without the assistance of technology, so much independence and integration into the community would not be possible.


DV logo

To learn more about David’s story and to get a tour of his home, watch the “David’s Vision” video.


You can also learn more by checking out David’s Facebook page.



Funding is available for individuals in North Carolina to afford to live independently with the use of assistive technology. The NC Innovations Waiver provides funding to local management entities and managed care organizations.  The services provided through the waiver empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to:

  • Choose where they live
  • Choose how they spend their time and what they do to be connected to the community
  • Self-direct or manage their supports
  • Support their own growth
  • Obtain access to the adaptive technology they need to live in their community
NC Innovations Waiver Quick Facts*
  • Individual cost limit / reimbursement rate in NC: $135k (maximum)
  • Innovations Waiver cost limit / reimbursement rate for NC per individual: $60k
  • Annual average cost of institutional care in NC: $120k
  • As of October 2016:
    • Waiver Slots: 12,488
    • Current Wait List: 10,000 individuals

*From The Division of Medical Assistance, Community Based Services (North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services)


Want to explore other ways that technology can empower independence? Contact SimplyHome at 877.684.3581 or email
































ANCOR Pushes for Change

ANCOR Urges Changes


ANCOR Urges Providers and Legislators to Adapt Care and Funding Models to Include Technology


At this year’s Technology Summit & Showcase, ANCOR (American Network of Community Options and Resources) issued a stirring declaration of the need for change in service and funding models in a press release, “Bringing Long-Term Supports & Services into the 21st Century.  [Read the PDF version of the ANCOR Statement here.]


ANCOR’s statement marks a pivotal moment for providers seeking to keep up with changing resources and for states that face long waiting lists.


SimplyHome’s Jason Ray explains why this is such a big moment for ANCOR: “ANCOR is not merely saying that incorporating technology is important — they’re saying it is a requirement for providers to remain sustainable in the future and to meet the requirements of the HCBS final rule and the Olmstead Act. And ANCOR is also saying that technology must be included as a form of support just like staff support — while many still see technology and staff support as being mutually exclusive.”


Perhaps the most striking part of ANCOR’s statement was the assertion that current service models actually deter innovation and hinder providers from meeting the expectations of Olmstead and the Final Rule:


The methods, standards, funding, and accountability of today’s service system for people with disabilities and seniors were established when the only tool available to supervise and support individuals was the physical presence of a caregiver [...]

These outdated tools and way of thinking deter innovation, self-determination, quality outcomes and the most effective use of resources.

Employing technology to support individuals and their families can not only be resource-efficient, but, it can offer a powerful tool to enable community integration and person-centered supports by extending the reach of support persons.


While previous service models that do not incorporate technology as a form of support are certainly understandable, they are no longer sufficient. Providers can no longer ignore the great potential of technology in caring for their clients. The CMS final rule defines outcome-oriented services not by the safety of the individual, but by the nature and quality of the individual’s experiences (including, but not limited to, the individual’s safety).


Many barriers — primarily, regulatory and payment methodologies — can limit an individual’s access to technological resources. CMS must identify and remove these barriers in order to provide for greater independence, privacy, and community integration of individuals with disabilities.


SimplyHome at Work to Transform Models of Care


At SimplyHome, we focus on these questions: What goals does the individual have for himself or herself? How can technology increase or improve this person’s independence? How can we enable this person to navigate daily life with greater dignity, to take reasonable risks with appropriate safety nets of support, and to learn life skills that will empower the independence desired by the individual?


Supported by technology, many individuals can move into more independent living settings.

Supported by technology, many individuals can move into more independent living settings.
(Watch Laura and Vicki’s story here.)


SimplyHome’s custom solutions seek to empower individuals to meet their own goals, whether that means cooking independently, living in their own homes, being responsible for their own daily medications and activities, or transitioning to a more independent residential setting.


As ANCOR asserts in the position paper, “If supports are to be truly person-centered, individuals should, with the assistance of their selected circle of support, make decisions on critical quality of life matters and how to best achieve them including through the use of technology.”


What Does This Mean for Providers?


The incorporation of technology not only enables care that is more person-centered, but can provide cost-effective alternatives to care based on 24/7 staffing.


Providers who have worked with SimplyHome technology have been able to widen the scope and depth of their services to many more individuals, and empower their staff to attend to the most urgent care needs. Individuals who need less in-person care and who are capable of learning independent living skills are empowered to work towards their own goals.


Providers do face hurdles as they explore new models of care. Many existing care models are tied to existing assets already owned by the providers, and the individuals providing services are comfortable with how these supports are currently delivered. Supports are also built around “doing for” the individual and minimizing risk to the organization. This usually results in too much oversight and way too little opportunity for the individual with disabilities. This requires providers to shift their culture away from “doing for” to training, supporting, and engaging with individuals to enable them to have the dignity of risk in a new way of living.


Individuals supported by technology can set goals for their daily routines -- and meet them using that technology. (Watch Sophia's story here.)

Individuals supported by technology can set goals for their daily routines — and meet them using that technology.
(Watch Sophia’s story here.)


What Does This Mean for States?


By opening new avenues for services to be provided, and by making such services more cost-effective, the states can begin to impact their current waiting list populations without increasing the funds required to provide such supports.


Many states (including PA and NC, who both released new supported living waivers to include the use of technology) are moving towards the inclusion of technology supports in supported living environments. This will allow individuals to be properly supported without staff or family in-person support when it isn’t necessary, and it will allow for much more cost-effective outcomes.


Many states currently have waiting lists for residential supports, so even if you are eligible for services, you may not be able to receive services. For example, there are over 10,000 people on the NC waiting list, over 9,000 in SC, and over 13,000 in PA. In New Mexico, the waiting list time is 11-12 years once a person becomes eligible and enrolls in services.


How Does This Look in Real Life? The Charles Lea Story


Since 2008, the Charles Lea Center (CLC) in Spartanburg, SC, has utilized SimplyHome technology to provide support to individuals in settings that range from traditional staff-based care to independent apartments.


During a six-year period of gradually incorporating more technology into their support services, CLC was able to start seven new programs, generating enough savings to enable CLC to support six new individuals, without using any additional state dollars.


In 2014, CLC created a transition program that helps individuals make the move into their own homes and gain the skills they need to live independently. The unique program offers training and assistance as necessary from a centralized office, and over time the individuals become comfortable enough with our technology that they are ready to move into their own apartments or homes.


Today, 93% of the transition program’s residents use SimplyHome technology in their independent living settings, while 37% of all CLC programs use technology to support individuals. By integrating technology into their support services, CLC is able to provide support for their clients for less than $100 per day per individual. Without technology, this cost would be approximately $200 per day.


Most telling is how the individuals feel in their technology-supported living settings: in a recent survey, when CLC residents were asked if they felt safe in their homes, 100% said yes. Two individuals who have fully taken advantage of the transition program are Laura and Vicki, who now live in their own apartment together:

Watch Laura & Vicki’s Story: Gaining Independence


How Does This Look in Real Life? The Imagine! Story


Imagine!, a Colorado non-profit that helps people with developmental disabilities, is also demonstrating how technology can be a tool for independence.


“We’re looking at new ways to keep people in the community in a safe and secure setting that also supports independence,” said Greg Wellems, the Chief Operating Officer at Imagine!


He continues, “The idea is to use technology in a community-based setting that will allow people to be monitored remotely and will allow their loved ones or caregivers to know when they are home, what area of the apartment or living space they are accessing, remotely lock doors, remotely let people know what facilities they are using, and support them with medication adherence.”


One individual who uses technology supports through Imagine! is Sophia Hicks, who uses SimplyHome solutions to promote safety, to live in her own place with a roommate, and to receive verbal prompts about completing her daily routine:


Watch Sophia’s Story: Independent and supported




 Want more stories like this?

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New York: Assistive Technology

NY state

How does assistive technology benefit individuals and providers?   Our partner Rick Bahr from Innovative Services, Inc. is addressing the question this week at the South Dakota 2016 Creating Possibilities Conference: Inspiring Creative Minds.  Joining Rick is a New York-based provider we serve, Innovative Resources for Independence (IRI).

IRI is one of 18 providers in NY already utilizing SimplyHome technology to support independence.  IRI opened their first supportive apartment in Brooklyn in 2012.  Today, close to 20 percent of their home residents are living in apartments. With use of the latest technology, staff is immediately alerted to any unusual activity, such as if a front door is left open in the middle of the night, or a stove is left on unattended.

This video demonstrates how SimplyHome technology has helped individuals at IRI live independently.

Wildwood Programs, also located in NY, has transitioned 16 people over the last four years to more independent living settings. On average each year, they have seen $39,000 savings per person. Annually, that is $624,000 in savings for 16 individuals.  By adding assistive technology where applicable, they have already begun expanding the savings and independence.

NY - 74 percent

United Cerebral Palsy of New York City, Inc. (UCP of NYC) are using staff at one location 21 hours per week, versus 24/7, saving them at least $3,000 per month.

Ability Beyond is seeing significant savings  - Their Clapboard program (serving eight individuals), is saving $3.99 for every $1 spent in their first year of using technology. After the first year, they are saving $11.23.  The overall savings after the first year is approximately $8,752.  

Their Liberty program (serving four individuals), is saving $9.05 for every $1 spent in the first year of using technology.  After the first year, they are saving $82.05 for every $1 spent. The below chart demonstrates their overall savings.

NY - Dollars Saved

Who is using the technology?

Jane is 57 years old and lives in a supportive apartment since February 2013.  Each day she demonstrates that she needs minimal supervision.  When she is not working, Jane enjoys cooking, spending time at church or going to the casino for a little escape.

Thomas longed for and even demanded an apartment of his own.  With some very simple supports for front door activity, cooking safety and medication supports, he has made a remarkable transition to his apartment that he shares with a roommate.

George has a history of unstable blood pressure. To help him monitor his health, a telehealth blood pressure cuff (which he operates himself), communicates readings to the nurse immediately if the readings are out of a specified range. The nurse can then analyze trends.

NY - Quote

Success Gained Through Technology

SimplyHome technology engages local, familiar and natural supports so they can be available when they’re needed, instead of being at a site all the time just in case there is a need.

This week is NYSACRA’s 39th Annual Conference, “Listen Up,” taking place April 19th – 22nd. Our New York partner Meghan O’Sullivan will be speaking about the types of technology available and the outcomes of a grant recently administered by NYSACRA.

The NYSACRA Balancing Incentive Program (BIP) Grant is an opportunity for 20 individuals in New York to access the efficacy of using technology, providing outcomes for more efficient support.

Technology supports such as the SimplyHome System, Medication Dispenser and Telehealth Suite enable new options for independent living for these clients. Because the technology has non-invasive solutions, SimplyHome technology engages local, familiar and natural supports so they can be available when they’re needed, instead of being at a site all the time just in case there is a need.

The following data was collected over approximately four months.  Even in the short-term, success can be gained when we allow individuals options and choices for the way they want to live.

Potential Total Savings: SimplyHome System, Medication Dispenser, Telehealth

potential savings

The potential total savings for these 20 individuals over a four month period (this includes the SimplyHome System, Medication Dispenser and Telehealth) is $119,880 or approximately $1,500 per person, per month.

SimplyHome System

What it does: By communicating with multiple sensors to observe activities of daily living, the SimplyHome System proactively alerts caregivers and loved ones of changes in behavioral patterns. Text, email or phone alerts are generated when concerning events happen or don’t happen.

Client Example:

Two individuals sharing a residence are using a SimplyHome System. Each client has a panic pendant and bed pad.

Outcome Summary:

Seven separate events triggered immediate alerts to staff of potential issues for the residents in their home. This included smoke in the home, doors opening late at night and clients requesting assistance from staff.  In four months, one individual pressed the panic pendant 12 times.

The data also showed staff how frequently one client was leaving bed during the night, allowing the client to manage evening routines and self-care more effectively.

SimplyHome Medication Dispenser

What it does: SimplyHome’s Medication Dispenser is a tamper-proof, programmable device that can dispense pre-filled medications up to four times each day. Should the client not access their medication at the proper time, the dispenser can send an alert to the individual, support staff or natural supports through a phone call, text message or email.


Seven medication dispensers were used during this four month study, with a total of 1,048 dispensing times.


The systems showed a 96% compliance with accessing medications at the proper time. New levels of independence were gained by the individuals being able to now access medication on their own.  It also gave family and staff peace of mind that should the individual miss a dose, they can be notified.

SimplyHome Telehealth Supports

What it does: These wellness tools offer remote monitoring of blood pressure, blood oxygen, glucose, body temperature, and weight. Readings are collected automatically in the home through a wireless connection to the SimplyHome Hub. The highly trained care staff center has oversight from a registered nurse for targeted interventions of readings outside of a predefined range.

 Client Example:

Monitoring Blood Glucose:  Custom Range for the client is 70 – 200.


45 total readings received over a four month period.

12 of the 45 total readings indicated glucose levels were outside of the custom range, issuing 12 call center interventions.

For this client, staff was engaged on approximately 9% of the total readings, whereas in the past they most likely would have been involved on all 45 readings, despite the glucose levels being in a normal range for the client.

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To learn more about SimplyHome, check out our website at or email Customer Service at

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.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 1.44.11 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 1.42.43 PM

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.

Support without Intrusion: SimplyHome and the UCP NYC Summit

“…for so many people I meet, it is their support systems, not their support needs, that create the challenge.”

We’re excited to announce that our New York Partner, Meghan O’Sullivan, is presenting today at 2:30pm ET on behalf of SimplyHome at this week’s United Cerebral Palsy of New York City’s Family Connect Summit. “Addressing Today and Preparing for the Future” is being held at the New York Academy of Medicine and focuses on future changes and embracing technology.

Meghan will address the technology supports SimplyHome offers, including remote support and medication management. Most importantly, she’ll touch on why it’s so important for the industry to move into this direction of independence through technology.

The shift to technology to provide support calls for a fundamental change.  “It is the role of the organization to support the individual as a team member in achieving their desired outcomes,” says Meghan.

What is Assistive Technology?

The U.S. Assistive Technology Act of 2004 defines it as: “Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.”

At SimplyHome, it’s providing support without intrusion.

Meghan mentions the SimplyHome System providing remote support – How does this work?

The SimplyHome system uses sensors and a base unit (which can be setup via internet or a cellular connection) to notify contacts of specific activity pertaining to doors, windows, stoves, etc. For example, an individual might have stove sensors in place to help notify staff or family if the stove is being turned on in the middle of the night.


How are remote supports implemented?

SimplyHome assesses the needs of the individual and creates customized, effective supports based on those needs. Once the sensors are installed, SimplyHome continues to provide ongoing 24/7 Customer Service.

Are you stuck in an old system?

There are effective funding options we’re happy to speak with you about, as well as an innovative team at SimplyHome to help you navigate how you can provide the path to independence for individuals.

Many of the stories we tell about individuals utilizing our technology to live independently are presented as a challenging story, but as Meghan says, “…for so many people I meet, it is their support systems, not their support needs, that create the challenge.”

To learn more about SimplyHome, contact our Customer Service team toll free at (877) 684-3581 or email

Transitioning to Technology: 2016 S.C. Human Service Providers Conference

“Last summer when I visited Ben, I got to sleep on his couch! I never thought I would be able to say that I had spent the week at my son’s place, but I DID!”

We’re excited to be part of the 2016 South Carolina Human Service Providers Conference, beginning tomorrow, March 9th in Myrtle Beach, S.C.  One of our providers we work closely with, the Charles Lea Center (CLC), will be speaking about their programs and how SimplyHome technology has enabled their residents to live independently.

Executive Director of CLC, Jerry Bernard, will be presenting “Integrating Assistive Technology in Supporting Individuals with Disabilities” from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. tomorrow.  Following the presentation, there will be a drawing for a Fibit. Have questions about something you learned? Stop by the SimplyHome booth!

Since 2010, CLC has been employing technology to assist individuals in moving towards becoming more involved in their community, beginning with living on their own.

independent living

What are specific ways CLC residents use SimplyHome technology in their homes?

As part of their “Community Transitional Services Program,” CLC utilizes SimplyHome technology to assist individuals in achieving independence in their homes, ultimately allowing residents to envision and live a safe, productive and healthier life.

CLC sensors

Many individuals use a variety of sensors with customized announcements and notifications to staff, such as stove sensors and door sensors.  Stove sensors allow individuals to cook their own meals, reminding them to turn off the stove and notifying staff if the stove is turned on during specific times of day.

Bed pads also can be programmed with announcements during customized times, to prompt individuals to leave their bed.

Medication Dispensers remind individuals to take their medication, while emailing / calling / texting staff if a dose is missed.

Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS) allow individuals to press a pendant if they fall or need assistance, alerting a call center, which can then call staff.

Ben is one individual at CLC who is able to live on his own by using SimplyHome technology.  But Ben isn’t the only one benefiting from this transition, as his mother can attest.  “Last summer when I visited Ben, I got to sleep on his couch! I never thought I would be able to say that I had spent the week at my son’s place, but I DID! And over the Christmas holidays, he rode the TRAIN from Spartanburg to Philadelphia (and back) BY HIMSELF.”

What are some ways CLC, as a provider, implemented SimplyHome technology?

  • Assessing the needs of individuals in their programs, by interviewing residents to determine their interest to live independently and considering their routines
  • Dedicating time and resources to teach individuals new skills
  • Training staff and incorporating individualized support teams within programs

Transition Home: Laura and Vicki

To learn more about SimplyHome, contact our Customer Service team toll free at (877) 684-3581 or email