SimplyHome Featured in the Biltmore Beacon

2017BiltmoreBeacon

Photo by Sandra Barnes

From Alaska to New York, from Canada to California, wherever SimplyHome goes, you can be sure we are working to enable people to live more independently by using technology.

Recently our Chief Development Officer, Jason Ray, spoke with the Biltmore Beacon about his ever-expanding work to empower people. For Jason, this includes everyone from his own aging family members, to Alaskans with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to service providers all over the continent:

“A lot of people who want to remain in place at their homes can’t afford full-time, live-in assistance,” Ray says. “For someone with a disability, technology can make things possible.”

The article focuses on the Ray family and how they seek to create better outcomes and better lives for people whose strengths and abilities are often overlooked.

Read the full article here.

 

SimplyHome’s Jason Ray Honored with Business Leadership Award

SimplyHome is proud to announce that our Chief Development Officer, Jason Ray, has been awarded the 2017 Small Business Leader of the Year Award by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.

 

Watch the Video: Jason Ray, 2017 Small Business Leader of the Year

Watch the Video: Jason Ray, 2017 Small Business Leader of the Year

 

SimplyHome’s Jason Ray receives the Small Business Leader of the Year Award. Source: Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce 

 

 

Several of the SimplyHome staff attended the May 15th event (the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Asheville Chamber and Economic Development Coalition), which took place at Asheville’s Omni Grove Park Inn, to see Jason receive the award in person.

 

 

 

SimplyHome’s Customer Service Representative Michelle Russell chats with another attendee at the Annual Meeting of the Chamber of Commerce. Source: Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce 

 

The Small Business Leader of the Year Awards program recognizes two individuals who clearly reflect quality and dedication in the operation of business in the Asheville area and provide leadership accomplishments including innovation, initiative, and civic responsiveness.

Jason Ray is this year’s award recipient in the category of 16-50 employees for his dedication in serving people with integrity and using innovative technology to provide solutions.

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Jason Ray with family and employees of SimplyHome and ISI, Inc.

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Jason and Jayme Ray pose for a picture at the Award Dinner

In April of this year, the Asheville Chamber of Commerce also awarded SimplyHome with the Sky High Growth Award. This is the sixth year SimplyHome has garnered this award.

Sky High Growth Award 2017

Jessica, Deborah, and Allen receive the 2017 Sky High Growth Award on behalf of SimplyHome.

One Person, A World of Difference: Congratulations to Xia Xiong!

Wisconsin Direct Service Provider of the Year: Xia Xiong

 

When Meg Anderson remembers the beginning of her son Grant’s journey with autism, she uses phrases like “when he was a year old, we lost our son” and “he began to regress into his own world.”

She remembers feeling helpless in the face of Grant’s challenges, behaviors, and frequent hospitalizations: “We were at the end of our rope. We were exhausted. We had nowhere to turn.”

But one day a county support worker was able to create some solutions for Grant’s needs, by helping him move into a shift foster home with an amazing staff of caregivers.

As a parent, Meg felt that this was all she could hope for. She was grateful and pleased with the solutions that allowed her son to be safe and cared for: “As a parent, there is nothing more vulnerable than putting your special needs child in the care of others. Nothing.”

One member of the caregiving staff, Xia Xiong, went above and beyond to make a difference in Grant’s life.

Xia was recently honored as the Wisconsin DSP of the Year at the 2017 ANCOR Conference, after being nominated by Meg’s family and by Innovative Services as a truly phenomenal DSP.

According to Meg, when Xia became a member of Grant’s team, that’s when everything changed:

“With Xia, I got so much more than I merely hoped for – I got what I dreamed of. I dreamed of staff that would love him and care for his emotional health – even when at times he is hard to love. I dreamed of staff that would look for innovative solutions to problems as they arose – because we knew that there would be problems. I dreamed of staff that would use their creativity and compassion to improve Grant’s quality of life – not just maintain it. I dreamed of staff that would always look at the positive in every situation – even when I was at my lowest.

From her hand-drawn signs around the house helping remind Grant of daily procedures, to her willingness to try new things to better Grant’s life – like taking him swimming or building him his own Advent calendar, to her ability to look past his extreme behaviors to protect his emotional well-being, even when he is at his most unlovable- Xia epitomizes the type of caregiver every parent dreams of for their child. She doesn’t come to “work” every day – she comes to “Grant’s house” and works to make his life the best it can be every single day. She makes the team stronger. She makes life better for Grant – and she makes life better for me because I know my son is not just kept safe, but cherished and protected. She is his advocate and his champion.”

Grant

Xia’s fellow staff at Innovative Services, Inc., have also recognized her outstanding approach to working with her clients:

“Xia was instrumental in preparing Grant to spend a portion of Christmas with his family last year – the first time he had spent any holiday with his family in years. Xia assisted with developing social stories as a learning tool to prepare Grant on what to expect.

Xia has helped Grant to build relationships with his peers at school as well as to manage relationship transitions when his primary educator changed. Outside of school, Xia is involved with Grant in the community, helping him to pursue his interest in swimming.

When Grant began struggling with his perception of law enforcement, Xia was part of the team brainstorming positive interactions in safe environments.

Xia has also developed tremendous relationships with Grant’s family, as well as with the rest of Grant’s care team.

Xia has championed safety protocols within her program, and develop a method for buckling and unbuckling Grant in vehicles to minimize risk – a creative approach which has been recognized as a best practice to be shared with other organizations.

A talented artist, Xia develops chore charts to help Grant as he learns additional responsibilities. She also updates Grant’s communication board and feelings board as his capabilities expand.

When working with Grant, Xia encourages him to be active in his choices. She presents him with new skills to advance, such as lacing his shoes, but keeps an easier alternative of Velcro shoes available, in case he becomes overly frustrated.

Although Xia primarily works with Grant, she is willing to step forward wherever there is a need. She understands everyone needs something, and she takes the time to figure out how to provide for other’s needs, tuning in to each person, asking the right questions, analyzing body language, and searching for the silent signs. She is able to mold herself into the support that each individual needs, even when she is supporting multiple people at once.”

 

According to Rick Bahr, Innovative Services, Inc.’s COO, Xia exemplifies ISI’s core values in her efforts to support people living the lives of their choice: “Xia makes our organization better, and her service has made a difference for the people she supports. Our organization is eternally grateful for Xia and our entire team of direct support professionals, managers and others who redefine what is possible each and every day.”

Congratulations to Xia – thank you for empowering others through your amazing gifts and heart of service!

 

Enjoy this story? Follow SimplyHome’s Facebook page for more stories about empowering people with disabilities to live with greater independence and self-determination!

 

 

Introducing Jessica – Our Newest Customer Service Expert!

Meet Jessica

An expert on bullets? A former resident of Kenya? Or a homebody? Meet Jessica, the newest member of our Customer Service team at SimplyHome.

Jessica has already made a big impact and has proven herself to be a quick learner and excellent team player! We sat down with Jessica to ask her a few questions about herself.

Are you new to Asheville? What is your favorite thing about Asheville so far?

I have been here about three years, although I do still refer to myself as being new to the area. I think my favorite thing here is how active everyone is.

Whether it’s with animals, the outdoors, charity work, or the breweries, everyone seems to have a “thing” that gets them out of the house and into the community. As a natural homebody, it inspires me to stretch my comfort zone and get involved.

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever lived?

Kakamega, Kenya

When you aren’t working, how do you like to spend your time?

Either at home with my cats, or out at a pub with friends.

What is the strangest/oddest job you have ever had? Do you have any unusual skills on your resume?

I spent a summer inspecting bullets. They were re-packed shells used by a local police department for practice on the range.

What’s been the best thing about your first week at SimplyHome?

Everyone has been so sweet and so welcoming, really making this an easy transition for me.

How do you define success?

I’d define success with another hard-to-define word: Happiness. Being successful is being happy – Loving where you live, having the freedom, both in finances and time, to be with friends or family, traveling, and loving what you do so that it doesn’t feel like ‘work’.

Welcome to the SimplyHome family, Jessica!

Stay up to date with the latest from SimplyHome – Like our Facebook page!

A Hero’s Fight for Independence: Meet Charles

 

Happy (3)A Life of Adventure

From jumping out of planes to ministering to soldiers who are dealing with the realities of war, Reverend Charles Pittman has lived a life characterized by courage and devotion.

Now retired from being a United Methodist minister, Charles received his first church appointment at only 19 years old. During his 48 years of ministry, he also served on active duty as an Army chaplain in Ethiopia and Thailand. Upon returning to the United States, he served in the Alabama-West Florida Conference as an ordained minister.

Later in life, Charles was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which the VA says is a direct result of spinal trauma during his time in the military. Due to the damage to his spinal cord, he has limited mobility. Now a resident of Brooks-Howell Home, Charles receives occupational therapy (OT) as part of his support needs. The OT Assistant who works with Charles at Brooks-Howell realized that Charles’ support needs could be best addressed by a combination of natural supports, assistive technology, and community relationships.

Connecting with Support

Accustomed to fighting for freedom, Charles was determined not to let his disability take his own independence. He longed to be more active and mobile throughout the Brooks-Howell community. Through the No Place Like Home program, Charles received an iPad that was mounted on his wheelchair. His new tablet gives him more freedom to move around the community and to connect with friends and family through his touchscreen tablet.

“I like to go out in the sunshine. With my iPad, I can listen to music. It has been a great help to me because I can use it on the go. I’m not bound to my old computer in my room all the time,” said Charles.

SimplyHome, Community Homes®, and Eblen Charities founded the No Place Like Home program with the mission of ensuring that Veterans and their caregivers have the opportunity to access technology that will support their independence and create a new sense of freedom. Nothing can replace being independent and feeling at home, especially for Veterans who have had to leave home to serve their country and who, like Charles, may be living with disabilities as a result of their service.

Get Assistance; Give Assistance

The No Place Like Home program offers new and refurbished systems to disabled Veterans anywhere in the United States. If you would like to learn more about how you can access technology, please email info@simply-home.com or call 1.877.684.3581.

Make a Donation -Whether you would like to make a monetary contribution to the program or donate your system, your support will empower a Veteran to live a life on their terms.

About Eblen Charities

Founded in 1991, Eblen Charities is a non-profit organization whose outreach through its numerous programs has helped thousands of families each year with medical and emergency assistance. Eblen Charities is based in Western North Carolina and offers more than 70 programs to assist families in a variety of categories, such as health, housing, energy, education, and emergency assistance.

About Brooks-Howell Home

Brooks-Howell is a nonprofit, charitable Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) located in Asheville, North Carolina, and supported by United Methodist Women of the United Methodist Church. Originally established as a retirement home for United Methodist deaconesses and missionaries, it has evolved into a community that includes local residents from Western North Carolina, clergy and spouses and service personnel from other denominations.

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.

 

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Supporting Children with Technology-Based Solutions

GROWING THE SKILLS OF INDEPENDENCE

Smart-home technology: It’s not just for adults! Smart technology can be extremely beneficial to children, providing them with natural supports. Developing independent living skills from a young age prepares children for the transition to adulthood and community-based living. Assistive technology can create opportunities for children to learn to be more independent while supporting their health and safety.

“The technology has been such a blessing. As a single parent, it was difficult for me to monitor Anissa round the clock. Now I can be on the opposite side of the house from Anissa and know if she goes into the kitchen or leaves the house in search of food,” says Janet Smith, mother of Anissa, a teenager with developmental disabilities.

MEET ANISSA

Like most teenagers, Anissa wants to have more independence at home and in the community. With her diagnoses of Prader-Willi syndrome and developmental disabilities, however, Anissa has needed intensive monitoring to keep her healthy and safe. When her mother first contacted us, she was supervising Anissa around the clock so that she didn’t overeat or leave the home in search of food.

Anissa spent 6 months at a Prader-Willi treatment facility where she was able to learn many life skills to help her manage her behavior and weight. When it was time to return home, her mother and the care coordinator contacted SimplyHome in search of ways to encourage Anissa to continue to make good decisions.

Through the assessment with SimplyHome, Janet decided that door sensors, a bed pressure pad, and a few motion sensors would provide the assurance the family needed while supporting Anissa’s independence. The sensor-based technology not only sends alerts to Janet’s cell phone, but also provides audible notifications within the home.

OUTCOMES FOR ANISSA & HER FAMILY:

Anissa soon learned that when the system created alerts, her family would come check on her. As a result, she learned to redirect her own behavior, by returning to bed when she needs to and not leaving the home without supervision. Her mother notes that with the technology, the family no longer takes shifts to sit up at night, and as a result, her mother has been able to go back to work.

Mother and daughter

For Anissa to be more independent, the family wanted to teach her skills regarding:

  • Self-control related to eating outside of mealtime routines
  • Staying upstairs at night
  • Visiting relatives across the street by herself

Anissa’s system was designed to include motion sensors, a bed pressure pad and door sensors to:

  • Capture movement in certain areas of the home after school and at night
  • Help prevent ingress and egress during early morning and late night hours
  • Alert her and her family if she did not return to bed at night within a certain timeframe

The SimplyHome technology sequences activate only at certain times of day:

  • When Anissa is home
  • When Anissa needs a “teachable moment” to address or re-direct her behaviors
  • When Anissa’s safety requires natural support from family

Though Anissa is still a teenager, Anissa’s family is focused on her future, planning for her success as an adult. As Janet says, “We know we are not going to be around forever. If we don’t start supporting Anissa’s independence now, then she won’t have as many choices when she’s an adult.”

 

To find out more about SimplyHome technology, and how it can support the independent living skills of children and adults, contact us by requesting a free assessment.

 

 

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The Beginner’s Guide to Remaining in Your Home While Aging

That day is coming. The day when our Peter Pan philosophy can carry on no more. Others age but we don’t, right? It is time to face the reality that aging is something happening to us all and we must plan accordingly. Some people associate getting older with retirement communities and loss of independence.  But do we really need to leave our homes? The answer is no. Not if you take time to familiarize yourself with the tools and concepts available to you today.

“Universal design” is a concept quickly becoming embraced among homeowners of varying ages. The idea is to start making simple modifications now to your home, enabling you to remain in your home when your daily lifestyle needs and routines change. The article “Universal Design for Every Age and Stage of Life” states the best time to think about integrating universal design principles and features..is “before a life change or emergency happens.”

UD #2

Statements like this make it all the more important to start being proactive with your future home modifications. SimplyHome is taking steps by participating in the Livable Homes Project with AARP and the Universal Design Institute. Richard Duncan, Executive Director of UDI says the concept is more than adding custom features to a home. The changes need to be packed to look good and work well. He took the time to answer our questions about universal design and explain a few things we should know.

 UD #2

5 Things You Should Know about Universal Design

  1. Where do you start? Before making any changes to your home, the absolute first place to start is with an honest assessment of your home and your needs. Ask yourself, Is this the right home for me to age in? For example, should the need arise, would you be able to move your bedroom from the second floor to the first floor in this particular house?

  2. The Three Main Areas.  The three main areas to focus on in your home are the entrance, bathrooms and kitchen. Making entrance changes are the most simple and the best first move. You can start by adding handrails to the stair cases and improving lighting. A good question to ask yourself with the entrance is, Are the hallways and doorways wide enough to fit equipment through?  After the entrance, some basic bathroom changes could include having  curbless showers, adding a bench for a place to sit and having a handheld showerhead.

  3. Common Misconception. When you think of an added shower handrail to help accessibility, it’s easy to imagine it as an eyesore, a bulky feature completely out of place with the interior of your home. But universal design is more than custom features. It’s the entire package of adding an element that helps your daily needs, but also fits the style of your home. For example, a handrail can also double as a towel rack.

  4. Get the right advice. The first mistake many individuals make when implementing universal design is hiring someone with expertise in one room, rather than understanding the functionality of the house altogether. For example, advice should come from someone with an architectural or interior design background. Someone with home-design experience, who can understand your needs as they will change and envision how your home can grow with you.

  5. There’s Higher Functionality with Technology.  SimplyHome technology is, “A wonderful addition to keeping people safe and  independent in their homes,” says Richard. The higher functionality you have to begin with, the more effective the custom changes. Using SimplyHome technology helps you to avoid limitations with the changes you implement down the road. You want as many options as possible. SimplyHome environmental controls help you to adjust lighting in various locations of your home from a single location – a tablet. SimplyHome door, window and stove sensors, medication management, fall detection, and telehealth services, cover all your needs to remain in your home.

 

Want to learn specific ways customized solutions can help you? Get A Free Assessment From SimplyHome

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SimplyHome Newsletter, December 2016: Innovating all the way!

 

It’s been a year full of exciting changes at SimplyHome!

From welcoming awesome new staff to being recognized as a top company to work for; from innovating with smart home pilot programs to saving money for individuals, states, and providers; from new technology grants to new puppies in the office…

It’s been a year to be thankful for!

Click here to read the SimplyHome year-in-review newsletter for 2016.

 

 

Support the work of SimplyHome by reviewing us on Facebook.

Support the work of SimplyHome by reviewing us on Facebook.

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5 Senior Living Community Trends for 2017

5 senior living community trends

 

Can technology bridge the gap between all levels of care for people as they age? Recent trends in senior living communities are transforming care models, opening the door to more options.  

600 senior living organizations from 15 states were surveyed by Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging to identify the top senior living community trends for 2017.

Trend #1: Technology will be key to sustaining independent lifestyles among senior living residents.

  • SimplyHome technology encourages and empowers an independent lifestyle through wireless systems by utilizing sensors. As a family member, you and care staff can receive call, text or email alerts from anywhere when a problem is detected. Family visits and phone calls can focus on what matters most — quality time. Motion, door and window sensors help prevent wandering concerns; stove and cabinet sensors can promote cooking safety and healthy nutrition; chair/bed pressure pads can unobtrusively monitor sleep and behavior patterns. Medication management, fall detection and telehealth are also available for care management.

Trend #2: Senior living providers will expand services “beyond” their four walls to provide important social connection programs to older adults living in their own homes, including adult day care programs, services to the homebound and in-home care services.

  • The independence SimplyHome technology establishes increases the list of social activities individuals can partake in. The SimplyHome model of natural supports (alerts via text message, phone call and email) connects individuals to their family, friends and neighbors, as well as to staff at community living facilities.

Trend #3: Long-term care is being transformed to support person-directed care and meaningful relationships. Senior residences are beginning to adopt smaller, home-like environments.

  • Technology enables families and providers to focus on where people want to live. SimplyHome’s person-centered approach is about creating customized solutions that are based on the individual’s needs. What are your daily needs? What is your daily routine? How can we maximize your independence? These are all questions we ask when implementing technology to help an individual remain in their home. Getting the answers to these questions also builds a foundation for relationships in the community and with care staff.

Trend #4: Language, perceptions and attitudes of care providers must be updated to reflect changing older adults’ needs and expectations. This might include changing the model of an “activity director” to that of a “life coach,” which focuses on working with customers who have higher, more self-actualizing expectations.

  • When technology is implemented into a residence, SimplyHome assists care staff to further understand the specific needs of your loved one. We stress to providers the importance of knowing what options are available and allowing people to make the choice of how they want to live. The technology is a way to support their choice.

Trend #5: Above all, consumers want choice and value. Older adults are demanding more choices, control, a redefinition of what community means, and convenience within and outside of the community. This includes financing options, customized programs, and access to on-demand services and engaging activities.

  • Customers with SimplyHome choose how they want to live. The technology in place lets individuals choose life on their terms. 24/7 Customer Service support provides care staff and family with peace of mind, knowing they will be notified if a change in a behavioral pattern occurs.

Canva Quote
This video shows how one woman’s grandfather was able to maintain his choice for independence through technology.

You can view the full article’s findings here.

Start Your Free Assessment with SimplyHome

 

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