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.

Supporting Children with Technology-Based Solutions


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.


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.


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.













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 customer.service@simply-home.com.
































Where Is He Now? An Interview with Brian Keefer of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

“You gotta work on that grip, Brian,” Allen Ray, SimplyHome’s CEO, said on his recent visit to the home of Brian Keefer. This may seem like an odd thing to say to someone who has quadriplegia, but you don’t know Brian Keefer. The 29-year-old Pennsylvanian and star of an episode of TLC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition just laughed in response to Allen’s remark. You might not know that Brian is well-known for his deeply positive outlook and indefatigable dedication to recovering as much mobility as possible after a 2008 gymnastics accident left him paralyzed. A recent highlight of Brian’s recovery was regaining the ability to lift his left hand and to open a door for himself: “It was one of the best things I’ve done in my entire life. A huge stepping stone!”


Allen Ray visits with the Keefer Family

While encouraged by his progress, Brian has no intention of stopping there: he wants to walk, drive, and work with others who face quadriplegia. Mindful of this, Allen used his recent trip to Pennsylvania to encourage Brian to continue the intensity of his hard work towards recovery. Allen says, “Brian is focused and determined and will not stop there. We know this development is just one step in his longer journey to recovery.”


You may remember that the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episodes featured renovations of the Keefer family home and technology SimplyHome designed for Brian to give him greater independence. The technology included a tablet that powered environmental controls (home automation), a voice-activated adjustable bed and drink machine, intercoms for communicating throughout the home, adaptive controls for playing video games with his family, and voice-controlled text, before voice-texting was a common feature on cell phones.


SimplyHome asked Brian a few questions about his life after Extreme Makeover, how technology impacts his life today, and where his goals will lead him next!


SH: What’s your life like after the show? Do you get recognized a lot?

Brian: It’s really good. I am really thankful; the show gave me a lot more independence. I can talk to my house, turn on the lights and the music and everything. I definitely get recognized a lot. I travel around South Central Pennsylvania giving speeches, and people recognize me through that, too.

I have had a lot of opportunities. I have gotten to scuba dive in California with my doctors. I have been helping to coach volleyball at my high school. In 2013 I went to Oklahoma for a couple of months and helped coach the men’s and women’s Paralympics volleyball teams.  I’m not just staying in my house – I go out and do things, make choices, to have a full life in society.


SH: Tell us about your work as a motivational speaker.

Brian: People have wanted to hear my story ever since I got hurt. I have had people tell me that I have changed their lives completely, helped them through dark times. Every time I do my speech, it’s relatively similar, telling my story. In the Q&A time after my speech, one of the first questions people always ask is, “How are you able to stay so positive?”


SH: How do you answer that? You must have some hard days.

Brian: I have always been a really positive person, I am always having fun and smiling. Because I am such a positive person, I am able to turn a really difficult situation into something better. I also have an enormous support system. I am lucky to have what I have, people praying for me and everything.

Everyone has days where they are dark days or down days, but I’ve always been a firm believer that you make the choice whether to be happy or to be sad. Obviously there are things that will affect that, but you can still choose to pick yourself up and do something. And I have so many people supporting me. If I need to, there is someone I can go to – we can go out, get some food, go see a movie.


SH: What technology does your daily life involve these days? Are you continuing to use the technology from the show, like the voice-activated texting, bed lift, and drink machine?

Brian: I use a mouth stick to text people now, rather than voice-to-text. That way I can text people even when I am in the middle of something, like watching a movie. I have gotten really fast at it now. I use the environmental controls through my voice on my tablet all day, every day. I don’t need the voice-activated adjustable bed as much, because I just keep it elevated. I read a lot of books on my tablet. I’ll read pretty much anything but my favorites are usually sci-fi and fantasy. Two of my favorite series are Harry Potter and Eragon.

Extreme Home Makeover Edition, Brian Keefer and Family

SH: What do you think about the Amazon Alexa, the new technology Allen brought on his visit?

Brian: Alexa is great, she has great potential. It would be huge to connect it to Environmental Controls. Another thing she could help with is to talk on the phone or use social media.


SH: We were excited to hear about you regaining the ability to lift your left arm. Tell us about that process.

Brian: I do physical therapy every day, seven days a week. An aide comes in three times a week to help my dad do the exercises that take two people and are more intensive for my core. After the aide leaves, my dad and I can do more machines that don’t require an outside person. A lot of the exercises work on balance.

The change to be able to lift my arm was gradual. I got a flicker in my left bicep when I was first in the hospital, 8 years ago. About a year and a half ago, I was able to start lifting my arm off the armrest. Still working on the hand and fingers. I opened a door at Kennedy Krieger for the first time by myself last year. It was a huge stepping stone!


SH: Tell us about your work on the board of United Central Palsy – Central Pennsylvania.

Brian: I gave a speech for UCP of Central PA a couple of years back and had gotten to know them through that. The president, Jeff Cooper, came out to the house, and I got to know him fairly well. Jeff reached out to me to see if it was something I was interested in doing. I decided to do that to help people across Central PA who have some sort of disability. We have meetings every other week. I give my two cents and help out where I can. I help to make decisions on new programs and how the programs are going, and how to optimize their capabilities for people with disabilities.


SH: Your motivational speaking career is growing a lot. Who is your audience right now? How do you see that continuing to grow in the future?

Brian: I will talk to anybody that wants to listen – businesses, schools, churches, Parkinson’s groups, the nursing school in Lancaster. I’d like to expand my speaking audience to other places, beyond South Central Pennsylvania.

I would love to be able to do something like webinars to share my story – it would be a lot easier than driving all over. To be able to share my story and be able to reach out to people who are going through dark times — that’s what I want to do.


SH: Looking to the future, what are some things that you would like to accomplish?

Brian: Number one, I want to get out of my chair and walk. I am working toward that every day.

I want to learn to use more technology to become more independent. I would LOVE to drive. For the past three years I have been helping to coach my high school volleyball team. It would be awesome to be able to drive to that.

Potentially I would like to work with more spinal cord injury patients, when I make more of a recovery myself. Who better to work with them than me? I know what they are going through. [Brian’s college degree is in recreational management with a focus on therapy.]

Photo: www.briankeefer.org

SH: As you continue your recovery, what inspires you?

Brian: Probably what inspires me the most is the response I get from other people, telling me that I have helped them. I’ve always wanted to help people, and being told that I inspired them is really big. My family and friends inspire me because they are so supportive and with me on every step of this journey, pushing with me. And I have heard from people all over the world – the show aired in 139 different countries and people will reach out to say that I touched their lives and have been an inspiration to them.


Brian Keefer can be contacted regarding his motivational speaking through his website, www.briankeefer.org.

Watch the original episodes from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Season 9: Episode 6 and Episode 7.


‘Smart’ home: Paralyzed in a car accident, student achieves goal of living on his own

Fox Carolina and GoUpstate.com recently published a story about our friend Johnathan Dodd and his journey for independence. We are so proud of what he has accomplished and where he is going.

Photo By ALEX HICKS JR/alex.hicks@shj.com
Published: Friday, April 8, 2016 at 3:15 a.m.

Like many millennials, Johnathan Dodd has his own apartment.

It’s a small one-bedroom place, but it represents so much more for the 26-year-old Spartanburg County native. It gives him a sense of independence.

If that were all there was to Dodd’s story, it wouldn’t be particularly unique. After all, it’s not unusual for young adults to crave their own living space.

But how Dodd’s duplex apartment in Moore is outfitted to allow him to function on his own and, more importantly, how Dodd came to have a physical disability is an extraordinary tale.

Dodd is bound to a wheelchair, having been paralyzed from the neck down from injuries sustained in an automobile accident nearly nine years ago. He now has the ability to move his hands and arms, which allows him to use an app installed on an iPad to perform everyday tasks in what can be called his “smart” home.

At the touch of the screen, Dodd can open his front door to allow visitors to enter.

Other touch screen options give him the ability to set his thermostat and to turn his lights and television on or off.

“I didn’t realize it was going to be that easy,” Dodd said of the technology-driven Simply Home products that allow him to lead a somewhat normal life. “I was like, ‘Wow, that’s it?’ You just touch (the screen) and it does the rest.”

Dodd is living on his own thanks to the help of the Charles Lea Center, a Spartanburg-based nonprofit agency that provides services to individuals with disabilities and special needs.

As part of its HOMES (Helping Others Manage Environment Safely) program, the staff at the Charles Lea Center worked to install the “smart” technology in Dodd’s apartment and is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week should he need assistance.

With the touch of an icon on an iPad screen — which is mounted to his wheelchair — or a phone call, Dodd can get someone from the Charles Lea Center facility across the street to come help him.

“If it wasn’t for (the Charles Lea Center), I’d probably be in a nursing home,” Dodd said. “They mean a lot because they did a lot. Sure, I just call them when I need them, which may not seem like a lot, but they gave me a lot of independence just by saying, ‘Hey, we’re here if you need us.’ Just that right there has made the biggest difference in my life.”

Dodd still has someone come by the apartment each day to help him with such tasks as eating and bathing, but he spends every night and much of the weekend all by himself.

Before the Charles Lea Center outfitted the apartment with “smart” technology, Dodd had to have someone with him at all times. He said he’s been in the apartment for five years, but he’s only been on his own for the past two.

“Having someone around you 24/7 gets old. It doesn’t matter who it is,” Dodd said. “If there’s always someone there, it gets old, eventually. This is just another step to me being independent. I’ve got to be on my own.”

That Dodd is able to live by himself is a remarkable achievement given what he’s gone through medically. Following the automobile accident that paralyzed him, Dodd has had multiple surgeries related to his neck and stomach. He’s also battled through double pneumonia and survived Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

During a visit to the Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia for surgery a few years ago, Dodd told the staff he wanted them to help him find an apartment in which he could live on his own.

“They said, ‘Oh, you can’t do that.’ And I was like, ‘I’ll show you I can do it. I know I can.’ …. I basically ended up telling them, ‘I’m not leaving here until y’all find me somewhere to stay.’ So, they did. They found me this place.”

Dodd, who grew up in the Campobello area, had just graduated from Chapman High School a couple of weeks earlier when, on the night of June 16, 2007, his life changed forever.

He and some buddies had gone to a dirt track race in North Carolina. It started to rain, causing a delay in the action, and Dodd decided he’d rather go home than wait for the race to resume. He called his girlfriend to come pick him up.

On the way home, the car his girlfriend was driving came upon an unexpected curve and crashed. The car went down an embankment and flipped, leaving Dodd trapped underneath. His girlfriend escaped with minor injuries and was able to get someone to call for help.

An ambulance took Dodd a mile down the road to a church parking lot, where a helicopter was waiting to transport him to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. Even though he couldn’t move his body, he remained conscious through the entire ordeal.

Dodd recalled, “I just kept thinking the whole time, ‘Don’t go to sleep. You’ve got to stay awake. Whatever you do, don’t close your eyes.’” He feared he might not wake up.

In the hospital, he came close to death. To keep his lungs from collapsing, he had to be induced into a coma that lasted nearly a month. After waking up from the coma, he remembers a doctor in the intensive care unit saying, “This is all you’re ever going to be for the rest of your life.”

Dodd continued, “(The doctor) said, ‘You’ll never be able to move anything from your neck down.’ He said, ‘You may be able to shrug your shoulders one day, but that’s it.’

“And this is making me really mad. I’m like, ‘Ugh, this guy doesn’t know who he’s talking to,’ because I know what I’ve done been through just to be here.

“I’ve always been stubborn. I mean, ‘You’re going to tell me I’m not going to do anything? No, I’m going to show you.’”

Dodd’s independent living is proof of his determination. He refuses to take no for an answer.

“Jonathon is a fighter, and not only is he a fighter, he’s an advocate,” said Laconda Moore, who has worked with Dodd for the last year and a half as director of community transitional living for the Charles Lea Center.

“He advocates for himself, and he advocates for others who need support like him. The things he’s gone through and to still have that tenacity to continue on is just admirable. He always says that we help him, but he really inspires and helps us.”

In his home, Dodd is able to live like most anyone else his age. His television is typically tuned to sports, and he’ll sometimes have friends over to watch Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bouts.

He’s a big fan of the University of South Carolina football team, and his bedroom walls are adorned with autographed photos of former Gamecock standouts Connor Shaw, Jadeveon Clowney and Marcus Lattimore, the latter of whom played with his cousin, Chas Dodd, at Byrnes High School.

Dodd said he’s always been into sports and that he played football, wrestled and ran track while at Chapman High School. Not being as physically active as he’d like to be has been an emotional challenge for him.

“Everybody who has something like this happen to them — it doesn’t matter who you are — it’ll really take the wind out of you at the beginning and you’re going to be down,” Dodd said. “But there comes a point where it’s like a V in the road and you’re either going to say, ‘All right, I’m going to stay here, down in the dumps, taking pity on myself or I’m going to go this way, and I’m going to get on with my life and I’m going to make something of myself.’”

And it’s not like Dodd simply whittles away his alone time watching sports and movies. He’s also been taking online courses at Spartanburg Community College.

In the driveway outside his apartment is a van, which is used to take him wherever he wants to go. The decorative tag on the front of the vehicle features the Superman logo, which he also has tattooed on his chest.

“That basically says you’re not going to hold me down. I’m going to figure out a way,” he said.

Looking out the window at the van, Dodd is reminded of another goal he hopes to achieve.

“I’m scheming, I guess you’d say, trying to figure out a plan of how to get another van that I can drive,” he said. “That’s one of my next goals — to drive. If I can drive, that’ll do a lot, too.”

Copyright © 2016 GoUpstate.com — All rights reserved. Restricted use only.

Select the video below, or click here, to see how SimplyHome technology has helped Johnathan make his choice of independence.


Transition Home: Laura and Vicki’s Story

Meet Laura and Vicki: Two best friends searching for independence.

Transition Home: Laura and Vicki

In 2014, the Charles Lea Center in Spartanburg, S.C., began a transition program that helps individuals make the move into their own homes and live independently. Both women expressed interest in having their own apartment and performing their own daily living skills.

What is a Transition Home?

Integrating technology and support services to people with disabilities to practice daily living skills necessary to live successfully in the community.

With the help of SimplyHome technology, Laura and Vicki were able to move from the transition home to their permanent residence within months, as opposed to possibly years without assistive care technology.

“They’re getting their independence they want, but I’m also knowing on my end that they’re safe,” said Shanena Robinson, the Charles Lea Center Area Leader.

So, what is some of the SimplyHome technology Laura and Vicki are employing in their home to help them live self-sufficiently?

  • A front door sensor allows Charles Lea staff to know if someone is at the door.

  • A medication dispenser alarms up to four times a day to remind both women of when to take their medicine.

  • The panic pendant enables Laura and Vicki to reach staff in the case of an emergency.

Beyond daily housekeeping, Laura and Vicki living on their own with SimplyHome customized systems has allowed them to build a bond with one another as a form of support.

“We focused on the training that they needed to live more independently and then we kept going, ” said Ms. Robinson.

By using SimplyHome designs, staff were able to foster more free time for these best friends to not only decorate together and eat meals together, but for them to make friends in their community through their neighborhood.  Rather than just being independent together, Laura and Vicki have built an independent collective.

This video demonstrates just how much Laura and Vicki have adapted and grown in their new home!

Call Center Partner Gives A Behind The Scenes Look

We are honored to have a member of Security Partners’ dealer support, Brad Schulz, as a guest blogger today. Security Partners has proven to be a reliable Call Center for SimplyHome’s clients. Brad, like his colleagues, has consistently provided superior knowledge and assistance each and every time we work with him.  His knowledge regarding the units that are monitored is evidenced by his willingness to take any time necessary to provide a resolution to the question or problem encountered.  If for any reason he does not have an immediate answer, he is always willing to go the next step even if it is not related specifically to the Call Center.

SimplyHome’s customer service representative Michelle Russell says, “We recently had a client with very particular requests for their contacts.  Specifically, times that individuals should be called and which days they should be called and in what order for each day.  What appeared to me as confusing and outside of the responsibilities of the Call Center became a reality because of Brad’s perception that this was not an obstacle just an issue that needed a positive outcome.  We spent time on the phone, exchanged countless emails and not once did Brad give up! As a result of his perseverance we now have not one but several of their accounts set up in what appeared to be an unorthodox pattern and it’s working great!”

From The Dealerpicture

My name is Brad Schulz and I have been with Security Partners for just under three years. Alongside Patrick McNamara and Betsy Haugh, I am part of the dealer support team for our Lancaster, Pennsylvania location.  Betsy has been in the industry for almost 10 years and Patrick McNamara, our Dealer Support Manager, has been with Security Partners for 5 and a half years. The three of us work very closely with the SimplyHome team to register and set up devices within our system, maintaining customer records, troubleshooting devices, submitting purchase orders to vendors and ensuring that signals are handled properly by our dedicated team of operators who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With SimplyHome, we handle medical alarms and associated signals, but we also monitor fire, burglary and panic alarms for other dealers.  On a consistent basis we are handling literal life or death situations, which can at times create a little bit of a stressful environment. In spite of this, I truly believe that every moment of my day is spent contributing to a great company that is continually growing into an industry leader and does a tremendous job of providing thousands of homes and businesses with top-notch quality protection.

It’s rare for me to go an entire day without speaking to someone from SimplyHome. Most frequently, we spend time testing systems before they are shipped to confirm they are operating correctly and making sure the proper procedure is followed for all accounts. At times there will be a customer who is requesting a procedural change for signal handling a little out of the ordinary, such as a specialized call list with different numbers to call at different times.  In cases like this, a SimplyHome customer service representative and I typically work very closely together to make sure everything is as clear as possible for the operators who handle the alarms.  We usually will speak multiple times throughout the course of a couple days, monitoring the activity on the account to ensure we are adhering to the new procedures. We also send reports daily to the SimplyHome customer service team detailing the previous day’s activity. On occasion, I will also receive follow up calls with questions about previous events. I thoroughly enjoy working with everyone at SimplyHome, the general tone of the calls are always cooperative. We are all, both at Security Partners and SimplyHome; a close knit team with the common goal of ensuring the safety of the customer and providing the best service possible.

For over three years SimplyHome has selected Security Partners as their monitoring center for their Personal Emergency Response System customers.  As the monitoring center, we receive the medical alarms and calls when you push your emergency button.  It is our top priority to ensure that we are handling all emergency calls and dispatching the proper authorities to you, in your time of need, as quickly as possible.

Through working directly with many of the team members at SimplyHome, they have proven to be a team of very hardworking, cooperative and dedicated individuals. With the holiday season not far behind us I feel it is a privilege to work alongside the team to aid in providing the greatest gift of all, safety.

Behind the Scenes

When you press you emergency button, your safety and getting you help as quickly as possible is the top priority of the operators assisting you. In order to guarantee the highest level of quality, reliability and service, we have teams located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; San Antonio, Texas; Anaheim, California; and Las Vegas, Nevada 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Each location has multiple backup generators and systems in place to maximize functionality. In the unexpected event that one of our monitoring centers would lose service, we are able to re-route service to the other three locations and by doing so, are able to guarantee that you are always protected. We excel not only in a large quantity of centers but also in providing the top quality service as well.  Not all monitoring centers are created equally. We have achieved the highest benchmarks and certification from the industry. Our UL, FM, and CSAA Five Diamond certifications are our gold seal, and recognition that Security Partners has the infrastructure, redundancy, and training to ensure the proper care of our dealers and their subscribers.

Security-Partners--New-LogoAbout Security Partners

We are considered a boutique Monitoring Center, meaning that we are able to heavily customize the accounts to fit the needs of the customer exactly.  This aligns perfectly with SimplyHome’s mission statement: “Our goal with the SimplyHome product line and services is to provide each individual with a system tailored to their specific needs. Thus, we recommend a personal assessment for all of our customers to determine the level of support that you need.” When you sign up with SimplyHome, the general procedure when you press your alarm button is for us to attempt to speak to you through your base station first.  If there is no answer there we would then attempt to call the home phone number and any friends and family members whose names you’ve provided to us before dispatching.  If at any point in time before this, we are informed that there is an emergency going on and help is needed immediately, we dispatch immediately and afterwards we will call your contact list to let them know what has happened.  This is only our normal procedure; we can modify this to suit your needs as an individual.  Additional forms of communication such as text messaging and e-mail notifications to you, your friends or family can also be added, in addition or in place of, phone calls to the contact list.  We are here to help you.

Not only do we support modern technology in the notification process, we are also continually searching for advanced products. Traditionally, PERS units were reliant on phone lines for transmitting the alarms to us. Through the progress of technology, this is no longer the case.  If you do not have a home phone or are thinking about canceling your land line, we have systems that communicate over cellular networks that are as reliable as the traditional units, enabling our staff to still always be there for you. In the event that you fall and are unable to press your emergency button we also have fall detection pendants that alert us anytime a fall is detected and prompt our team to take the same actions we would if you had pressed your emergency button.  With these advances and our dedicated team who are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we strive to set the benchmark for quality, reliability and service. Once again our commitment to the embracement of emerging technologies in order to facilitate top level service is directly in line with SimplyHome’s mission: We are constantly working to improve and expand our system capabilities, and as technology evolves, to incorporate new cutting-edge components that provide innovative, real-world supports to our customers.

Brad Schulz

Dealer Support

800.836.0142 (Toll Free)


Who Are You?

As a company that values people, we want to do more than create outcomes with technology. We also want to provide a platform for voices to be heard so others can be inspired by the passions, visions, and courage these individuals have to share. Check out our latest video where the individuals we work with tell us WHO they are and WHAT they want.

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.