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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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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ANCOR Pushes for Change

ANCOR Urges Changes

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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?

Follow SimplyHome’s Facebook page.

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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.

Meet Sarah with The Arc of Haywood County

We were recently contacted by the Arc of NC to collaborate on an article for their newsletter. The following is a bit about an individual who works with the Arc of Haywood County and continues to find success using our technology.

Check out the article below to read more about Sarah, the Arc and how SimplyHome is contributing to independent living.

SimplyHome designs and installs customizable “Smart Home” systems and offers related care for people who are aging and people with disabilities. They are also an approved vendor under the Innovations Waiver.

Let’s meet Sarah: Sarah has been living in her own home for three years. As an individual receiving services from The Arc of Haywood County, Sarah utilizes technology to guide her daily living activities if and only when she needs help. She maintains her independence with supports from a SimplyHome wireless sensor system including a motion sensor and a stove sensor. Sarah enjoys cooking her own dinner when she gets home. Her staff recognize that Sarah is capable of preparing meals with minimal direction, but they want to ensure that stove safety does not become an issue. Currently, the SimplyHome sensor alerts the staff if Sarah has left the stove on too long or if she turns on the stove during night hours.

Living independently also allows Sarah to be active in her church and walk to the library when she wants to. “Sarah loves her privacy and loves the peace and quiet of living alone. We have seen such a big difference in her behavior since she now has the freedom to make her own decisions,” says Polly Hightower, Haywood County Independent Living Coordinator.

Families and individuals can now access SimplyHome’s residential assistive technology to help promote self-determination both in the home and out in the community. Learn more about SimplyHome’s technology by visiting their website at www.simply-home.com or call them toll free at 877-684-3581.

This article was featured in The Arc of North Carolina’s monthly newsletter.
Arc of North Carolina and SimplyHomeArc Of North Carolina and SimplyHome

“Deciding Who They Want To Be: Young Adults With Special Needs Make Transition From School”

The article “Deciding Who They Want To Be: Young Adults With Special Needs Make Transition From School” by Aimee Caruso addresses the important topic that many families with special needs face: What’s next? After kids with special needs are out of high school, the matter of what comes next can be a hard one. For some families the decision may be obvious. For others, it may not be. Caruso addresses a few different options that families have and provides real examples from real people on how they have handled “What’s next?”

 “Deciding Who They Want To Be: Young Adults With Special Needs Make Transition From School” by Aimee Caruso

By Aimee Caruso

Valley News Staff Writer

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Leah Wright, 22, has spent the past few months settling back into the town she lived in until she was 11.

After graduating from Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts, she returned to Windsor, where she and her family have been laying the groundwork for the next chapter of her life.

On the weekdays, while her parents are working, she attends a special education program. Recently, Leah took a part-time job at a local convenience store — she likes the people and the pocket money.

Frank Vanek graduated from Woodstock Union High School in 2011, and soon after, his mother left her job to be his full-time caregiver. “Frankie,” now 23, is “ a sweet boy” with a good sense of humor, said Delia Vanek. Still, their life together isn’t easy. Money is tight and she has little time to herself. But Frank, a tall, burly guy whose special needs include a stress disorder, can be unpredictable, and his mother said she knows better than anyone how to help him.

Ryan Guidotti, 26, tried a number of different jobs after high school before he found his place. Long interested in health care, Guidotti completed Project Search, a school-to-work program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities based at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Soon after, he landed a job at DHMC that really suits him, as well as an apartment of his own in Lebanon.

While they are in school, people with special needs are entitled to certain services and supports. But after graduating, they enter what is often called a “non-entitlement system ” —that is, services are not guaranteed. As young adults prepare to leave the cocoon of school, their parents face questions familiar to anyone who has raised a child. Where will he live? How will she cover her living expenses? How much support will she need?

Read the rest of the article here.

SimplyHome Announces the Launch of Their Newest Product – The SimplyHome System: Empowered by Technology™

systemintheHomeSimplyHome, LLC, a nationwide assistive care technology company,announces the debut of their newest product, the SimplyHome System: Empowered by Technology™. By connecting innovative caregivers and concerned families, the SimplyHome System reduces cost, increases efficiency, improves communication, and most importantly, empowers both care providers and people they serve. The system uses a combination of wireless sensors to log activities of daily living and proactively alert caregivers and loved ones of abnormal activity or changes in behavioral patterns through text, push notification or email. The official announcement is October 10th at the 2014 American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) Technology Summit and Showcase in Broomfield, Colorado. As a part of this launch, SimplyHome will be identifying a number of providers across the country to first implement the system.

“We listened to what our customers wanted and built a system specific to the needs that they have expressed to us. These improvements will be a big leap forward from our current system which was the first product on the market built with the singular purpose of serving the aging and disabled populations,” said Allen Ray, CEO of SimplyHome.

With caregivers expressing a need to interact more easily with their clients, the new SimplyHome System is equipped with a new website and mobile app. The app grants caregivers and providers access to information about clients and family members from anywhere. In addition to the already offered text message and email alerts, the app allows responders to receive push notifications. Staff and responders will also have the ability to acknowledge and take action on an alert through the app. Much like the mobile app, the newly released website will feature enhanced interactivity with alerts and information from their systems.

systembasicThe small, sleek design of the new SimplyHome System provides an unobtrusive and attractive solution that allows providers to reduce operational costs and increase efficiency in their care. “By creating cost effective solutions, agencies are now able to serve more clients and reduce wait periods for those needing care. Our mission has always been to support independent living and empower care providers and the people they serve through innovative technology,” said Ray.

The ANCOR Technology Summit and Showcase will highlight SimplyHome technology and how providers across the nation are using it. The conference will also demonstrate technology that creates greater efficiency and effectiveness in organizations and will promote strategies to advocate for inclusion of technology in state waiver programs.

“ANCOR presents the perfect opportunity for us to launch this product since we are among supporters and users of the technology we provide,” said Ray.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/10/prweb12235539.htm

Help me, please; I’m a caregiver

Being a caregiver for an aging loved one can be tough. It can drain you physically, emotionally and mentally, but you do not have to do it alone. With the help of your community and assistive technology, it is a task that turns into something that does not have to be overwhelming, but will actually allow you to see your loved one without thinking about the bills that are piling up on the table or the fact that you are having to do this all alone because you are too stubborn to ask for the help of those around you.

Take a look at what one overwhelmed and, self admitting, stubborn caregiver has to say about community and asking for help

Help me, please; I’m a caregiver

By Nell Noonan
This story was originally published in Interpreter Magazine.

Why, oh, why do caregivers think they have to do everything by themselves? Is it our rugged American individualism or some kind of arrogant stoicism and pride that makes us believe our journey as caregivers must be a solo venture?

According to November 2012 statistics from the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, I am one of 65.7 million unpaid caregivers for family or friends in the United States. I imagine that the majority, like me, have a hard time asking for help.

I was well into the seven and a half years of my caregiving odyssey with my husband before I stopped saying, “No, thanks; we’re doing just fine.” Truthfully, I was sleep deprived, depressed, sad, stressed and heartsick. Year after year after year, I watched a truly good human being suffer in excruciating pain. I also had a torn rotator cuff and bad back from physically assisting my 220-pound husband from bed to lift chair to wheelchair.

View the rest of the article here

Better Business Bureau warns about scams for seniors

With parents or loved ones aging, there is a lot to think about. How much longer will they be able to live on their own? Do we/they have the means to sustain themselves living where they are? Are they safe at home? These are just a few of the things caregivers worry about, among others. 

The Better Business Bureau recently published a piece about elders being scammed. The BBB continues to get calls about seniors receiving unsolicited calls requesting personal information including Medicare/Medicaid or Social Security information.

Seniors are likely to be receiving these calls because they are more vulnerable and  likely having memories that are not as sharp as they once were, making them perfect candidates for scammers.

Take a look at what Sharane Gott has to say about being aware of Medicare/Medicaid scams.

 

Better Business Bureau warns elderly to beware Medicare/Medicaid scams

By: SHARANE GOTT

Better Business Bureau is alerting elderly and disabled individuals to beware of unsolicited phone calls from unscrupulous people looking to obtain Medicare or Medicaid information.

In the last few weeks, BBB has received numerous phone calls from residents reporting they received phone calls, supposedly from federal agencies, medic alert businesses or medical supply companies working with the government.

These people are asking for personal information such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, credit card or bank account numbers in order to provide free services such as medic alert alarms, back braces, and other products that assist the elderly and infirm and are paid for by Medicare and Medicaid.

Elderly consumers may be given any number of excuses to provide this information. Reasons used to further the scam include:

  • The resident is part of a corporate or government survey
  • They are eligible to receive free products if they give the information
  • They must provide the information to sign up for a new prescription drug plan.
  • Residents are eligible for a free medic alert service if they provide the information.

Some scammers also claim that they are from the government and are calling to update information or confirming Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security numbers in order to issue a new card.

Read the rest of the article here