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?

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SimplyHome System Powered by Aeris Receives 2015 Telehealth Award

Posted by Aeris Communications on December 10, 2015 at 8:00 AM

We’re proud to announce that the SimplyHome System, powered by Aeris, has received a 2015 Telehealth Award from HealthTechZone.com, a leading healthcare technology news source.

TMC, a global, integrated media company helping clients build communities in print, in person, and online, recently revealed the recipients of the 2015 TeleHealth Awards, presented by HealthTechZone. The HealthTechZone TeleHealth Awards recognize and honor technologies that help to improve healthcare delivery and overall health wellness. Applicants of the TeleHealth Awards were judged based on their proven ability to improve health delivery and management.

“It is my pleasure to recognize the SimplyHome System, powered by Aeris, an innovative solution that earned SimplyHome the 2015 Telehealth Telehealth Award,” said Rich HealthTechZone-TeleHealth-2015Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “I look forward to seeing more innovation from Aeris and SimplyHome in the future.”

The SimplyHome System is an assistive care technology platform that is revolutionizing home care for the aging and disabled communities. By connecting innovative caregivers and concerned family, the SimplyHome System uses Internet of Things technology to cost-effectively address the growing problem of in-home healthcare.

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition for creating innovative products that are working towards the advancement of healthcare,” said Jason Ray, SimplyHome VP of Business Development. “Our technology allows people the option to live where they want to live and the peace of mind to know that alerts will be sent and received quickly when help is needed. By including the cellular connection that Aeris Communications offers in our systems, we are confident our customers benefit from the most comprehensive network coverage.”

Learn more about SimplyHome and how the company uses Aeris connectivity to improve the lives of seniors in this case study.

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New Product Offerings: Telehealth Suite & Fall Pendant

SimplyHome is pleased to announce that we are expanding our product offerings to now include a Telehealth Suite and a fall detection pendant that is compatible with our Personal Emergency Response Systems.

Telehealth 

SimplyHome’s suite of wellness tools is designed to offer an improved quality of life that encourages independence and compliance. Now, families and caregivers can access reliable health data to assist loved ones to lower the risk of costly rehospitalizations while supporting chronic disease management.

Easy-to-use wireless Bluetooth technology sends each reading to a confidential and personalized website. Data may be monitored by call center staff comprised of highly trained personnel who are able to call and triage medical needs with a customer if the data triggers an alert notification. Call center staff documents each encounter and then begins notifying responders in priority order.

For a full list of features and pricing, please visit our website at http://www.simply-home.com/Products.html.

Hospital Readmissions

By utilizing some of the telehealth tools we offer, we can reduce readmissions and associated costs while elevating patient outcomes— especially during the critical 30-day discharge window.

So what are some things that might cause a readmission?

- Complications like infections

- Inadequate follow up care; poor AND UA-767PBT-Ci_EC1communication between hospitals, providers and patients; limited physician accessibility due to a growing doctor shortage; and patient constraints such as mobility, finances, time and transportation

 Fall Pendant

This device is a Personal Emergency Response Pendant that monitors falls more accurately by reducing the amount of false alarms. The LED light on the device begins to flash slowly when a fall is detected, speeds up as it becomes more sure a fall has been detected and then sends a signal to the PERS. This product ensures keeping your loved one safe and is able to get help to them after a fall occurs.

Why monitor falls?

The Center for Disease Control says that each year 2.5 million elderly people are treated in the emergency department for fall injuries.  Since falling once more than doubles the odds of falling again, it is vital that falls are being monitored in the home.

Our new products address concerns such as falls and chronic disease management. We encourage you to take a proactive approach to enhance independence for years to come.