We Just Launched Our New Website…And Blog!!

Hot off the press, you will now notice a drastic change to our website and blog! We have been working in-house to redesign and rewrite the site for some time. Along with a new look, we have included some features that we hope will make visiting the site a quicker, easier and more interactive experience.  Additionally, you can now find our blog located right on our website. Our blog address will switch from independentlivingblog.com to simply-home.com/blog. Please make the switch with us!

To make sure you get the most of the new website we have listed a few of the new features below.  We hope you enjoy our new website and would love to hear what you think about it.

Come check it out and be entered to win one of our $50 gift cards to Best Buy.

All you need to do is sign up for our newsletter OR subscribe to the blog on our website.

So What’s New?…Everything!

The site has been redesigned with a fresh, new, user-friendly interface and has been updated with information about our latest products and services for independent living. Read testimonials shared with us from our current customers and partners throughout the entire site.


Our Product page gives an all inclusive glance of each product and service that we currently offer. You will find descriptions of each, product photos, instructional videos, and pricing,

How it Works
This page is a complete breakdown of how the sensors work, what types of notifications can be sent out to family and caregivers, and the personal website we provide to each customer to track the data collected from their system.

About Us
The mission and background of SimplyHome are clearly stated on this page. You will also find a  list of our current partners and contact information about our company.

The Owners Tell Our Story


Come find out the latest about SimplyHome on this page. All of our recent articles and press releases are documented here. You can also connect to our Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Blog!!

One of our featured sections on this page describes our experience with a family featured on the Extreme Makeover Home Edition show. There are some great videos to support that.

Big Changes to Our Blog and a Chance to Win $50!

Our blog is changing and we want you to make the switch with us! The address will switch from independentlivingblog.com to simply-home.com/blog. Just click this link and subscribe and you will be entered in the drawing to win one of our $50 gift cards to Best Buy.

Take a look around, there’s lots to see and learn about SimplyHome and don’t forget to subscribe!  Thanks!

Celebrate “Go Red For Women” and Raise Your Awareness of Heart Disease Prevention

This year the American Heart Association (AHA) celebrates 10 years of going red to fight the number one killer of women—heart disease.  Each February, the AHA celebrates its “Go Red for Women” campaign to raise awareness of the factors impacting heart disease in women.  SimplyHome would like to join in by sharing some important statistics and offering tips for prevention.

Did you know?images

  • 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease
  • While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer, 1 in 3 dies from heart disease
  • The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women than in men.  Women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea, back or jaw pain, fainting, pain the lower chest or upper abdomen, and extreme fatigue.
  • High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of Americans (49%) have at least one of these three risk factors.
  • Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including: diabetes, obesity, poor diet, and physical inactivity

How does technology support prevention of heart disease?

Certainly, you can make lifestyle choices that promote physical health and reduce stress—eating healthily, exercising, and managing your blood pressure, to name a few.  Ongoing monitoring of wellness factors such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight can also provide helpful data needed to make informed decisions.

Given the portable technology available today, you do not have to visit a health provider to check your vital signs.  New products on the market make it easy for you to collect reliable health data and, if you choose, share that information with family or care providers.  A small, wireless base unit captures the statistics from the wellness tools then stores it in a confidential online customer health profile.  Should your vital signs fall in a parameter of concern, trained care center staff and nurses notify family/care providers, or they contact emergency services on your behalf.

Wellness technology is easy to use and affordable.  If used regularly, it tracks changing trends in your health status and possibly prevents costly hospitalizations.  More importantly, however, it offers peace of mind knowing that you have the tools necessary to be proactive in your own health management.

Cameron Kempson, M.Ed.

Aging in Place – There’s an App for That

Posted on 01/11/2013 by | Caregiving | Comments

Taking care of elderly parents can raise any number of personal emotions for children who find they aren’t getting any younger themselves. More than once, I found myself – single, with no children of my own – wondering to whom I would turn at age 86, when living on my own might be proving to be just a bit more than I could handle. Fortunately, assistive technology is advancing at a rapid clip, and it could play a big role in helping more of us stay in our own homes in the next few decades. Following is a sampling of some of the ways equipment makers are building on some current offerings in ways that could help us Boomers age more gracefully in place.

  • Personal emergency response systems. The old “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” medical-alert products already have gone cellular. Today’s latest GPS-based systems, like the 5Star from Jitterbug maker GreatCall work outside the home,  and can help find a wandering loved one. Built-in gyroscopes in some current products also can help detect falls, even when someone is unconscious.
  • Home telehealth equipment. We had a unit that included a scale, blood-pressure/heart-rate monitor and blood-oxygen meter. Dad’s daily readings went to a central monitoring agency and any outlying results got a quick call from a nurse. GE and Intel recently teamed up on the Care Innovations Guide, which works on any Windows 7 device with a webcam and even enables 2-way video calls with your participating doctor or nurse.  It also offers remote glucose monitoring for diabetes patients.
  • Caregiving coordination. The phone was incredibly helpful to me as a caregiver: It was how I reached out to vent to distant family and friends. But with products like the new – and free – CarePartners Mobile app from Philips (developer of LifeLine home monitoring systems), caregivers can use their smartphones to improve their lives, not just complain about them. Users create a community of family and friends, and a list of tasks (doctor appointments, shopping, or just social engagement) for which those members can volunteer. Tasks can be added directly to your phone’s electronic calendar and email or text messages can help remind volunteers of their commitments.
  • The “Internet of Things.” So, you may have heard of (and laughed about) refrigerators that monitor their own contents to create automated shopping lists. “Who could need such a thing?” you might’ve asked. Well, think how valuable knowing the milk in mom’s frig is a week past its freshness date could be. Just in the last couple years, manufacturers from lock-maker Kwikset to lighting leader Philips have introduced wireless home products that can be programed and controlled via smartphone and monitored remotely. Have a senior moment and forget your house key? Well, now there’s an app for that.

Read the Full Article on AARP’s Blog

Study: Parents Get Little Help for Autistic Kids Who Wander

Technology can assist with elopement and give peace of mind to parents.
kryczka / Getty Images

Parents of autistic children say that one of the most stressful behaviors they have to contend with is their child wandering off alone — so much so that it prevents families from engaging in activities outside the home — and half of parents with concerns about their child’s straying say they haven’t received any guidance or advice on preventing the behavior.

In the first study to gauge how commonly kids with autism spectrum disorders wander, or “elope,” researchers found that half of 1,367 surveyed families with autistic children aged 4 to 17 said their child had wandered away at least once after age 4. Among those families, more than half said their child had disappeared long enough to cause concern.

(MORE: Autism: Why Some Children ‘Bloom’ and Overcome their Disabilities)

Forty-three percent of parents whose children had gone missing said their child’s wandering prevented family members from getting a good night’s sleep, and 62% reported that the autistic child’s tendency to elope prevented their family from attending or enjoying activities outside the home.

Autistic children who wandered off were also likely to experience “close calls” — 65% of wandering children were at risk for traffic accidents and 24% were at risk for drowning — and police were called in a third of cases.

“There are an alarming rate of elopements and it is an incredibly common behavior that children with autism engage in,” says lead study author Dr. Paul Law, senior author and director of the Interactive Autism Network (IAN) at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. “They frequently go missing, and often have dangerous encounters.”

Read the Full Article: Parents Get Little Help for Autistic Kids Who Wander

Children’s Independence Begins at Home

As parents, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to support our children’s independence at school and in the community, but the foundation for independent living skills begins at home.  Until I became professionally involved in the field of residential assistive technology, I did not realize the impact that technological tools could have on activities of daily living.

With the inclusion of new products like wireless sensors, GPS watches, and instant phone/text notifications, families can do more than just monitor children’s safety.  They can also provide solutions for independence.  Technology can be used to remind a youth when he forgets to complete a routine, help a child independently control her environment, or assist an adult in teaching important safety skills.   Most importantly, technology provides dignified options for enhanced quality of life within the context of a family’s home.

_DSC0972Monitoring and support services can be limited to one area of the house or encompass both indoor and outdoor space.  While that may sound costly, today’s assistive technologies are actually more accessible and affordable than one might think.  I do, however, always encourage families to check with care coordinators regarding waivers, grants, and additional funding sources as residential technology products are now being included.

-Cameron Kempson, SimplyHome Client Care Specialist

Trio of Charles Lea clients enjoying freedom, new home

Anthony Rogers, left, and Nathan Branch are shown in the den of their new home, which was decorated for Christmas by a garden club.

TIM KIMZEY/tim.kimzey@shj.com

Published: Friday, December 21, 2012 at 3:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 5:08 p.m.

Nathan Branch rolled into his bedroom with a wide smile across his face.

“Welcome to my humble abode,” the 18-year-old said.

On a recent Monday, Branch, who uses a wheelchair because of a number of physical disabilities. showed off his televisions and his Nintendo Wii game system, which is “where the fun happens,” he said. He showed off pictures of his girlfriend and the teddy bear she got him last Christmas.

But perhaps most significantly, he showed off how he can manipulate almost everything in his new home with the press of a button, either on his wheelchair, a band around his wrist or an iPad.

“Living here is awesome,” Branch said. “I can pretty much do anything by myself. I can get in the shower, I can get in and out of the bed by myself. I can brush my teeth, watch TV.”

It’s great to be home for the holidays.

And for him and his roommates Anthony Rogers and Bobby Cornelius, this feeling is better than ever.

In August, the three men, all who use wheelchairs, moved into a home together where they live more independently than ever before.

The house, which is in Cowpens, is a part of the Charles Lea Center’s Residential Services program, in which adult clients with special needs are put into homes that use SimplyHome, made by a North Carolina-based company.

SimplyHome designs and installs wireless technology products geared toward the aging and disabled. The doors open with the push of a button, and the cabinets, microwave and sink in the kitchen are all lower so the men can access them in wheelchairs.

“The guys seem very happy with this arrangement,” said Dr. Jerry Bernard, executive director of the Charles Lea Center.

The Charles Lea Center Residential Program started in 1977 with two group homes for 16 individuals. During the past 35 years, the residential program has grown dramatically to become one of the largest of its kind in the state, according to a news release.

While a caregiver does stay in the home with Nathan, Anthony and Bobby 24 hours a day, the caregiver doesn’t always have to be with the residents.

Anthony Rogers, a huge South Carolina Gamecocks fan — demonstrated by the garnet paint on his bedroom wall — enjoys the liberty of being able to go into his room and watch ESPN on his TV.

“I like having my own place,” he said.

Having a room full of his own things, with walls lined with baseball caps of his favorite sports teams, “means a lot,” he added.

Bernard said it’s great how well the group of guys get along and interact with each other.

Decked out for holidays

And what’s a home in December without decorations?

With Christmas approaching, seven or eight members of the Lady Slipper Garden Club came into the home last week and put up a Christmas tree, wreaths and other decorations.

“We are a garden club that does a lot of volunteer work,” said Patsy Price, chairwoman of the club’s garden therapy. “It feels wonderful for us to help out, and the men just loved it. They were just thrilled.”

Read More

Giving Back

Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 9.50.04 AM This month CEPro shared the industry’s stories of charity. SimplyHome was features for its No Place Like Home Program, a partnership between SimplyHome and Eblen Charities that offers individuals access to the assistive technology and home automation they need to live independently at home.

We are honored to be recognized and encourage our friends, all of you, to contribute to the No Place Like Home fund, if you can this holiday season. The article features the first ever family to receive technology through the program. It was a mother and her second-grade son who has autism. The mother was looking for a GPS tracking device because the school has lost him so many times due to elopement.

Click HERE to Donate to the No Place Like Home Fund

Click HERE to Read the Full Article in the Giving Issue (SimplyHome Featured on Page 56)Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 9.49.24 AM

SimplyHome, LLC Receives the 2012 Stephen E. Sallee Award of Excellence for Assistive Technology

The North Carolina Assistive Technology Program Grand Advisory Council awards SimplyHome, LLC for their significant contribution to the field of Assistive Technology.

The Grant Advisory Council of the NC Assistive Technology Program recognizes individuals, professionals, and organizations that have made significant contributions to the lives of people with disabilities through their efforts in the field of assistive technology.

awardSimplyHome is honored to be acknowledged for our contribution to furthering access to assistive technology devices and services for North Carolina citizens with disabilities.

SimplyHome defined an entirely new market and use for assistive technology. Beginning in 2003, when home automation technologies mostly catered to security needs and making life more comfortable and convenient, Allen Ray realized an opportunity to give greater independence and improved quality of life to individuals with disabilities while passing on the savings to state Medicaid plans and individual families.

“We are humbled to receive this award and inspired to make a difference in as many lives as possible. We especially recognize that this is a team effort, ” says Allen Ray, SimplyHome CEO.

SimplyHome has helped transform Medicaid reimbursement methodologies in several states through their proven high quality care delivered at a fraction of the traditional care delivery methods. SimplyHome’s application of technology, paired with appropriate caregiver supports, has single-handedly enhanced the care and options of people who are aging or have a disability.

“We have worked very hard the past 10 years to use assistive technology to improve the quality of life for persons challenged by aging concerns or disability and to remain fiscally responsible. We are thrilled and privileged to receive this award,” says Drue Ray, SimplyHome Vice President.

The Gift of Love

This time of year brings with it visits to family near and far.  The holidays offer us the opportunity to connect with people we haven’t seen in awhile and also check in on how loved ones are doing.

As family members age, we often see distinct changes in health and living patterns from visit to visit, and we may become concerned with their level of independence.  What indicators might suggest that loved ones need assistance or technology for aging in place?

  • Change in physical appearance—Have they lost or gained a noticeable amount of weight?  Are they taking care of their general appearance such as being dressed neatly or brushing their hair?
  • Changes in routine—Are they engaging in their regular eating, toileting, and bathing activities?  Have they become more sedentary?  Do they avoid certain activities due to pain or disinterest?
  • Changes in social status—Have they become more isolated?  Do they find excuses for avoiding activities outside of the home that used to be meaningful to them?
  • Changes in mood—Do they seem more irritable, withdrawn, sad, or quiet?  Are conversations reduced to simple yes/no responses?  Do they refute everything you say, OR do they agree to everything because it’s easier?
  • Changes in health—Do they have any noticeable memory, ambulation, or speech issues?  Are they refusing medical care, OR are they accessing more medical care than before?  Are they taking too much or too little medication?

photo(4)Granted, not all of these issues indicate that individuals need to move to assisted living   With the number of wellness products and sensor systems in the market today, technology can provide dignified and affordable solutions for aging in place.

  • Medication dispensers can remind individuals when it is time to take medication as well as be linked to a care center that can notify family, if needed
  • Wellness monitoring tools such as blood pressure cuffs, glucose monitors, and pulse oximeters collect health data in confidential online health files and send notifications should an individual’s status exceed the predetermined thresholds
  • Wireless sensor systems utilize door/window contacts, bed pressure pads, and even stove sensors to promote independence with activities of daily living

While conversations around these concerns can be difficult, I often encourage families to have them sooner rather than later.  Being proactive offers individuals the opportunity to have a plan in place without having to make impulsive decisions if a crisis occurs.

Cameron Kempson, M.Ed.

Cameron is the Client Care and Education Specialist with SimplyHome.  She has worked with families in the fields of aging and disabilities for more than 20 years.

Caring for the Caregiver-National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

As National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month come to a close, we thought we would spotlight a very important topic –caring for the caregiver.  With the rising costs of medical care, providing residential support for people with Alzheimer’s disease often falls to those closest to them, both friends and family.

According to the March 2012 Alzheimer’s Association Fact Sheet:

  • In 2011, 15.2 million family and friends provided 17.4 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias – care valued at $210.5 billion.
  • More than 60 percent of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high; one-third report symptoms of depression.
  • Due to the physical and emotional toll of caregiving on their own health, Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers had $8.7 billion in additional health care costs in 2011.

What can you do to support someone who is providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia?

  • Offer them respite.  Volunteer to be the care provider for a while or assist them in locating someone who can offer supports while they take a break.
  • Connect them with a support system.  Whether it’s by listening to their concerns or connecting them with a local support group, caregivers need to know they are not alone.
  • Support a healthy lifestyle.  Make sure the caregiver doesn’t sacrifice his/her health while caring for others.  Eating healthily, exercising, and rest are important to maintaining their ability to care.
  • Access community resources.  The Alzheimer’s Association and other organizations often have local sites that offer information, support groups, counseling, respite, etc. for those who are providing care.
  • Lighten the load.  While they are caring for the loved one, take on some of the other home or family tasks that they may be struggling to do.  Often assisting with basic daily chores can reduce stress for a caregiver.
  • Offer help then ask “How?”  Caregivers typically try to do it all so they don’t have to burden others.  By knowing that someone is willing to step in, they may be more likely to seek assistance.
  • Consider utilizing technology.  Pairing tools such as GPS watches or monitoring with wireless sensors can often provide safeguards during those “just in case” times, such as during the night.  Technology cannot replace the human touch, but it can offer caregivers an additional set of “eyes and ears.”

Most notably, remind the caregiver that caring for him/herself is just as important as caring for the loved one.  I often tell family caregivers to think of the statement that flight attendants use on an airplane:  “First, put the oxygen mask on yourself so that you can take care of those around you.”  Maintaining good health and getting enough rest isn’t selfish—it only ensures that the caregiver will be able to provide the loving support needed for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Cameron Kempson, M.Ed.

Cameron is the Client Care and Education Specialist with SimplyHome.  She has worked with families in the fields of aging and disabilities for more than 20 years.

Challenges of Saying Good-Bye


Alzheimer’s Gets Personal-We are Sharing Our Stories

Thank you ladies for sharing such beautiful stories! It is important to focus on the positive moments when you’re dealing with this disease, and what GREAT stories these are!

Two Generations Shared the Light of Their Lives

When my daughter was young, my grandparents lived in the assisted living wing of a local retirement community. Sharing their apartment pod was a woman who had dementia.  She rarely recognized people who spent time with her regularly–family, caregivers, neighbors.

Hayley and I would visit Pop and Granny several times a week.  We would always say hello to that sweet woman, and she would always ask my daughter’s name, and my little preschooler would shout out, “Hayley!”  One day, we noticed the elderly woman sitting in her wheelchair, head down, disoriented, and moaning. My daughter skipped toward her-her body expressing all the joy that fills a four-year-old’s heart. As the woman heard Hayley’s voice, she looked up, and a grin crept across her face. My young child scrambled up into her lap, and the woman called out, “Hayley!” Hayley gave her a kiss, hopped down, then pushed her chair a bit. The woman began laughing. Hayley giggled then told her, “We’re going to see Granny and Pop.” The lady, warmed by Hayley’s presence, held out her hand and touched Hayley’s shoulder. Regardless of the dementia, in that moment, both generations shared the light of their lives.


Laughter is the Best Medicine

I was fortunate enough to live in the same city as my grandparents and was able to visit them often and get to know them well. My dad’s mother developed Alzheimer’s disease long before I ever knew anything about it. Looking back on it, there were plenty of warning signs (like putting things where they do not belong – burnt-out lightbulbs in her freezer) and the biggest was when she called my uncle from the pizza place down the street from her house, completely lost and scared. She’d lived in that neighborhood for more than 50 years. That’s when we started looking for help and began educating ourselves about the disease and what resources were available.
It’s important to focus on the positive moments when you’re dealing with this disease. It can be frustrating to have to repeat things over and over and over again to someone with Alzheimer’s who has no recollection of a conversation you may have just had with them. That being said, it can also be an opportunity to offer someone joy repeatedly as well. There was this joke I used to tell my Tata (literally over and over again) and it would make her laugh every time, which made all of us laugh with joy every time because she was having such fun!
“Hey Tata”
“Yes, Lovey?”
“How do you make Holy water?”
“You boil the hell out of it!!”
I still chuckle to myself when I think about how she used to laugh at that joke, sometimes six or seven times in one visit. It felt so good to make her laugh and while there was absolutely nothing I could do about the course the disease was taking, I was happy to brighten her mood (and my family’s mood) whenever I could. She passed away Christmas of 2006 but I still think of her all the time and cherish the memories I have, while I still have them.

Are You Aware of How Assistive Technology Can Help Someone with Alzheimer’s Disease?

National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month

President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in 1983. At the time, fewer than 2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s; today, the number of people with the disease has soared to nearly 5.4 million.  Get involved this month, and help raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.

The Facts on Alzheimer’s Disease

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2012, 1 in 8 adults over the age of 65 will be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  Another American develops the disease every 68 seconds, and it is estimated that by 2050, up to 16 million will have the Alzheimer’s.

The estimated costs of caring for this population in 2012 will total more than $200 billion.  In addition, more than 15 million family and friends will provide at least 17 billion hours of unpaid care valued at $210.5 billion.  Clearly, Alzheimer’s disease is not only an emotional stressor for caregivers and families, but a financial one as well.

How Can Assistive Technology Help?

The primary goal for integrating assistive technology into an Alzheimer’s care plan is to offer support to the family members offering care.   Products and services available in the market today can address issues such as wandering, safety, and medication compliance.

At SimplyHome, we work with families and caregivers to develop customized systems of care.  Products range from GPS watches to medication dispensers to our wireless SimplyHome System.  Along with equipment, our services also include:

  • Offering environmental controls to develop independence with home living skills
  • Customizing wireless sensor systems that alert individuals, families or service providers to changes in routines
  • Providing a website that tracks trends in activities of daily living to support skill development, care management and service planning
  • Helping families access other products that address specific safety concerns such as wandering

Assistive technology can be another tool for those who are providing care and monitoring safety.  It can also track changes in physical and behavioral status so that families and health providers can address issues prior to a crisis.  Assistive technology cannot replace the love and support families and caregivers offer.  What it can provide, however, is an affordable solution to concerns that families may have for their loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease. Visit our website at http://www.simply-home.com for more information.

SimplyHome Mentors Young Innovators in the Community

Edison Award Finalist, SimplyHome, teaches children about innovative technology and aging in place.

Asheville, NC (PRWEB) November 05, 2012

When Claxton Elementary decided to participate in the FIRST™ Lego™ League Robotics Competition, they called on SimplyHome. The theme for this year’s Lego competition required the students to design a product that would benefit senior adults, and SimplyHome was honored to encourage the young innovators.

Over eight weeks time, SimplyHome staff shared experience, knowledge and resources to guide the children through their critical problem solving process. In the end, the students expressed an awareness of and appreciation for the ways innovative technology can assist senior adults.

“We started this project focused on what we could teach the students, but left energized and excited by what they taught us,” says Allen Ray, SimplyHome CEO.

Last year, SimplyHome received an Edison Award for innovation in technology. As a finalist the company was encouraged to give back to current and future innovators through storytelling, direct teaching and communication.

The SimplyHome System™ by SimplyHome, LLC was awarded an Edison Bronze Medal for “Best New Product.” The distinguished Edison Awards embody the persistence and excellence personified by Thomas Alva Edison, inspiring America’s drive to remain in the forefront of innovation, creativity and ingenuity in the global economy. The SimplyHome System™ is a winner in the “Lifestyle and Social Impact” category, one of fifteen categories honored by the Edison Awards.

The SimplyHome System™ utilizes multiple sensors to log activities of daily living and proactively notify caregivers and loved ones of changes in behavioral patterns. Text, email or phone alerts can be generated by a single event, an intersection of multiple events or by inactivity. Assigned family or caregivers may log in to their SimplyHome account to view activity and trends in daily living patterns.

Components like motion sensors, door and window contacts, and bed pressure pads address issues including falls, wandering, and sleep routines. The SimplyHome System™ can also monitor wellness priorities ranging from blood pressure and glucose levels, to weight and medication management.

Watch VIDEO Here.

About SimplyHome

SimplyHome designs and installs wireless technology products and related care-focused services. The company is committed to promoting affordable and dignified solutions for independent living – specifically to aging and disabled populations nationwide. SimplyHome is known for its highly-customizable systems that are tailored to meet each customer’s specific needs.

SimplyHome products and services range from voice-activated environmental controls (as shown recently on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition), Personal Emergency Response Systems, GPS watches, motion sensors, and stove monitors to Virtual Care Management® – SimplyHome’s model for client care.

For more information, visit: http://www.simply-home.com.

Naughty? Nice? Or fabulous?

You’re invited to the 6th Annual Holiday Preview Party at Yesterdays Tree. Donations and a portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to the “No Place Like Home” program sponsored by SimplyHome and Eblen Charities.

Yesterday’s Tree is a one-of-a-kind, full-service design company and furniture store homegrown in Asheville, NC… and family to SimplyHome! The annual event is being held Thursday, November 8th at 6:30 pm. They will have food, libations, prizes and fun! Special prices will be offered just for the evening. Please come out and support the community.

South Forest Shopping Center

780 Hendersonville Rd.

Asheville, NC 28803

What is “No Place Like Home”

Volunteered for a week and changed for a lifetime–that was our experience with Extreme Home Makeover, and when we returned to Asheville, we wanted to make the same difference in our own community.  As a result, SimplyHome has partnered with Eblen Charities to create No Place Like Home, a program offering individuals access to the assistive technology they need to live independently at home.

If you can’t make it to the Holiday Preview Party, we invite you to help us in this endeavor by making a tax deductible contribution to our program and by sharing information with friends and colleagues. Together, we can make independent residential living possible because as we all know–there’s No Place Like Home.

Using your smart phone, download an app for reading QR codes, such as QR Reader or Quick Scan.  Click onto the app, scan the code, and you will be directed to the website on your phone.

Half of Seniors, Even More Boomers Willing to Use Remote Monitoring Technology

 | October 23, 2012 | 0 Comments

Although healthcare technology had a more widespread appeal to younger consumers, the idea of using remote monitoring sparked interest in half of seniors and even more baby boomers, according to a 2012 study conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health and Solutions. 

Millennials between the ages of 18 and 30 are more likely than Boomers (ages 48-66) and Seniors (ages 67+) to use innovative technologies that support greater “self-engagement” in their care. However, 50% of seniors and 57% of boomers are open to using self-monitoring, or remote health monitoring technology, that sends information to doctors.

However, when it comes to applications that would provide medication reminders, far less seniors and boomers—at 14% and 27%, respectively—favored the idea, compared to 61% of Millennials.

The ease of accessibility attracts a younger, more tech savvy market that desires to take a more receptive role as health care consumers, says Deloitte. Health care technologies permitting doctor-patient interactions, treatment support, appointment scheduling and prescription refilling, can provide tech users with hands-on information regarding medical matters right at an individual’s fingertips. 

Although seniors generally have more healthcare needs than their younger counterparts, their relative lack of interest in using innovative health information technologies (HIT) may be due to concern regarding the security and privacy of medical histories/records, the survey suggests.

The Deloitte Center also records that younger generations are more likely to seek cost and quality information, as well as negotiating pricing with providers than older generations. Where 23% of Millenials asked about pricing before agreeing to treatment, only 14% of Boomers did the same. The number is even less for Seniors, at a mere 8%.

As consumer demands for more options, information, and decision involvement grows, so will the number of younger generations seeking self-engagement as they age, says Deloitte, not only for themselves, but for family as well. To adjust to this increase, health care systems will need to set up more tools and opportunities for individuals’ self-concerned care. 

Full Article

Innovative Services, Inc. Recognized by Modern Healthcare Magazine as one of Healthcare’s Fastest-Growing Healthcare Companies

My Innovative Services utilizes SimplyHome technology to empower greater independence to individuals living with a disability.

Asheville, NC

SimplyHome would like to congratulate Innovative Services, Inc., our Wisconsin based partner who has been named one of Healthcare’s Hottest Companies. Innovative Services provides supports and services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through the use of innovative technology.

Modern Healthcare recognized 40 of the fastest growing companies by growth from 2006 to 2011 in these sectors: hospitals/hospital systems, physician group practices, payers/insurers, and suppliers. It’s growth of over 105% ranks Innovative Services as 32nd on their list.

Innovative Services, Inc. provides flexible, accessible and family-centered supports and services to developmentally disabled and special needs consumers in Wisconsin. As they work to improve the lives of the people they serve, Innovative Services understands the importance of utilizing the funds available for healthcare, inclusive of SimplyHome technology to promote greater independence.

“We believe our understanding the needs of individuals who require the supports we provide, tied to recognizing the limitations to the assets available, is the secret to our successful growth,” says Rick Bahr, Chief Operating Officer of Innovative Services.

Modern Healthcare is the industry’s leading source of healthcare business and policy news, research and information. They report on important healthcare events and trends, as they happen, through their weekly print magazine, websites, e-newsletters, mobile products and events. Modern Healthcare magazine is ranked No. 1 in readership among healthcare executives and deemed a “must-read” by the who’s who in healthcare.

The weekly print magazine, websites, e-newsletters, mobile products and events provide a powerful and all-encompassing industry presence.

Requirements to be eligible for Modern Healthcare’s Fastest Growing Healthcare Companies are:

  • Be headquartered in the U.S.
  • Have at least $20 million in revenue for 2011, and
  • Have been in business for five years or more.

All submitted financial documentation was tabulated and analyzed by Modern Healthcare. A sample of Modern Healthcare’s tabulations were independently assessed by the accounting and management consulting firm of Deloitte & Touche.

About Innovative Services, Inc.

Since its inception in 2004, Innovative Services has been dedicated to providing safe and healthy support services that encourage maximum independence for the people they serve.

That emphasis on individual independence and choice makes Innovative Services the preferred supplier for consumers in Wisconsin. The company now serves more than 850 developmentally disabled children and adults throughout the state.

For more information visit: www.myinnovativeservices.com.

About SimplyHome, LLC

SimplyHome designs and installs wireless technology products and related care-focused services. The company is committed to promoting affordable and dignified solutions for independent living – specifically to aging and disabled populations nationwide. SimplyHome is known for its highly-customizable systems that are tailored to meet each customer’s specific needs.

SimplyHome products and services range from voice-activated environmental controls (as shown recently on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition), Personal Emergency Response Systems, GPS watches, motion sensors, and stove monitors to Virtual Care Management® – SimplyHome’s model for client care.  SimplyHome is a 2012 Edison Award winner for “Best New Product.”

For more information, visit: www.simply-home.com .

How in the World Will We Care for All the Elderly?


This is a great article published in the New York Times today.

How in the World Will We Care for All the Elderly?


All over the world, people are living longer than ever before and posing caregiving challenges that span the globe.

We think of this phenomenon as particularly true of wealthy “first world” countries like the United States. But it’s not.

Consider these facts, drawn from a fascinating new portrait of global agingpublished by the United Nations Population Fund:

  • Developing countries in Africa, Asia and other regions are experiencing the most rapid aging of their populations, not developed countries like those in Europe or North America. “Today, almost two in three people aged 60 or over live in developing countries, and by 2050, nearly four in five will live in the developing world,” the report says. (While 60 isn’t considered an entry point into older age here, it’s the cutoff used by the United Nations.)
  • Developing countries are also seeing the fastest growth in the ranks of the “oldest old” — in this report, those 80 years old and above. By 2050, an estimated 280 million people in developing countries – most of them women, who tend to live longer than men – will be in this category, compared with 122 million in developed regions. Of course, this is the population group most likely to become frail by virtue of age and illness and to require the greatest assistance.

Here are some other facts that made my head spin: Almost 58 million people worldwide will turn 60 this year. By 2050, there will be more old people than children under the age of 15 for the first time in history.

It’s hard to wrap one’s mind around a demographic change of this magnitude and the caregiving challenges that it entails.

The true nightmare prospect is this: People live longer, with more chronic illnesses like high blood pressure or diabetes, in poorer health, requiring more attention from family members and costly medical care.

Should the globalization of aging follow that path, the strains on governments and families will be extraordinary and potentially devastating.

The best picture is this: People live longer, in good health, remaining productive, valued members of society who contribute in workplaces, communities and families through their later years, and are treated respectfully and supported economically and socially as they become frail.

The authors of the United Nations report argue that those goals are achievable, with well-thought-out policies and a firm commitment to care for the elderly while taking advantage of their wisdom, skills and experience.

But data in the report speaks to the enormous scope of this challenge. Witness this nugget: “Worldwide, more than 46 percent of people aged 60 years and over have disabilities and more than 250 million older people experience moderate to severe disability.”

Which conditions top the list in developing countries? Visual impairments like cataracts, glaucoma, refractive errors and macular degeneration, which currently affect 94.2 million people, hearing loss (43.9 million people), osteoarthritis (19.4 million) and ischemic heart disease (11.9 million).

Who will take care of older adults with these problems? Once it was a given that families would do so in the developing world, where nearly three-quarters of adults live in intergenerational households rather than on their own, which is the norm in the United States and Europe.

But as middle-aged adults leave rural areas for economic opportunities in the city – this is happening in Africa, large parts of China and other regions — older adults are left behind to tend to grandchildren and take care of themselves as best they can, without the aid of adult children.

“Informal support systems for older persons are increasingly coming under stress as a consequence, among others, of lower fertility, out-migration of the young, and women working outside the home,” the United Nations report observes.

What this means is that the old are taking care of the old in many instances.

Japan is currently the oldest country in the world, the only one where elders represent more than 30 percent of the total population. There, about 60 percent of so-called informal caregivers (friends or relatives who care for older people voluntarily, without being paid) are 50 or older.

“This percentage can be expected to increase steeply over the coming decades as a consequence of population aging,” the United Nations report says.

Thirty-eight years from now, 64 countries will stand alongside Japan with seniors exceeding 30 percent of their total populations.

It’s no surprise that the United Nations Population Fund reiterates the need for greater support for caregivers of the elderly. Progress is being made, it notes, with some countries (the Russian Federation, the Slovak Republic, Turkey, the United Kingdom and Canada) introducing paid “allowances” for caregivers, others passing laws supporting caregivers (Japan, Finland and Sweden) and still others developing national strategies relating to caregiving (Australia, New Zealand and Britain) But the needs outstrip resources being made available, in those nations, as well as here.

Countries around the world a decade ago developed a framework, known as the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging, to respond to these trends and others, and a meeting is being held on Wednesday in New York to discuss the progress they’re making.

No one suggests enough is being done. But increasingly, there’s an awareness that the aging of the globe doesn’t lie off on the horizon: It’s a reality, here and now, and unfolding at breathtaking speed.

Enlightened policies, including those dealing with caregiving, may make a great difference in the experience of older adults in the years to come. Stasis and a failure to envision new ways of responding to these demographic shifts, both here in the United States and in the world that surrounds us, no longer seem an option, but the way ahead remains unclear.


A Choice of Community Care, in Your Own Home



A Choice of Community Care, in Your Own Home



For 51 years, Catherine Mack has lived in a four-bedroom house in Haddon Township, N.J. Even at age 96, she has no intention of leaving.

Joining other older adults at a nearby retirement community doesn’t appeal to her, although the facility is attractive and has a great reputation.

“I think in a place like that, life is restricted,” Ms. Mack explained. “You eat at a certain time, and you’re always around other people. I am more on the side that I like to do what I want to do when I want to do it.”

So this independent woman instead selected to get services at home from the retirement community’s “C.C.R.C. without walls” program.

Only a dozen continuing care retirement community — C.C.R.C. — programs like this exist across the country, mostly east of the Mississippi. But several more are under development, and experts believe the concept may be poised to expand more broadly in the years ahead.

How does it work?

In traditional continuing care communities, members pay a substantial entry fee ($250,000 and up) and monthly fees (typically $2,000 to $4,000 a month) for housing, with a lot of on-site amenities and a guarantee that assisted living and nursing home care will be available, if needed. The model is “come to us and you’ll get what you need — all in one place.”

In a continuing care program without walls, members also pay an entry fee ($20,000 to $70,000) and monthly fees ($250 to $800) and receive a similar guarantee of lifelong care, with a twist. The main focus of these programs is helping people stay healthy and independent in their homes for as long as possible. This model can be summed up as “let us bring what you need to you — or find a way to make it easy for you to get it.”

With retirement nest eggs shrunken because of the recession, and 90 percent of older adults indicating they want to age in place at home, “this was something we feel makes a lot of sense,” said Larry Yachcik, president of Porter Hills Retirement Communities and Services in Grand Rapids, Mich., one of the nation’s newest providers of such services.

Armen Oumedian, 89, who joined soon after the Porter Hills program opened in July, said, “I see this as a tremendous way to lift a responsibility off the shoulders of my family and make it so I can live a continuing life in the community.”

“It’s a great comfort, a great security, to know you’ll be taken care of and that you’ve made all the necessary arrangements,” he said.

Programs vary, but all rely on care coordinators to get to know members, understand their living situations, keep an eye on their physical health, and handle problems that come up.

Five years ago, when Ms. Mack had several serious medical problems that put her in the hospital for nearly seven months, “my care coordinator had her finger in the pie all the time,” she said. “If there was any little bump in what I was going through, she was right there, trying to fix it.”

Her daughter, also named Catherine Mack, 61, said, “It was an unbelievable comfort to us.”

Most programs cover the full cost of any in-home care that’s needed (home health care nurses or companions who help older people bathe and dress), as well more intensive long-term services (rehabilitation, assisted living or nursing home care) at no extra cost and with no waiting period.

After Marjorie Rittenhouse, 77, of Painesville, Ohio, came home after foot surgery several years ago, “someone was there 24/7 for seven days,” she said. “It was all arranged — and I didn’t pay anything.”

At Kendal at Home, in Westlake, Ohio, (launched in 2004), where Ms. Rittenhouse belongs, members also get a thorough fitness assessment, a home assessment to identify changes needed to age in place safely (like grab bars in the bathroom and extra lighting) and a home maintenance assessment to figure out what work needs to be done on a house or an apartment (a new furnace? turn up the temperature in the fridge?), said Lynne Giacobbe, executive director.

Tiered plans with varying levels of benefits are common. The most expensive cover services 100 percent; others can require a co-payment of up to 30 percent for assisted living or nursing home care. Operators say that the most expensive plans are the most popular, because people want the extra protection. When long-term care is necessary, it’s typically provided in the assisted living or nursing home section of a continuing care retirement center with which the program is affiliated.

All programs require that members have health insurance, whether from a private employer or Medicare with supplemental coverage included. If someone has long-term care insurance, rates are discounted. Programs will arrange in-home meals, physical therapy or transportation to medical appointments, as medically required.

Most let members go to health clubs and social events at associated continuing care retirement centers without charge.

So what’s the catch, you’re thinking?

Here’s the most important one: To join, older people have to be healthy and functioning at a high level independently. If you’ve got any kind of serious chronic health condition, you probably won’t qualify. That’s the only way programs like this can work: by excluding people with immediate health needs, including any indicator of dementia, and doing everything possible to make sure that people stay healthy and at home as long as possible instead of needing institutional care.

“The screening process is much more stringent than for people who move to our campuses,” said Victor Amey, president and chief executive of Cadbury Senior Services, which operates two continuing care retirement centers, as well as the program that serves Ms. Mack in Haddon Township.

In checking around, I found one exception to this general rule. The Alexian Live at Home Program in Chattanooga, Tenn., which began in 2002, will take people with mild dementia or cognitive problems who are otherwise in good health for its “bronze” plan, which pays 70 percent of the cost of in-home services but excludes assisted living or nursing home care.

The very feature that makes these kinds of programs so attractive – relatively low entry fees and reasonable monthly fees – could become a problem if more members than expected become ill and need care, and available funds aren’t sufficient. So have a lawyer look over the contract carefully to see what rights you have if services are denied or withheld. I didn’t hear about this problem, but it’s a possibility worth your attention.

Why aren’t there more programs of this kind?

“The focus of the senior housing industry has been on bricks and mortar,” not community-based services, said Stephen Maag, director of residential communities for LeadingAge, an industry association. “But we’re now getting a recognition there is a significant market out there of people we haven’t been serving, and that represents an opportunity.”

In some states, laws that govern continuing care retirement centers didn’t allow for these kinds of services and had to be changed. Efforts are under way, or have already succeeded, in California, Connecticut, Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Virginia, according to a paper on the centers that Mr. Maag prepared in February.

Would a “C.C.R.C. without walls” program appeal to you? Do you know of anyone who has had a negative experience in these programs? What concerns do you have, and what questions would you like answered?


World Alzheimer’s Day

We are wearing purple today to show our support.

September 21st is World Alzheimer’s Day. Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and efforts to address the nation’s sixth leading cause of death.

Kingsley Kaminer, Cameron Kempson, Kristen Suttles

Facts about Alzheimer’s Disease

  • Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia among older adults. It involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language and can seriously affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities.
  • Although not a normal part of aging, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases with age. Most individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are over the age of 65. However, people younger than age 65 also can develop Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Scientists do not know what causes Alzheimer’s disease, but it is believed that it is similar to other chronic conditions and develops as a result of multiple factors rather than a single cause.

Global Alzheimer’s Disease

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 18 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s disease. By 2025, this estimate is projected to grow to 34 million people, with the highest increase expected among developing countries.

Alzheimer’s Disease in the United States

  • It is currently estimated that approximately 2.6 million to 5.2 million Americans currently have Alzheimer’s disease, depending upon the approach used for identifying individuals with dementia.
  • If no cure is developed and present population trends continue, as many as 16 million individuals may have Alzheimer’s disease by the year 2050.
  • Alzheimer’s disease ranks as the 6th leading cause of death among adults aged 18 years and older, and is the 5th leading cause of death for adults aged 65 years and older.
  • For people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, the total payments for health care, long-term care, and hospice are projected to increase from $183 billion in 2011 to $1.1 trillion in 2050 (in 2011 U.S. dollars).

Current Efforts

A coordinated approach involving public and private partners is needed to address Alzheimer’s disease and its devastating effects on individuals, families, and the health care system. There are several new and existing activities currently underway. Some of these efforts are described below. Read More

North Carolina Implements New Innovations Waiver Under Medicaid that Includes up to $15,000 for SimplyHome Technology

Medicaid under the new Innovations Waiver adds a new category for Assistive Technology equipment, services, and recurring fees.

Asheville, N.C. September 2012

North Carolina has decided to implement the Innovations Waiver that has replaced the CAP MR-DD Waiver. NC Innovations is a Home and Community Based Waiver program for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, or closely related conditions, regardless of age.

The Innovations Waiver now defines a category for Assistive Technology and allots up to $15,000 to a qualifying individual for assistive technology equipment, inclusive of SimplyHome technology.  Service and recurring fees are also included in the waiver.

“Much like SimplyHome’s mission, the goal of the waiver is to provide services that allow individuals to learn and maintain skills that promote more independence and community activity,” says Allen Ray, SimplyHome CEO.

Individuals who are currently on CAP MR-DD automatically transfer to Innovations. The Innovations Waiver, Section 1915(c), defines a set of waivers called Home and Community-Based Services. This section provides the Secretary the authority to waive Medicaid provisions in order to allow long-term institutional care services to be delivered in community settings.

“We are so pleased that individuals in North Carolina receiving Medicaid now have the option to use Assistive Technology to enhance greater independence,” says Ray.

Under the previous CAP Waiver, technology funding was much more limited. NC Innovations now includes several Assistive Technology system options. SimplyHome not only offers a Personal Emergency Response System, but also a more sophisticated monitoring system called the SimplyHome System.

The SimplyHome System uses multiple sensors to communicate and log activities of daily living and then alert caregivers or loved ones of changes in behavioral patterns. Alerts are designed to notify caregivers and /or loved ones of pre-determined activities, or inactivity, within the home, all of which are customized to address individual needs.

Components like motion sensors, door/window contacts, and bed pressure pads address issues including falls, wandering, and sleep patterns. The SimplyHome System can also monitor wellness priorities ranging from blood pressure and glucose levels, to weight and medication management. Read Full Press Release


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