1Nov2017

Want to Make Electronics More Accessible to Seniors with Mobility Issues?

 

By Lucy Wyndham, Caregiver Connection

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Photo by Louis Blythe on Unsplash

 In 2014, the United States Census Bureau reported that “mobility is [the] most common disability among older Americans.” Even the most simple of tasks can be next to impossible when walking and moving is impaired. While senior living communities do an excellent job of helping older adults overcome these obstacles, it is crucial to think of ways to help improve the daily experience of seniors with mobility issues.

One commonly overlooked struggle is the ability to use common electronics. Getting up to answer the phone, turning on the TV, or walking to the computer are not always possible for older adults. To help make electronics easier to use for seniors with mobility issues, review three top modifications that can be made to any living space.


Encourage the use of mobile phones

When creating mobility-friendly homes for seniors, it is essential not to overlook considerations for commonly used electronics. This is especially true when it comes to the phone that is selected for an older adult with mobility challenges. For those who consistently have difficulties answering their landline phone, a mobile phone is a wonderful alternative. Seniors can choose to keep their mobile phones by their side at all times, and never have to worry about missing a call. They can also have quick access to a phone in case they need to call for emergency help.

Select an easy-to-use television remote

Being able to control the television without having to stand up or walk is another important consideration. Since many older adults have difficulties with seeing and pressing small buttons, having an easy-to-use remote can be just as important as having a remote. Giving seniors the ability to effortlessly watch television helps foster independence and removes unnecessary hassle.

Switch to tablets or laptops rather than desktop computers

Getting up, walking to, and sitting down at a computer is a major challenge for seniors with mobility issues. Individuals who are unable to easily access their computers may be discouraged from staying in touch with loved ones by email, social media, or video chat. That’s why it is crucial to help make computers as accessible as possible. Some seniors may enjoy the idea of switching from a desktop computer to a tablet or laptop. Tablets and laptops provide all of the same features as a desktop computer, and in most cases, are just as user-friendly.

With more seniors using technology and electronics every day, it is essential to make computers, phones, and televisions more accessible for older adults struggling with mobility challenges. A few simple modifications can make it possible for seniors to access their electronics on a daily basis with minimal effort.

20Oct2017

Battling Pneumonia in the Elderly

By Lucy Wyndham, Caregiver Connection

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Pneumonia among seniors may be common, but it can have severe consequences, causing almost 51,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. The illness is a particularly big worry among the elderly, because this group can have a weakened immune system and other differences that make them more susceptible to contagion. In this post, we discuss the causes and signs of pneumonia in the elderly, and discover how to prevent it through specific measures, including staying connected to vital information, vaccination, and lifestyle changes.

The Nature of Pneumonia - Types, Causes and Symptoms

Pneumonia is a term used to describe a category of lung infections which may be caused by bacteria or by viruses. Symptoms vary from person to person but they can include a high fever, rapid breathing, headache, lethargy, a sharp stabbing pain when inhaling oxygen, chills and sweating. Less common symptoms can include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Bacterial pneumonia tends to present more severe and longer-lasting symptoms though both types of pneumonia require diagnosis and treatment. Additional, less common types of pneumonia include bronchial pneumonia (involving inflammation of the bronchi), lobar pneumonia (in which one or more of lobes become inflamed) and double pneumonia (when infection is present in both lungs).

Why are Seniors at a Higher Risk of Pneumonia?

Elderly persons in nursing homes are particularly susceptible to pneumonia because they can have impaired immune systems owing to their age (the risk can increase if they are recovering from surgery). Contributing factors also include chronic obstructive lung diseases, use of a nasogastric tube, and dysphagia (having difficulty swallowing). Because immune systems can be weaker in the elderly, it can be easier for pneumonia to spread within a care setting. Another important reason why the elderly are so susceptible to lung infections is the physiological changes they undergo - for instance, the lungs lose elasticity and the strength of respiratory muscles decline. The cough reflex, too, is weaker in this group.

What Strategies Should be Taken?

Carers and family members should be aware of the symptoms of pneumonia, so that elderly patients can receive a diagnosis and treatment immediately. Usually, diagnosis will involve a blood test, CAT scan and sometimes, additional tests. Doctors need to determine whether the infection has a viral or bacterial source, in order to administer the appropriate medication. Sometimes, hospitalization is necessary - this is especially true when oxygen levels are so low that patients require the use of oxygen machines and intravenous medication. Information is also key; many people aged 60+ are embracing the Internet age, opening social media pages to keep up with friends who live far away, and using the Internet as a research tool. Nursing homes with computer facilities should encourage residents to gain information on pneumonia and other illnesses they may be more prone to, so they can take preventive measures.

In the case of pneumonia, prevention is certainly better than cure. Seniors should get the yearly pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine, and practice strict hygiene on a daily basis - this means washing hands frequently, especially after using the restroom and before eating. Finally, they should refrain from smoking, which significantly increases their pneumonia risk.

Pneumonia is a serious, life-threatening infection which affects those with weakened immune systems strongly. Families and health professionals therefore need to be on the alert for possible symptoms, ensure their loved ones receive the pneumonia vaccine, and encourage the adoption of healthy habits, to keep it at bay.

29Sep2017

CareConnect is turning senior living technology upside down

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And here's how:

Award-winning CareConnect is the only fully managed technology solution for senior living communities. It’s the only ONE that offers:

  • No upfront capital expenses on equipment and maintenance included
  • The Technology Concierge – our employee onsite, handling resident set up and day-to-day concerns
  • One provider for TV, internet, phone and safety call
  • A competitive edge in the market
  • An opportunity for additional revenue.

In other words, CareConnect is the only technology solution for senior living that actually makes dollars and sense.

For a detailed look at how CareConnect is changing the industry, download our whitepaper:
The New Paradigm for Senior Living Technology: From Expense to Revenue Stream

22Sep2017

The New Paradigm for Senior Living Technology: From Expense to Revenue Stream

 /CareConnect Vice President of Sales & Marketing Lou Lindsey has penned a whitepaper that describes how CareConnect is turning the senior living technology industry upside down.

In it, he describes how the traditional model for TV, phone and internet service in senior living communities doesn’t serve operators or residents well.

CareConnect by ESCO Technologies offers a new model that allows senior living owners and operators to monetize infrastructure costs and generate new revenue, while putting more heads in the bed. 

To learn more, read or download the whitepaper, by clicking the link below!

The New Paradigm for Senior Living Technology: From Expense to Revenue Stream

25Aug2017

Smart E-Call, the innovative wireless nurse call system from CareConnect

/ Forget about blinking lights and pagers. Your caregivers can receive detailed alerts on their smart phones – showing who needs emergency assistance, and where.

CareConnect Smart E-Call, the innovative wireless nurse call system from ESCO Technologies, uses patented smart phone technology. And it’s available at a price significantly less than comparable systems.

Because it’s a wireless system, CareConnect Smart E-Call can be installed quickly, with minimal disruption. With campus-wide coverage, not just in-room. Once installed, you’ll enjoy 24/7 support and automatic software maintenance and system upgrades.

Learn about all the advantages that make CareConnect Smart E-Call the right call.

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1Aug2017

Technology Is Important To Today’s Senior Citizens

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It is rare to meet someone that doesn’t have a cell phone or use the internet daily. We’ve grown to depend on technology to keep us connected to each other and the world around us. Senior citizens today are no different than the rest, although they may bring their own specific set of challenges to the table with regards to using technology to their best advantage. Seniors have seen technology evolve from black and white television screens to tablets made specifically for toddlers. A lot of new and exciting technology is available, but they didn’t grow up with a smartphone in their pocket. So, what technologies are important to seniors today, and what does that mean for senior living communities?


Video Games–Gaming consoles are becoming increasingly popular in senior living communities. Video games are being used for more than just recreational devices for kids. They offer low impact exercises and brain games that can help offset memory loss and keep mental acuity sharp. They make keeping the body and mind fit and healthy into a more fun and interactive activity that older adults are embracing. Some senior living communities are using gaming consoles as selling points for potential residents.

Apps–Whether on a smartphone or a tablet, apps are everywhere. Apps can be used to connect with friends and family or read a book with large print. Seniors are using technology more and more, and with the popularity of apps like Facebook and Skype, it’s easy to see why. Seniors don’t want to feel isolated, and often making the move to a senior living community can come with the fear of being alone and withdrawn. Senior living communities that boast a reliable internet connection and the capability to help seniors navigate what can be a confusing array of different social apps will be at a serious advantage.

Health tracking wearables–Items like smart watches that measure heart rate and measure physical activity are not just popular with the young crowd. Seniors are turning more and more to tracking their health habits online. Whether it’s counting steps or tracking blood pressure or blood sugar rates over time, tech savvy seniors are embracing electronics for monitoring their health and fitness goals.

The days of assuming seniors aren’t interested in new technology are over. Baby boomers have been using computers in the work place for quite some time now, and will be looking to their senior living community for help getting set up and trouble shooting problems. With a technology concierge by your side, and reliable wireless internet, your community can impress potential residents by simply showing them you understand their technology needs and are ready for the future.

27Jun2017

Technology Concierge & Single Source Solution Convince Wesley Woods To Change Course

“A near disaster.” That’s how Charles Leader, IT Director for Wesley Woods at New Albany, described every previous technology installation at senior living communities run by parent organization Methodist ElderCare (MEC).

Leader has been with MEC for more than two decades, and worked on each of those installations, which include everything from telephone and TV to Internet and emergency call systems for residents.

/Wendell Graves, Executive Director of Wesley Woods, echoed Leader’s concerns. “Between the installers and contractors and cable companies, it was always so difficult to deal with all of the entities we had to bring to the table. A lack of responsiveness by one could cause issues for others.”

Graves and Leader had resigned themselves to another demanding installation for Wesley Woods, a new senior community being built in the Columbus, Ohio area.

“I couldn’t believe there was a bundled product with such a wide scope – particularly one designed for senior communities.” – Wendell Graves, Wesley Woods Executive Director.

That’s when Dawn Schaffner, the COO of MEC, was contacted by Ray Essex of Data Talk Telecom about a solution that would allow them to work with one vendor for their entire suite of technology and entertainment solutions: CareConnect from ESCO Technologies, LLC.

Essex had heard a presentation by ESCO Technologies CEO  Jerry Grove at the annual IDeACOM conference and was immediately interested. And because he was a trusted local partner for MEC, Graves and Leader were interested, too.

Unfortunately, the general contractor for the new location had tentatively awarded contracts to a national vendor for TV, Internet and phone service, and to a local electrical contractor for cabling and nurse call systems.

But after a web presentation by ESCO, Graves and Leader were so impressed with the CareConnect concept that they contacted the general contractor, Corna Kokosing, who was also willing to consider CareConnect.

A few days later, ESCO presented its CareConnect solution to Graves and Leader and Corna Kokosing at the Data Talk offices.

Graves and Leader decided that CareConnect was the ideal solution for Wesley Woods at New Albany. “We had never seen a presentation like this before,” said Leader. “It never occurred to me that one company would handle all the different pieces I have to deal with.”

Graves was equally impressed. “I couldn’t believe there was a bundled product with such a wide scope – particularly one designed for senior communities.”

He was also impressed with the CareConnect Technology Concierge, a CareConnect employee who works onsite several days a week to help residents with everything from initial room setup to connecting a new computer.

“That has always been a problem in our communities,” said Graves. “Whenever there’s an issue, we have to get an IT person, or someone from Resident Services – whoever we can find. Now we can tell residents to make an appointment with the Technology Concierge.”

Approximately 30 days after their initial contact with ESCO, Wesley Woods at New Albany selected the CareConnect suite for its entire range of entertainment and technology solutions – TV, telephone, Internet and emergency call system.

“These things are an essential part of life, not just at senior communities but for everybody,” said Leader. “We have to get it right.”

Wesley Woods at New Albany is scheduled to be completely open in 2017.

9May2017

ESCO Technologies Partners With InTouchLink On User-Friendly Communication Platform For Senior Communities

CommunityEngage Simplifies Messaging, Internet Access, Training and More for Residents, Families and Staff

Liberty Township, Ohio and Toronto, Ontario – ESCO Technologies, LLC announced it is partnering with InTouchLink to offer CommunityEngage — a simple, user-friendly communication platform for residents, family and staff of senior communities.

InTouchLink is the premier technology solutions provider to senior housing operators, serving sites throughout Canada and the United States. ESCO’s award-winning CareConnect managed services solution is the only integrated telecommunications suite designed specifically for the senior housing market. It includes residential and business telephone, TV, and Internet, as well as the new Smart E-call wireless nurse call system.

CommunityEngage will be available immediately as a value-added option to CareConnect and will utilize InTouchLink’s patent-pending technology to offer:

  •  A robust communication link between residents and their families
  • An internal messaging tool
  • A complete learning management system for staff
  • A 24/7 community news and information source
  • A simplified, senior-friendly internet and email platform.

“Our two organizations have a shared mission, which is to develop solutions that meet the specific needs of senior living communities,” said ESCO CEO Jerry Grove. “We looked at InTouchLink’s outstanding technology and felt it was a perfect complement to CareConnect.”

“Everyone within the senior care environment deserves to be connected,” said Jonathan Seliger, Vice President, InTouchLink. “That includes not only residents, but also their families — and the staff who serve them. CommunityEngage, along with the rest of the CareConnect suite, delivers on that goal.”

The addition of CommunityEngage comes just weeks after ESCO announced it was acquiring ERS E-call, whose patented nurse call technology it used to develop CareConnect’s Smart E-call system.

“This is another key step in our multi-year growth strategy, aimed at making us the foremost one-stop technology solution for senior living,” said Grove.

About ESCO Technologies

ESCO Technologies is the nation’s exclusive provider of an integrated suite of wholesale communications and entertainment solutions for the senior living industry through its award-winning CareConnect product. The company also offers innovative telecommunications services for businesses and consumers, such as the Ubiquity Mobile cellphone service. For more information, visit careconnectbyesco.com.

About InTouchLink

InTouchLink is North America’s leading provider of technology for senior housing communities. Its suite of custom-designed senior-friendly products have been tailor-made for retirement communities, long-term care homes, skilled nursing facilities and other senior living environments and include digital signagededicated community TV channels, TV-based and online staff training, simple emailsafe internet and and much more. For more information, visit http://www1.intouchlink.com .

 

 

 

18Apr2017

Is Your Senior Living Technology Relevant to Today’s Seniors?

Technology makes our lives easier and continues to advance and make a greater impact as time goes on.  Even in the senior living industry, not staying on top of current technology trends can be detrimental to business.  If you haven’t taken stock of how your community is comparing to others in your area, you should.  Here’s a short list of where to compare your community’s technology capabilities with your competitors and why it’s important to make sure your community measures up.

TV Service:  The desire for options in modern senior living can’t be stressed enough. Today’s aging population is accustomed to television options that go beyond the standard select channels. With the growth of digital cable and networks for every topic imaginable, seniors expect more advanced entertainment options.For even more customization, interactive senior television takes resident engagement to the next level. With a program like InteracTV, residents’ TV experience is a two-way street. They can enjoy their favorite shows while also viewing upcoming community events, scheduling appointments or ordering takeout.

Safety:  Nothing shows your community’s commitment to residents like solid safety precautions. With modern safety technology, like wireless nurse call systems, residents are not only safer, but your community is also more efficient. With a wireless nurse call system, wireless pendants allow staff to discretely track activity patterns and monitor medical needs, alerting them to health issues as they arise. This technology also give residents a sense of security knowing they are protected across the entire campus, and can quickly get the help they need in case of an emergency.

Internet Connection:  Having weak, slow internet is unacceptable these days.  Fast internet connections are required for facetiming with loved ones and streaming videos and music.  Seniors are looking for ways to stay connected to the world after they make the move to a senior living community.  If your community can’t provide the kind of internet connection necessary, potential residents are going to turn to a community that can.

The choice to upgrade senior living technology can be daunting. But not having the important discussions to take the right next steps can stunt growth and the ability to remain competitive. Contact us to find out how ESCO Technologies can help you find the best approach to evaluate your current senior living technology and illustrate what streamlined senior TV, Internet, phone and life safety systems can mean for your community.

29Mar2017

ESCO Technologies Acquires Emergency Response Solutions

Move Will Further Enhance ESCOs Award-Winning CareConnect Managed Services Solution for Senior Communities

Liberty Township, OH – ESCO Technologies, LLC announced it is acquiring Emergency Response Solutions (ERS), maker of ERS ECall. ERS Ecall is an Inovonics-based system with patented smartphone integration technology.

“The addition of ERS’s patented interactive wireless life safety communications system will certainly make ESCO a top contender for the emergency call system of choice in the senior living industry,” said Mike Halverson CEO president of ERS.

This move will allow ESCO to provide its own enhanced e-call product as part of its CareConnect managed services solution. CareConnect is the only integrated telecommunications suite designed specifically for the senior housing market, and includes residential and business telephone, TV, and Internet, as well as wireless nurse call systems such as ERS Ecall.

“One of the key elements to our continued success is having control of the technology that we deploy,” said ESCO CEO Jerry Grove. “Nurse call systems were the foundation of CareConnect. Acquiring ERS gives us the opportunity to bring the technology in-house and make it a truly seamless part of the CareConnect solution.”

ERS has been a pioneer in e-call technology and has over 50 years of experience in the security/life safety field, from product design to sales and service. Grove said the company plans to enhance ERS Ecall to better integrate it with CareConnect’s senior-friendly design and focus. Planned enhancements include:

  • Integration with CareConnect television service,
  • Integration with CareConnect’s managed TV remote, and
  • Free Wifi calling with a smartphone interface.
  • Android and/or Apple devices for caregivers to receive alerts with automatic updated reports and documentation.

The enhanced product will become the cornerstone of CareConnect Managed Ecall. This managed service solution that will include onsite support from CareConnect’s unique Technology Concierge, an ESCO employee who works onsite in senior communities to support CareConnect. The Technology Concierge will set up residents with their Ecall pendants and will monitor the system’s battery alert and replace batteries as needed – a critical step that can literally mean the difference between life or death.

The Technology Concierge will also perform regular system audits to check for issues like missing devices, as well as monthly testing of critical components – all tasks that would otherwise fall on overworked community staff.

Grove noted that the acquisition of ERS is just the latest major strategic investment by ESCO.

“Over the past 18 months, we’ve invested in larger office space, warehouse facilities and our NOC (network operations center),” he said. “And we have several more initiatives in the pipeline that we’ll announce soon. This reflects our growth strategy and commitment to being the premier single-source technology solution for senior living.”

CareConnect Managed Ecall is expected to be available for CareConnect customers immediately. ESCO will also begin work immediately on the planned product enhancement road map as the company strives to deliver unique features that customers have requested.

About ESCO Technologies

ESCO Technologies is the nation’s exclusive provider of an integrated suite of wholesale communications and entertainment solutions for the senior living industry through its award winning CareConnect product. The company also offers innovative telecommunications services for businesses and consumers, such as the Ubiquity Mobile cellphone service. For more information, visit careconnectbyesco.com.

 

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