Recent News

Warning Signs of Incontinence

Accidental leakage can be an embarrassing issue. Incontinence is even worse. More than 51% of people over 65 years old are affected and are left at a loss of how to rectify the problem.

Significant changes in your urinary habits, including leakages when you cough or sneeze, frequent urination, or pain while urinating, could be signs of an incontinence problem. Read on to learn more about the most common causes of incontinence.

  1. Medications

Many commonly prescribed drugs are often to blame for leaks when you laugh, cough, or sneeze. Antidepressants, blood pressure medications, diuretics, and even some over-the-counter cold medicines have been found to exacerbate the issue. Any recent changes in your daily medication regimen could be the culprit.

  1. Overactive bladder

Urge incontinence, or a strong, sudden gush of urine, is usually caused by an overactive bladder. This is often a symptom of a more serious underlying issue, such as nerve damage from a stroke, complications with diabetes, or prostate problems in older men. An infection or hernia are also likely causes and are important to see your doctor to receive proper treatment.

The Telehealth Toilet Sensor helps users identify forthcoming urinary complications. Our sensor is placed around the neck of the toilet and is activated when someone is on or in front of the toilet. Because it activates separately from the toilet’s flushing mechanism, users can detect the frequency and duration of bathroom visits, giving them access to a more complete data collection and problem solving tool.

Bathroom privacy and the ability to prevent embarrassing accidents are important to most people, especially as they get older. We have worked hard to make the Toilet Sensor a useful and discrete home health monitor.

Contact us today to learn more about our products, including the Toilet Sensor.

Posted in Uncategorized |

Introducing the Telehealth Toilet Sensor

We are so excited to introduce the Toilet Sensor, a recent advancement in the home healthcare and post-acute care monitoring market. The Toilet Sensor can be paired with an alarm system to detect when someone stands in front of or sits on the toilet. Paired with an approprTOILET-MATiate monitoring system, this allows a caregiver to monitor frequency of use as well as duration of each use. With an accurate picture of a patients’ routines, they will have the possibility of catching the onset of certain Urological issues before they manifest into large debilitating problems.

There are a few different types of sensors commercially available for measuring bathroom use, such as a toilet flush sensor that is installed in the tank of the toilet. However, the sensor was developed to address three different issues we saw with these sensors: determining duration of use, detecting when a toilet is used without flushing, and the emergence of tank less toilets.

The Telehealth Toilet Sensor is a mat that is placed around the neck of the toilet and detects the presence of someone on or in front of the toilet. It is constructed from a durable water resistant polyvinyl top layer and a water resistant, PVC coated non-slip bottom layer. Both our sensor and the typical flush sensor detect the frequency of use, but only our sensor can also detect the duration of a toilet use. This additional information can give a caregiver a better idea of a person’s routine as well as any deviation away from this routine.

While flushing the toilet after every use is a habit by many people, it is also common to see and hear of situations in which a person may not flush. Some reasons may include water conservation or simply not wanting to disturb someone who is in the next room. Whatever the reason, sensors placed in the tank become less effective because they may miss some bathroom uses when the toilet is not flushed. Without a log of every bathroom use, you get an incomplete picture of a person’s daily activities and well-being.

Thirdly, with new construction of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, not all installed toilets have tanks that sensors can be installed in. These toilets rely on the water pressure of the building to provide the force necessary to flush the toilet. These toilets are commonly seen in public restrooms as well as commercial restrooms. Our Toilet Sensor can be used with any toilet or urinal, regardless of its flushing mechanism.

Finally, bathroom privacy is an issue that most, if not all, people are concerned with. Cameras and even motion sensors are frequently unwelcome in the bathroom due to privacy concerns. Therefore, we have worked hard to make the Toilet Sensor be a non-invasive sensor that still delivers useful and important data to caregivers who are concerned about the health and well-being of a patient or loved one.

Contact us today to learn more about our products, including the Toilet Sensor.

Posted in Aging in place, Resources, Technology |

4 Ways to Reduce Eldercare Costs

The cost of long term healthcare is rising in the US. A recent study has shown that in Pennsylvania the median annual cost of nursing home care has increased by more than 5%, placing a heavy burden on family caregivers. In 2011 80% of individuals that need help with daily activities and their families paid at least $3 billion on in-home long-term care.

According to actuarial consulting firm Milliman, self-insuring is an option for families with considerable wealth. Families will need $500,000 to $750,000 of retirement assets set aside specifically for long-term healthcare services. But how can a typical family with a US median income of $51,371 manage eldercare costs?

Below you’ll find four cost reduction techniques to consider when discussing long-term health plans.

1. Cut Costs

  • Meal preparation and delivery

If you or your loved one needs help with food preparation, from grocery shopping to cooking, there are thousands of services that offer low cost meal delivery services, like Meals on Wheels.

  • Lower heating and cooling costs

Heating and cooling a house can be a significant expense, especially for those living on limited income. Organizations like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can help lower energy costs associated with heating and cooling. In addition, weatherization assistance programs can assist in weatherproofing homes so costs stay low.

2. Save Money

  • Healthcare savings plan

If your employer offers a healthcare savings plan, absolutely take advantage of it. These savings can be used to pay for personal medical expenses as well as expenses incurred while caring for aging family members.

  • Tax breaks

Eldercare activities like home renovations and prescriptions are deductible from federal income taxes. Some home improvements, including adding an elevator, central air conditioning, or ramps, can be made with a doctor’s prescription, making them worth the paperwork. If a spouse is remaining at home while the other enters nursing home care, home equity or reverse mortgage lines of credit can be a good resource for funding.

3. Insurance

Long-term care insurance can be an unwieldy undertaking; there is so much conflicting information available about the advantages and disadvantages of taking out a policy. Here is some information to put you in the right direction.

These policies, usually purchased by people in their 50s, cover a wide range of care options, including visiting or live-in caregivers, home care, assisted living, nursing homes, and Alzheimer’s care facilities. Many people consider this type of insurance because they are concerned about paying out-of-pocket for health expenses. In addition, premiums paid on long-term care insurance are usually tax deductible, depending on the age of the policyholder.

Often, life insurance policies and annuities allow investors to withdraw cash to pay for health care services. While these types of investments are slightly more expensive, the money that isn’t withdrawn can still be used as income or death benefits.

4. In-Home Care

There are several options for in-home care, from family caregivers to home health monitoring devices. The best choice for you depends on the level of assistance you or your family member need to perform Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), including bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom, Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), such as housework and taking medication. It also varies based on how much regular medical care you will require. You should have regular discussions with your family members to make sure you are all prepared before immediate help is needed.

In-home care and monitoring is an option that offers families with peace of mind about their aging relatives while preserving freedom and independence in their own home. As aging-in-place grows in popularity, systems like these are noninvasive while providing security and collecting data that can help predict future health issues.

A few tips for hiring caregivers:

  • Do the hiring directly. This becomes easier once you are familiar with the elder person’s needs.
  • Consider individual caregivers instead of going through an agency. You could save as much as 30%, but there are no substitutes at short notice.
  • Try respite care to balance out the hours of home care needed.

What cost saving advice would you add to this list?

Posted in Aging in place, Caregiving, Resources | Tagged , , , |

Growth in the Aging in Place Technology Market

Aging in place – a powerful idea that is increasingly preferred by the US’s expanding elderly population. Many in this group feel trapped, wanting to retain their independence in their own home while giving their family members peace of mind regarding their safety as they age. In other situations, family members live too far from their elderly loved one to provide care effectively.

As the need for a comprehensive solution to these issues rises, new technologies are being developed to address them.  According to Laurie Orlov, veteran eldercare advocate and founder of Aging in Place Technology Watch, the eldercare technology market is worth $2 billion but by 2020 will have expanded to at least $20 billion.

The market is developing rapidly, with pieces of a complete solution spread among several companies. While many products are aimed for seniors to use in their own care, there is a significant focus on current and future caregivers. “Caregiving technology for family members and healthcare professionals will be a big driver,” says Orlov.

Two major segments of the aging in place technology market are home safety and security and home health and wellness. Caregivers are searching for a way to allow their loved ones to remain in their homes while ensuring their safety and wellbeing. In-home health monitoring offers a comprehensive solution to this issue. Remote caregiving via healthcare management systems, like the one offered by BeClose, provide detailed information about your family member’s activity in a noninvasive way. Through a web-based dashboard, caregivers can track detailed information and receive alerts if there is a problem.

What kind of technology do you use as a caregiver? Would you use a remote healthcare management system? Join the discussion in the comments below.

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4 Top Free Apps for Caregivers

1. Unfrazzle

Free for iPhone and iPad

Unfrazzle is a new app (launched in May 2013) that is meant to ease caregivers’ lives. It allows caregivers to track a customizable list of variables like mood, weight, and medications. It also allows users to coordinate care responsibilities with others in their care networks. It is extremely flexible and makes no assumptions, allowing users to define their own important tasks.

2. CareZone

Free for iPhone, iPad, Android

CareZone is designed for caregivers who want to track medications and coordinate responsibilities with others using shared calendar and journal functions. The other caregivers with whom you share information can add or edit information giving you a complete idea of the care your loved one is receiving. Another great feature is the “CareZone Broadcast.” This allows users to send a voice message to 100 people and reports on who received it.

3. CarePartners Mobile

Free for iPhone and Android

CarePartners Mobile allows users to easily share and coordinate responsibilities among a team of caregivers. Tasks can be assigned to various individuals on the team and synced into the phone’s calendar to receive reminders. The app lets caregivers see exactly who has done what task so they can better allocate their time with their loved ones.

4. iBiomed

Free for iPhone and iPad

iBiomed is used by caregivers to help manage more complex responsibilities. The app allows users to simplify record keeping among multiple doctors, medications, or medical diagnoses. It makes for more efficient records sharing and management. It can track current medications, medical tests, diets and supplements, and can record notes on daily condition.

Posted in Caregiving | Tagged , , |

Welcome

Telehealth Sensors is dedicated to making it easy for caregivers to stay connected with loved ones by advancing and improving age in place technology. We want this blog to be a place for you to share stories about your caregiving experiences and discuss solutions to your concerns about issues you have encountered caring for those aging in place or living with disabilities.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has reported that the percentage of the population over 80 years old is rising internationally. In the US it will double by 2050. A growing trend among this group is to postpone moving into assisted living centers in favor of remaining independent in their own homes as long as possible. Presence detection systems using products like those we offer are quickly gaining popularity as they provide peace of mind for caregivers while maintaining residents’ privacy and independence.

This website is packed with information, not only about our products’ benefits, but also information for caregivers and those interested in retaining their independence as they age. The resources provided range from advice about effective caregiving and technology to the stories and experiences you share. The blog is a place to learn about developments at Telehealth Sensors and industry trends that will affect you, as well as how to leverage technology to manage caregiving responsibilities.

We encourage you to comment throughout this blog to further the conversation by sharing your concerns with the community and your thoughts on current caregiving technology and resources. Thank you for joining our discussion.

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