The tools needed to practice Interdependent Care are here today.
When we choose to use what we have, we will have what we need.
Claude A. Goodman, CareWheels Founder
In 2001, CareWheels began researching how to use networked SmartHome technologies to support people‘s desire to continue living in their own homes and communities. Our goal is to develop TeleCare Services to help people live and age-in-place for as long as practical and avoid institutionalization if at all possible.
We began using networked SmartHome technologies that have evolved into the Internet of Things. When we started, a computer cost a few thousand dollars and had the power of a golf cart compared to today’s computing devices that cost just a few hundred dollars and run like a new Tesla on the Internet that has grown from a slow, expensive information highway to fast, pervasive wired and wireless services. We now have the tools we need to connect and care in powerful new ways.
Research has confirmed that our society's high-tech and eldercare sectors hold the keys to unlock each-other's potential. Social Technologies for Interdependent Care harness GeronTech innovations to provide TeleCare services that empower boomers, elders and caregivers with a hybrid peer-care model based on reciprocal interdependence. TeleCare services have the potential to improve quality-of-life and reduce health care costs by reducing preventable emergency room visits and hospital admissions. Social technologies and mobile devices empower us to provide a broad range of health, care and social services that support our desire to age in place, just in time to meet the urgent needs of our aging society.
Silver Mother system uses small wireless sensors called Cookies that may be secured to common household items to detect a person’s daily activities. Cookies measure motion and temperature, transmitting this data to the Mother hub. The Mother plugs into your internet service, connecting the Cookies to the server, where their sensor data is processed into meaningful information about daily activity patterns and sent back to your Personal Computer, Smartphone or Tablet. A set of Apps provide a remarkably useful sense of how things are going at home. They provide unique perspectives that encourage the 3 A's: Awareness that all is well, Attention when there are deviations from normal daily patterns, and Action when those deviations signify changes in safety or wellbeing.
GeronTech uses technology to support good health, full social participation and independent living. There is growing recognition in the GeronTech research community of the value of repurposing existing SmartHome technologies, such as wireless computer and sensor networks, to provide cognitive and social supports for households dealing with the challenges of aging in place. CareWheels implemented a residential SmartHome Living Laboratory to develop and evaluate a set of technologies including: a wireless sensor network, videophone and local social health network to demonstrate function, integration and utility with a group of pre-senescent people with disabilities serving as proxies for frail elders.
LOVE Bank, the Lake Oswego Value Exchange (LOVE) was a social purpose TimeBank that explored new ways to exchange caring skills and services to meet the needs of people aging in the Lake Oswego community. Community Credit, a form of social capital denominated in HOURs, was the basis of tax-exempt exchange between participants through the LOVE Bank. Our research continues to explore how to leverage GeronTech and TimeBanking to build peer-based social health networks for mutual care and support. One of the best ways to prepare for the "Silver Tsunami" is to harness our information, communication and health care infrastructures to build intentional communities that can deliver care services into the home.
Lotsa Helping Hands provides tools that tap the full potential of our communities to help overcome the challenges of aging in place. It is a free online service that provides a set of Web-based social tools to create caring communities. Lotsa Helping Hands simplifies caregiving and volunteering by empowering all members of a team to give and receive with ease, using calendaring and coordination tools that work from computers, tablets and smartphones.