As the leading provider of products and services for the over 50s in the UK, Saga has long been aware of both the positive, and the more challenging implications of an ageing demographic. GrandCare Systems® is delighted to have been chosen by Saga as their technology to help their over 50’s stay independent, and at home. GrandCare was recently featured in Saga’s February 2013 issue of Saga Magazine. The story highlights how one family utilized the GrandCare System to strengthen their family bond and feel more connected and in touch, even though they were over 1,600 miles apart. It discusses Saga’s entrance into the digital health market, introducing this visionary technology into the UK in 2013.
High-tech home help
Saga Magazine, February 2013, Fit for life, Pg. 86
Words Charles Laurence
A new touch-screen system arriving in the UK this year (courtesy of Saga!) promises to revolutionise old age. It helps to keep older people in their own homes for longer by enabling family or carers to keep a loving eye on mum or dad from afar. Here’s where it all began…
At about the time that Michael Murdock began to worry about his mother’s approaching old age, his eye was caught by a stand at a high-tech trade show. It was called GrandCare Systems. Murdock was in business fitting ‘smart’ automation technology to expensive homes – his was a company you called when you wanted to be able to set the swimming-pool temperature from your car, or watch the front gate with hidden cameras. Amid the gizmos and trade tools at the show, GrandCare seemed to be offering something a little different. ‘I thought “Wow”,’ he says. ‘Here was a company with the sort of technology I use, but adapted to help me look after my mom!’
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Saga is bringing the system to the UK Saga is working with GrandCare to develop a service for use by families in the UK. We are currently piloting it in 20 or so homes and aim to have our system available in parts of the UK in the first quarter of this year and nationally by the summer. The UK version will have similar functionality to its American cousin, ie: a touch screen in your loved one’s home that allows them to:
- See messages, photos and videos that you, or anyone authorised by you, send them
- Make video calls (such as Skype)
- Use websites that you set up for them at the touch of a single button
- See (and hear) medication reminders
- Take readings of things such as weight, blood pressure or glucose levels and share them with the appropriate people.
The system can also record movement around the home and send alerts – such as a text message to tell the carer on the receiving end that, say, a back door has been opened after 10pm. The system can be monitored using any device – a laptop, smart phone or iPad – so that family and carers can keep in touch wherever they are in the world.
A note from Saga on their recent partnership with GrandCare Systems:
As the leading provider of products and services for the over 50s in the UK, Saga has long been aware of both the positive, and the more challenging implications of an ageing demographic.
Our business is built on finding solutions to the lifestyle issues faced by people over the age of 50, and as families are becoming increasingly dispersed – either through choice or necessity – and it soon became clear to us that as a result, social isolation and the need for quality care are set to become the biggest issues our ageing population are likely to face – and we wanted to find a quality solution that would help.
As you would expect, we carried out extensive research with a number of organisations worldwide to try and find a way for technology to help bridge the gaps that are emerging in our communities. We decided that using tried and tested technology would give our customers the peace of mind that they would expect from Saga. Naturally many organisations were keen to provide a solution, and after meeting up with many of them we decided to work with GrandCare. Their family centred approach complements our strategy well.
The established technology and simple to use touchscreen really impressed upon us how important these elements were. Ease of use and flexibility were key, the fact that the products could be tailored to the individual, and grow to offer more support as the needs of the individuals change was exactly what was needed.
We are therefore delighted that Saga will be bringing the technology from GrandCare to the UK. This is the first step, but we have big plans to make technology an integral part of the package needed to overcome social isolation in the UK. Over the coming months Saga Magazine, with more than 600,000 subscribers, will be featuring further articles around Telehealth highlighting the reassurance and support that it can bring to families who are looking after loved ones.
Saga has already been piloting the tailored technology in homes around the UK since September and aim to launch in the early part of 2013 – so watch this space!