As I have promised readers of my blog, I will always be forthcoming about what products I or my employer offer when I’m discussing them. My employer offers GrandCare Systems at www.yourhomeservesyou.com. I was very much involved in the decision to become a GrandCare dealer. I did a good deal of research to learn about what GrandCare was, what it offered, who was behind it, and what the competition offered.
While I was aware of some of the challenges confronting seniors through my experience installing home automation systems, I was not aware of some of the direct solutions offered by GrandCare. I was aware of Personal Emergency Reporting Systems (P.E.R.S.), and I was aware that a burglar alarm system had some capabilities to be adapted to detect a lack of activity in a home. Unfortunately a P.E.R.S. would do nothing, especially if not worn or if the pendant was out of range of the receiver. Burglar alarm systems would most likely become a nuisance to whomever was to be called if there was no activity in the house, because circumstances would change from time to time. It would also be depending upon those in a central station who are used to burglar and fire alarm signals to understand clearly what the signals from the burglar alarm meant. I’ve often had things interpreted incorrectly by a central station operator, it taught me to keep things simple when involving them.
When I was first approached to become a GrandCare Dealer, I took a quick look at the website and dismissed it. Thankfully, I was compelled to take a second look at it. That’s when I saw that it was as limited as I had thought it was. I thought it would just take a few medical measurements, that’s it. I realized it did so much more than that- that it preserved communication and connection with family rather than replacing it with a phone call from a central station or a message only when something is wrong. If I list all of the features currently available, this post would quickly become obsolete, so I’ll link you to GrandCare’s website for the latest information about features www.grandcare.com.
I researched the competition with every search phrase I could think of. I keep informed daily about developments in the industry. As of the writing of this entry, I have still seen nothing that offers any real competition to GrandCare. I’ve seen burglar alarm systems that are supposed to “learn” the normal patterns of activity and then call the central station when there’s a deviation from that pattern. Another is a service that calls daily to check in on you. “Hi, Mr. (mispronounce terribly your name here) are you still alive? We just want you to know Mr. (mispronounce it again, just to let you know how well we know you) that we care!”. I saw a device that reminded you to take medication, then spit it out like it was a bubble gum machine, a GPS tracker that needed to be charged and worn by the person who wanders because they forget things (gee- like the tracker?). I’ve seen systems that record some wellness measurements, or that ask how you feel today versus yesterday. I assume it would call someone if you told it I feel miserable today, I was miserable yesterday and I’ll probably feel miserable tomorrow too. Should we just pencil in the whole week for feeling that way now and call it good?
Maybe I’m terribly misrepresenting these other systems. If I am, please correct me. My point is that each system addressed one facet of aging in place, but not all of them, or at least not the important ones. What about the social benefits of staying connected to friends and family with email and pictures? What about listening to music, or hearing your children’s voices? What about seeing pictures from around the world or of various animals, buildings, skylines or art? What about calendars, quotations, scriptures, weather, games and something to engage the mind- like trivia? These were addressed by none of the other systems; would it be fair to call them “competition” since they don’t? None of them let caregivers dictate what “normal” was as far as activities. None of them circumvented the central station, communicating directly with the caregiver via phone, text, email or all three. None of them provided for caregiver notes to family or other caregivers. I don’t know if any of them allowed for printing graphs of data from blood pressure or other wellness measurements, if they recorded them at all. I also didn’t note any of them contacting anyone if things were outside of custom limits or trends. None of them monitored room temperature or would remind the user to put a coat on if it was chilly outside. Amongst other things, none of them could turn on a lamp so that the user wasn’t ever in the dark or walking in to a dark room.
It was the lack of competition as well as the multiple benefits that made the decision to become a GrandCare dealer an easy one. I invite my readers to do their own research, and decide for themselves what meets their needs best? Something that does half the job for half the price? That would be like buying a car that would only take you to work, but wouldn’t get you home. Even if those solutions meet your needs today, will they meet them tomorrow?
OK, perhaps not the most informative blog you’ll read today. It was inspired by yet another press release from the “competition” that offered fewer benefits and no real competition to GrandCare that crossed my desktop today on its way to the deleted items folder. I’m hoping that anyone reading this who might have dismissed a GrandCare System as a solution to aging in place to take a second look, like I did.