A Fresh Look at Care and Communication via CareTree

CareTree originally started with my mom. She watches out for family friends who are receiving care in senior care communities. She visited them every day after work but was always talking about the challenges she faced. The caregivers would call and she’d be pulled out of meetings. She never knew whether it was an emergency or something routine since the caregivers wouldn’t leave messages out of privacy concerns. You can read more about how we started here.

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How to Compare WiFi

Data Source: Tom’s Hardware, “Why Wi-Fi Sucks and How It Can Be Helped,” July 2011.

As an installer and manager of WiFi networks nationwide, we are frequently asked to provide quotes to build WiFi systems in apartments and other multi-family environments throughout the country (including senior housing).  These properties typically don’t have technical specifications for what they want in the network; they only tell us that they want 100% coverage.  Without technical specifications, the properties are left to evaluate different proposals to provide 100% coverage solely based on price.

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Introducing CareTree

CareTree is a software-as-a-service platform that replaces paper records in the home health and senior care industries with an online portal that centralizes information and automates communication between all of the branches of care stakeholders: the family, caregivers, doctors and the client.  This results in better care and client satisfaction, reduces costs and increases communication.

We were one of 10 startups invited to the North American AARP National Conference, a finalist at the Chicago Lean Startup Challenge, and we won the Chicago Best 2.0 Startup contest. Continue reading

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Getting Seniors Online

Author: Don Samuelson

As a society, we have an obligation to provide seniors with access to the Internet as well as the necessary training, programs and support mechanisms they need to incorporate it into their daily lives. This is vital to Obama’s premise of preparing people for the 21st century. In our march towards progress, it is crucial that we not leave anyone behind. Continue reading

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TV Myths

All digital is better – “All digital” just means that all of the channels are digitally encoded so a cable company can fit more channels on their spectrum.  It doesn’t mean your channels will necessarily be higher quality, but it does mean that you’ll have to pay for a set-top box, in order to receive all of the channels that are available.

Channel “blackouts” – Every television provider must negotiate rebroadcast rights with the actual TV channel provider, whether it is NBC, Fox, or Viacom.  From time to time, the cable operator will stop offering some of these channels or have a “blackout.”  This is usually just a temporary negotiating tactic so they can get better rates from the channel.  It’s rarely permanent and not a reason to switch cable operators. Continue reading

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Affordable Housing vs. Affordable Living

Recently we had the opportunity to talk with Brent Newman, CEO of the Grundy County Housing Authority.  Brent talked a little about properties and how he works to provide affordable living – not just affordable housing.

The Grundy County Housing Authority has developments in Morris, Gardner, and Mazon, Illinois.  We have about 127 apartments, and we give preference to Grundy County residents who are either seniors or people with disabilities.  The average income of our residents is about $12,000 a year and the average rent in our apartments is about $278 a month.  Our developments are all independent living facilities. Continue reading

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Going Digital

Something that has been coming up quite a bit recently is the issues with digital TV HDTV and in-house community television channels. Properties want more choice for their residents. However, they don’t fully understand that their wish list isn’t necessarily congruent with the technology that’s available. Just about all senior communities have some type of in-house TV channel. It will show menus, activities, and calendar of events. Some communities have security cameras hooked up to them so they can see who’s buzzing in at the front door. In-house TV channels are becoming a staple at senior housing communities. The thing is, most senior housing properties are operating off an analog television setup. Continue reading

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Resident Perspectives: A Remedy for the Mondays!

Most entrepreneurs would agree that we don’t necessarily have “the weekend” to look forward to.  We work as needed, which can be any day and/or time.  What really takes the stress out of my “Mondays” is the iPad and Internet Literacy class that I teach at Woodlands Assisted Living residence at Cantata Adult Life Services in Brookfield.  Every Monday morning, I drive out there to teach Bob (a 93-year-old resident) and Arlene (a 65-year-old resident) how to navigate the Internet using the iPad.

This time, I took a couple of folks from my marketing team out with me to interview Bob and Arlene about their experiences. Continue reading

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ACO and EMR: How these 6 letters affect your health

The government has announced a number of tech-based programs that will help improve health and care coordination in the United States. Two examples of these programs are the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program and Accountable Care Organizations. Since these changes affect everyone in the country, not just seniors, we’re going to give an overview of what these changes mean to the average person. Continue reading

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You Don’t Care about Your Residents!

Properties are failing when it comes to technology, both for the staff and the residents. Occupancy and profitability are the primary challenges to any senior housing community, but instead of property managers using technology to fix these issues, they are focusing on the other fundamentals that have affected their properties for a long time.

Currently, the top priorities property managers typically focus on are:

  • Reducing costs, including staffing, to increase profits
  • Increasing activities to engage current residents and attract new ones
  • Reacting to ever-changing reimbursement rates and economic stressors by guessing which new marketing methods will successfully fill empty beds

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