What is the goal?
#1 STAY HOME LONGER because MOVING = STRESS & TEARS
The goal of this service is to reduce stress on you the care provider, and significantly reduce the stress of your loved one. Most of the examples and explanations are focussed on patients with short term memory loss, but this service is tremendously helpful in other areas.
The ultimate goal is to make your loved one feel happier and more content in spite of the physical and mental challenges ahead of them. Staying at home is the number one wish of everyone as they age; no one wants to be "put away," no matter how nice the facility. In our personal experience, we have been successful in the sense that our loved one is still at home, well beyond the time we felt we had no other alternative than an assisted living facility. One year extra at home and still going. Not discounting the monetary savings of $3,000 plus per month in a facility, she has been able to function at home with our help; her only wish - which she expresses daily. The MOST important result of this service is that she is now happy most of the time whereas she used to be terribly unhappy whenever we were not with her. (After 2 extra years at home, she has moved to a facility for physical reasons. The system went with here and eased the transition greatly)
Where can this service be used & when do I need it?
This is ideal for: a loved one living by themselves, with you, with their spouse, in an assisted living facility or in a retirement apartment. Each situation is unique and can have substantial benefits from the service. If your loved one lives in another state this service can still be used. If the status of your your loved one changes, the service can follow them to ease the stress of the transition.
The question of when you could begin to benefit from the service is subjective. However, if you are reading this, chances are you are already there. If your loved one asks you the same question numerous times in the same day, this service may help you. Don't wait, it's better for them to get used to their display before things progress too far. If your loved one has advanced dementia or advanced Alzheimer's, to the point where they have difficulty reading, this will not help as much. If you don't think you need it yet, consider the service to be a "pleasant companion." We have discovered from personal experience that having the display puts people in a much more relaxed mood and just makes them feel better. Without consciously knowing, they would notice a favorite verse, or an especially beautiful full screen picture. To quote a hospice expert, "People wait too long to get help...."
What does it look like?
What they see is either projected on a wall or displayed on a tv.
What does it do?
This is a personalized message display that acts as a type of "companion" when you are unable to be there and your loved one is alone. It displays any type of information at any given time enabling your loved one to feel connected and in control. Just knowing what is going on gives them a sense of empowerment rather than a sense of panic when they can't remember things. Just imagine yourself when you can't find your keys. Your stress level rises significantly, you can't focus on anything else, you panic if it's time to leave AND you turn into a grumpy, impatient, frustrated person. Welcome to what your loved one feels when they can't remember something they are desperately trying to remember. The difference is, you find your keys and everything is fine - not true for your loved one, their frustration occurs over and over. This message board can take a lot of that stress away! When they relax it actually makes it easier for them to think and remember. Our personal experience has demonstrated a phenomenal turn around with our loved one. Although the dementia has progressed, she has demonstrated an ability to develop new memories. We attribute this to the constant reminders of the messages and the ability of the message board to grab her attention both on a conscious AND a subconscious level. It appears to encourage mental stimulation by the constant movement on the screen.
There is a static information area which includes an area for contact numbers, an analog and digital clock as well as the day and date display. Everything is designed to stimulate and catch the person's interest. In the upper right corner is an area that constantly cycles through randomly selected pictures you have chosen from over 700, in addition to your own personal pictures. (All you do is email them to us, and they can appear in 30 seconds). These pictures cycle through every 10 seconds. All the messages that you put in appear in the message area, which is directly below the static information. There are slots for 5 messages that change every 17 seconds as a new message appears and one disappears. All of these have a picture that you have selected associated with them, as well as optional different colored text. Every 5 minutes the static information slowly scrolls to the bottom of the screen to reveal a full screen picture. This full screen picture displays from 1-3 minutes depending on the type of full screen display. The choices range from a beautiful picture from your preselected list with an optional caption you may put in, to a relatively long story that you have written, with a picture behind it. These are particularly wonderful when it is a family photo describing a special moment so your loved one feels included. Other types of full screen messages include AM/PM messages, (morning & evening greetings or instructions) Bible verses, (over 100 focusing on encouragement & comfort) Urgent messages, (they override other messages and have flashing & optional alert sounds). If you choose to add the Medication Package to your service, this also displays as a full screen message. The Medication Package will be described in greater detail under "Medication Package". All of this movement with both text messages and full screen pictures, color, and in some cases sound, are designed to keep the mind as active as possible. Reading text, looking at all types of pictures, connecting with family and familiar pictures, as well as repetition in the messages that appear and reappear throughout the day, serve as a constant reminder to help them remember.
The importance of the personalized display is not about the messages - it is rather about making your loved one feel happier, more content, and loved! The pictures have been selected for their beauty as well as those that may trigger memories. It is a constant silent companion that, unlike a television, is filled with personal meaningful information that is important to them. You can answer the questions they ask repeatedly with a simple message that can appear for as long as you like. It can turn a single visit, soon forgotten, into a weeks worth of pleasant memories.
Johnathon, (the creator) lives 3 hours away from his grandmother and visits when he can. She used to get upset when we would tell her he was coming because she always thought he was coming "now." As a result Johnathon created a method to keep her happy for a week instead of a few hours. He put in a message saying when he was coming and the message would appear in a count down/up for three days before and after his visit. (You determine the length of time). With a single message entry the display counts down automatically, the message "Johnathon is coming in 3 days" appears, then the following day the message "Johnathon is coming in 2 days", etc, then "Johnathon is coming today", next day is "Johnathon was here 1 day ago", etc. Even though she doesn't necessarily remember the exact visit, she does remember a visit. This makes her happy! She also now loves her "bulletin board," and will call and tell us about a favorite Bible verse or picture. She is now happy 85% of the time as opposed to being very upset and unhappy 85% of the time.
How does it work?
One of the most important things for you to know, is how to get all that information to appear on the M-Viewer. First, who does what? One of the primary goals was to make this entire process as simple as possible. Most important, the loved one does absolutely NOTHING! Their only responsibility is to enjoy. In fact when it is introduced to them it should be presented only as "A way for you to keep in touch with them when you can't be there," "A way for you to let them know what is going on with you," "A direct line from you to them," and "A very special way for you to send beautiful pictures, family photos, Bible verses, and messages just to them." DO NOT try to explain how it works, or mention the word computer. Again they do NOTHING, the message board will be projected on a wall, or a screen. One of our customers told her loved one that we were laying a special cable between her house and where the loved one was living. The loved one who is fearful of being watched or having unknown "equipment" around them responded positively to it all.
Second, what is your responsibility as the "provider" of the messages and pictures? You DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT have to be a computer whiz. This has been designed in such a way that you only need to have the ability to read, type and click! You will go to a web site, sign in, follow the step by step instructions and you're done. You will receive all the help necessary, including personal help with the initial set-up. It takes approximately an hour. to complete most everything, with a great deal of that time spent selecting the pictures you think they would like. The actual messages take only a few moments.
You are required to have, or have access to a computer, iPad or smartphone with Internet. Once you have completed the "initial" set up, you are virtually finished. The system runs automatically, and you only add events or messages as they occur. It literally takes about a minute to enter a new message. THAT'S IT! If you purchase the medication service, once you have set up the automated medication dispenser, typed in the corresponding messages, you are finished inputting information until or if their medication/dosage changes.
One of the greatest features of the service is that you may access the website from anywhere in the world whith internet access, including an iPhone, iPad, or other smart phones. Another great feature is your ability to grant members of the family, close friends or even caregivers limited or full access to the website. Although we suggest you add slowly to your list, there is no extra charge and there are no limitations. Limited access gives them their own account and the ability to add messages & pictures. They can access only their messages, while everything added will always appear on your full access account. This allows you to monitor all messages to your loved one, and allows you to remove access from someone who may abuse the privilege. It is extremely important to involve family members who live far away, so that they may help your loved one feel connected and loved by those family members they rarely see. Photos and family news that take only a few moments to send can bring immeasurable joy to your loved one. Grandchildren are a great source, and they all know how to use a computer!
Again, the loved one does nothing and has no control over anything. It is simply a very special message board that allows personal messages and pictures that you can send them.
After the initial set up, you spend only the time you need to add new messages - literally a matter of minutes. Once again let me emphasize computer literacy is NOT a requirement.
Scriptures and Verses can be added from any faith.
This service was designed to relieve stress not only for the loved one, but for you. It is a difficult time for all, and if this can make things even a little better for everyone it is worth it. It can't stop the progression of a disease, but it might ease the journey.
Will this work?
We have found that the display seems to have a calming effect, leaving the loved one less stressed and happier. One of our customers has a loved one in an assisted living facility. Her mother is prone to paranoia and her granddaughter was positive that the equipment would scare her. (it didn't) After having the service for only a few weeks the staff noticed that she was more content, happier, and no longer complaining about things or asking to go home. The family also noted a pleasant change in her behavior as well.
Our loved one really didn't realize how much she liked her display for about 6 months. We doubted it's effectiveness until her display was disrupted as Johnathon added new features to the program. As he would try new things, sometimes her service would be interrupted so that her display wasn't working and she would be extremely upset. She had no idea why she was so unhappy, but things returned to normal after her display began working again. Our favorite story occurred after about 6 months. We had to use her computer for a presentation, and she had just returned after having breakfast to a non functioning display. Our phones started ringing one after another, but we could not answer. This lasted for another hour, then we packed up in record time and "flew" to her house to get her display up and running. She was upset, furious, "nobody loved her, we didn't care about her, etc., etc.", and this went on for about four more hours until she finally began to calm down. After that she was happy again, not knowing why she was upset, and very quickly forgetting that she was upset at all. There actually can be some advantages to memory loss. After that experience, we no longer questioned the effectiveness of her display!
It takes a little while to evaluate whether it is helping. It is very subjective, and you can only observe if they seem happier and less stressed. In our experience, asking them questions yields little reliable information because they don't realize what it is or what it's supposed to do. Everyone is different, and we don't know how it will effect your loved one, but we have spent more than six months presenting this program to health professionals. The Alzheimer's association, hospice services, ombudsman, assisted living and nursing home personal, and others who deal with the care of the elderly and developmentally disabled have seen a presentation, and have expressed support, excitement, encouragement, and an overall "amazement" at the potential for help. Initially, we were met with skepticism because they've "seen it all before." That attitude quickly changed to excitement as they began to see the potential. To quote one hospice professional, "This is the most amazing thing I have ever seen, there is nothing else out there that does what this program does. It is genius." All we can do is offer the service and hope it helps you half as much as it has helped us.
What is the optional medication plan?
The medication plan is a method that helps your loved one maintain a schedule for needed medications. It provides a coordinated notification between the M-Viewer and the dispenser allowing them to take their medication on time, and helps prevent an overdose as well as under dosing. It includes a locked automated medication dispenser that rotates allowing access to the medication only when the time is right. You fill the tray with the prescribed medication and then program it with the proper times for the dispenser. Next you enter those same times into the M-Viewer. When the time arrives for the medication to be taken, the machine rotates to the filled compartment, beeps, they slide open the lid and take out the medication. At the same time there is a full screen message with directions on how to take the medications with a moving picture showing them how to get their pills out of the dispenser. They cannot over dose because they have access to only one dose at a time. The full screen message is accompanied by a voice instructing them to take their medication. After taking out the medication and sliding the lid back the beeping will stop and the dispenser is silent until the next scheduled time when the procedure repeats itself. The dispenser is designed to administer up to 4 doses per day, but a second dispenser could be added in the unlikely event prescription medications need to be administered more than 4 times daily. The cost of the medication plan is only an additional $1 per day.
What does it cost?
Please contact us to discuss pricing. We have several plans depending on what you need, and where your loved one is located. The service at home ranges from $3.33 to $5 per day, with all necessary equipment.