Innovations within Elder Care

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Innovations in Elder Care

Seven innovations in the area of elder care in an institutional setting include the use of robots, intergenerational programming, health and well-being monitoring through artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), participative management, set up of neighborhoods for residents suffering from dementia, telemedicine, and the use of virtual reality systems. Further details about these innovations are provided below, while visuals are available in the provided document. We were able to provide pricing information for only four of these seven innovations, as some companies involved have not disclosed any pricing or cost details.

METHODOLOGY

Since visuals are required and articles are typically the types of sources that contain images, we began our research with a press search and looked for recently published articles that cover innovations in nursing homes or senior care facilities. This step turned up several results, but finding articles with corresponding visuals proved difficult. As a result, we conducted an image search instead and reviewed the articles the images were connected to. With this strategy, finding innovations, their descriptions, and their purposes was straightforward, and it was just the pricing that was problematic. In cases where pricing was not readily available in the article, we conducted separate press and corporate website searches for the pricing. And in cases where pricing specific to the company in the article could not be found in the public domain, we broadened the scope of our search and looked for general prices. For example, in the case of the use of virtual reality systems below, where startup Rendever was cited, we expanded our search to virtual reality systems in general as we could not find costs specific to Rendever. All in all, we were only able to find pricing information for four of the seven innovations listed. As requested, we focused more on processes rather than products.

USE OF ROBOTS

Description:
The Shin-tomi nursing home in Tokyo utilizes 20 distinct models of robots in caring for residents. Examples of these robots include furry seal Paro and humanoid Pepper.

Owner:
Paro was invented by Takanori Shibata, the chief research scientist at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, while Pepper is owned by SoftBank Robotics Corporation.

Purpose:
Furry seal Paro was designed for petting, while humanoid Pepper was designed to assist in activities such as conversing with facility residents and leading these residents in games and exercises. The government of Japan hopes that the Shin-tomi nursing home will serve as a model for leveraging the country's knowledge of robotics in addressing problems relating to an aging population.

Innovativeness:
Utilization of robots in senior care facilities is still low. In fact, to nurture the market for nursing care and aid robots, Japan's labor ministry recently spent 5.2 billion yen to deploy robots to 5,000 facilities across the country.

Pricing:
Robots are expensive. Paro, for example, costs around 400,000 yen in Japan and around 5,000 euros in Europe.

Visuals:
Images can be seen in attached document.

INTERGENERATIONAL PROGRAMMING

Description:
Senior care centers around the world are "bringing together seniors and toddlers." One example of such a center is ONEgeneration, a facility in California, that houses both children and seniors. Every day, these children and seniors are brought together to engage in intergenerational activities such as painting and cooking.

Owner:
Not relevant

Purpose:
The purpose of intergenerational programming is to help children and seniors learn and benefit from each other. As children learn about empathy and diversity from seniors, they, in turn, bring life and energy into the seniors' daily lives.

Innovativeness:
Intergenerational care is relatively new, with the concept remaining foreign to most people in the United States. Generations United, an organization championing intergenerational programming, reports that intergenerational programming's time has come.

Pricing:
At ONEgeneration, the Senior Enrichment Center suggests a donation of $2.00 per class and $2.00 per meal, while Adult Daycare charges $70.00 per day and a one-time enrollment fee of $70.00.

Visuals:
Images can be seen in attached document.

HEALTH AND WELL-BEING MONITORING THROUGH AI AND IOT

Description:
IBM and the Avamere Family of Companies have recently partnered to equip Avamere's senior care facilities with over 1,000 ambient sensors. These sensors were used to proactively track the daily activities of elders. Machine learning was then utilized to detect anomalies or changes in behavior.

Owner:
In this particular case, it was IBM that provided the sensors.

Purpose:
The health and well-being of seniors are monitored via AI and IoT, so that predictive modeling can be performed. Early detection of problems and early identification of vulnerable patients result in fewer visits to the emergency room, improved quality of life of resident, lower cost of care, and improved operational efficiency of facilities.

Innovativeness:
The project that IBM and Avamere did was the first of its kind.

Pricing:
Neither Avamere nor IBM has disclosed the cost of the project.

Visuals:
Images can be seen in attached document.

TUBBEMODELEN (BOTTOM-UP, PARTICIPATIVE MANAGEMENT)

Description:
Tubbemoddelen is a bottom-up, participative management model that originated in Swedish nursing homes. In a nursing home that employs this model, staff and residents work together in managing the nursing home. Residents are involved at all levels of planning and management. One example of an institution that utilizes this model is the Tubberödshus retirement home, where management of the home is led by the residents, with support from the staff.

Owner:
Not relevant

Purpose:
This method of management is aimed at making seniors feel that the nursing homes they reside in are their own home. It is inspired by Danish teacher Tyra Frank's motto that "as long as one is alive, one should live."

Innovativeness:
The participative management model was described as "innovative" by AGE Platform Europe, a non-profit organization representing older persons in Europe.

Pricing:
The fee that the Tubberödshus retirement home charges is not publicly available.

Visuals:
Image can be seen in attached document.

SETUP OF NEIGHBORHOODS

Description:
Neighborhoods or dedicated areas for residents with dementia are set up within facilities, so that these residents can have continued independence and freedom despite risk of injury. Unlike other long-term care homes where residents with dementia are sedated or confined to their rooms to reduce the risk of injury, residents in facilities with 'neighborhoods' have the freedom and choice to live how they desire to live.

Owner:
The Sherbrooke Community Center in Canada is one of the few facilities adopting this arrangement of continued independence, according to the Alzheimer's Society.

Purpose:
The purpose of this type of setup is to prevent suffering due to malaise, frustration, helplessness, loneliness, and boredom among residents of elder care institutions.

Innovativeness:
As noted by the Alzheimer's Society, only a few institutions are exploring this approach. Sherbrooke, in particular, has been celebrated for giving its residents greater flexibility.

Pricing:
It appears Sherbrooke did not spend much in implementing this approach. Just like other senior care facilities in Canada, Sherbrooke is publicly supported. It has the same staff headcount as other senior care facilities in the country.

Visuals:
Image can be seen in attached document.

TELEMEDICINE

Description:
Seniors residing in elder care facilities in New York can now utilize telehealth services as need arises, as a result of Governor Cuomo signing a related bill into law. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Jenne, the bill expands telehealth or telemedicine services to elder care facilities across the state.

Owner:
Not relevant

Purpose:
In this case, the purpose of these telehealth services is to improve access to healthcare, reduce travel or commute time, and encourage routine medical consultations. Seniors no longer have to worry about making difficult trips to the doctor.

Innovativeness:
Telemedicine in senior care facilities can be regarded as an innovation in New York, as it was only in recent times that the bill allowing residents of senior care facilities to use telehealth services was signed into law.

Pricing:
Medical devices used in telehealth services costs up to $10,000 or more, while the monthly subscription fee costs around $100 to $299. A telehealth visit, on the other hand, costs around $79 on average.

Visuals:
Image can be seen in attached document.

USE OF VIRTUAL REALITY SYSTEMS

Description:
A virtual reality system designed specifically for seniors in an assisted living facility won the MIT Sloan Healthcare Innovations Prize in 2017. Also, the Google Earth Virtual Reality Program has been utilized in a way that seniors can relive memories.

Owner:
Startup Rendever was the one that developed the system that own the MIT Sloan Healthcare Innovations Prize.

Purpose:
Virtual reality systems designed for use by the elderly aim to improve quality of life. They can help seniors connect with loved ones in a more immersive manner, and they can provide "cognitive therapy and protections against dementia." They can also be used as therapeutic treatment for Alzheimer's disease.

Innovativeness:
The use of virtual reality systems in senior care facilities is innovative, as evident from Rendever winning the MIT Sloan Healthcare Innovations Prize.

Pricing:
The virtual reality headset alone costs around $200 to $400, and a total of around $800 need to be shelled out for a meaningful virtual reality experience.

Visuals:
Image can be seen in attached document.

Sources
Sources

Quotes
  • "Paro the furry seal cries softly while an elderly woman pets it. Pepper, a humanoid, waves while leading a group of senior citizens in exercises. The upright Tree guides a disabled man taking shaky steps, saying in a gentle feminine voice, "right, left, well done!""
  • "Robots have the run of Tokyo's Shin-tomi nursing home, which uses 20 different models to care for its residents. The Japanese government hopes it will be a model for harnessing the country's robotics expertise to help cope with a swelling elderly population and dwindling workforce."
  • "But Paro, like most robots, is expensive: 400,000 yen ($3,800) in Japan and about 5,000 euros in Europe. Panasonic's Resyone bed costs 900,000 yen ($8,600) and Cyberdyne's HAL lumbar exoskeleton costs 100,000 yen ($950) a month to rent."
Quotes
  • "Every midmorning, teachers at the ONEgeneration child care facility get ready for their daily visitors."
  • "The people dropping by aren’t parents touring preschools. They’re seniors who attend the facility’s adult day care program, held within the same building."
  • "Each day, the center, located in Van Nuys, California, brings the two populations together for a host of activities designed specifically for children and seniors. These types of interactions serve a purpose. They’re collectively called “intergenerational programming.”"
Quotes
  • "To explore how AI and IoT can be used to facilitate healthy aging, the Avamere Family of Companies and IBM instrumented senior residences with more than 1,000 consumer-grade, ambient sensors."
  • "Data from the sensored homes, combined with that from wearable sensors, was analyzed to provide insight on an elder’s daily life—when he/she sleeps, cooks, exercises, bathes, toilets and connects with family and friends. These activities are key indicators to understanding how well an elder is aging-in-place and guides the appropriate level of required care."
  • "Machine learning was then used to detect daily behavioral patterns and anomalies within this data, thereby providing doctors and caregivers with baseline norms and alerts when deviations occurred."
Quotes
  • "Allowing staff and residents to manage the nursing home together and giving older persons the feeling that it is their own home, this is the basic idea of the Tubbemoddelen, an innovative bottom-up management model originally set up in the nursing homes of the municipality of Tjörn, Sweden. "
  • "Inspired by the vision of the Danish teacher Tyra Frank and following her motto ‘As long as one is alive, one should live’, the Swedish model is based on a genuine participative management process which include nursing home residents at all levels in the planning and running of their own living conditions. Tubbemodellen_in_TubberödshusE.g. the Tubberödshus retirement home is run and organised by the residents, with the support of the staff, not the other way round."
Quotes
  • "The Sherbrooke Community Centre in Saskatoon is on a very short list of facilities studied and cited by the Alzheimer's Society as having an approach which emphasizes continued independence."
  • "And it delivers on it, even when that independence increases the risk of injury."
  • "Sylvia, one of the home's residents, is a good example. Living with an advanced form of dementia, she still has energy and even a desire to dance through the hallways from time to time. But she also has a history of falling."
  • "In some long-term care homes, she'd be confined to her room to reduce the chance of injury. Other homes might sedate her. In short, to prevent her from falling, she'd be discouraged from standing."
  • "Sherbrooke takes the opposite approach."
Quotes
  • "A bill that seeks to expand telehealth services to senior facilities across New York State was signed into law last week by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo."
  • "The legislation, which was sponsored by Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne (D-Theresa), amends public health law by expanding the definition of an “originating site” and allowing primary care providers to use telehealth technology to connect with and provide care to seniors."
  • "Assemblywoman Jenne said the new legislation will provide a more convenient care option for seniors living in adult care facilities, allowing them to use telehealth services as necessary. "
Quotes
  • "In 2017, a startup called Rendever won the MIT Sloan Healthcare Innovations Prize by designing a VR program for residents of an assisted-living facility. For elderly users, quality of life will be improved by being able to connect with friends and relatives in a more immersive way, while the system’s benefits include cognitive therapy and protections against dementia via tracking eye movements."
  • "With its ability to stimulate brain activity, reactivate neuropathways and remove other distractions, VR is a popular tool for clinicians looking at new ways of treating mental disorders including Alzheimer’s disease. The Google Earth Virtual Reality Program, for example, has been used to relive seniors’ memories, an activity that activates dopamine in the brain and can act as a therapeutic treatment for Alzheimer’s sufferers."
Quotes
  • "Monday thru Friday we serve a hot well-balanced meal for a suggested donation of $2.00. Classes at the Senior Center have a suggested donation of $2 per class unless noted otherwise in the class schedule."
  • "For those without insurance coverage, the cost of the program is $70.00 per day. Please know that there is also a one time enrollment fee of $70.00. Extended hours are at an additional cost of $10.00 per day."