The holidays can be a lonely time of the year, especially for many seniors. It can be tough to get around and stay connected with family - but a San Diego company is changing lives through the television set.
“This is our family room that I typically transform,” said Carlsbad Resident Jolane Crawford, as she decorated her family room for Christmas. “We have a large family, so there's usually 20 of us.”
With all the photos around her house, it's easy to tell how much family means to her. Unfortunately, her mom who lives hours away, can't normally join in the celebration.
“She doesn't leave her home. She's in a wheelchair,” Crawford said. “We needed to stay connected and keep an eye on our mom and we didn't know the best way to do that.”
That's where Independa comes in. The San Diego company created a device that it hopes will bridge the gap and engage seniors nationwide. It's called the "Any TV Companion."
“Her TV is on every day, all the time,” Crawford said.
Independa's CEO Kian Saneii says that's the idea.
“Everyone knows how to use the TV. We can't say that about any other technology, other than the telephone.”
Similar to a streaming device like Roku, it hooks up to the TV and a caregiver or family member downloads the mobile app. From there, they can communicate across the miles while keeping tabs on loved ones watching television.
“Have you stepped on your scale? Have you taken your medication? Have you eaten today?” Saneii demonstrated.
If there's a medical issue, the device sets off an alert - notifying the caregiver on their smartphone.
“She doesn't want to go to an assisted living. She doesn't want to go anywhere, so this allows her to stay independent longer,” Crawford said.
She can't wait to install the device on her mom's TV - bringing her a little closer this Christmas.
“She can see the kids and see the family and connect and see what we're doing.”
That's perhaps the greatest gift of all.
Right now, the “Any TV Companion” is only available online. It costs $200, including a web-cam and then about $40 a month for the subscription.
For more information, click here.