Independa announced this week the launch of Angela, an integrated tablet and software offering for the independent elderly. The company plans to offer a 10-inch and a 22-inch tablet running the software. Chances are the tablets are running Android.
Independa launched its first services in January at CES: Independa “Smart Reminders," which is a Web-based platform that includes smart calendaring, medication reminders, and “life stories” all managed for its elderly users by their caregivers.
Angela marks the company's first move to a dedicated, mobile device-based offering.
According to Independa, Angela is a "social interaction solution tailor-made for the non-technical elderly." The software features one-touch shortcuts to video chats, email, the Internet, Facebook, games and puzzles, and other interactive content. The interface offers large screen fonts, higher contrast and bright colors for those with poor eyesight. Angela can also remind users to take medications; keep medical and personal appointments; and remember birthdays and anniversaries.
"User-friendly technology solutions that encourage social engagement are essential in preserving independence for older adults," stated Dr. Richard Della Penna, Chief Medical Officer of Independa, in a press release. "While often overlooked, isolation is the Number One issue for the elderly, as it commonly triggers depression and physical illnesses, which can hasten the move to less-independent living and shorten life."
Angela began beta testing July 1 and will be released in September. After the beta period, the software will be available for a monthly subscription, with tablet pricing to be determined.
Check out the full press release after the jump.
Independa Launches Angela –
Social Engagement and Fun for Remote Care Recipients
Game-changing solution connects caring family members, professionals with the elderly, prolonging independence and enriching Golden Years
SAN DIEGO, June 28, 2011 – IndependaTM, Inc. today announced launch of the AngelaTM personal interaction solution for the independent elderly. Angela is fully integrated with existing Independa services that monitor care recipients‟ health and well- being.
This new addition to Independa‟s integrated telecare suite provides the all-important social engagement that helps the elderly continue living healthy, safe, rewarding lives in their own residences. Knowing their loved ones or patients are thriving also gives remote caregivers peace of mind.
“Angela is unique, powerful and inviting – truly angel-like,” said Independa CEO Kian Saneii. “We see it as the next Wii or iPad for the golden generation. It‟s especially designed to entertain and engage while being convenient for those who care for the elderly. Imagine being able to see Mom or your patient right away, or engage them through emails, Facebook or even video chat. Now imagine them doing all this plus a whole lot more, like playing games and surfing the Internet, without any prior computer knowledge.”
Independa‟s new social interaction solution is tailor-made for the non-technical elderly. Running on an off-the-shelf touch-screen tablet, Angela provides an intuitive interface with secure, one-touch access to video chats, email, the Internet, Facebook, games and puzzles, and other interactive content. The preconfigured Angela tablet comes ready to use. Those being cared for do not need to learn to use a general-purpose computer, navigate with a mouse or type on a keypad.
Meticulously designed for aging adults, Angela offers larger screen fonts, higher contrast and brighter colors. Users don‟t need to worry about repeated software updates, blue screens or virus scans.
“Angela is the latest building block in the integrated suite of solutions Independa is rolling out to help family members and home-care professionals stay in touch with and watch over care recipients when they can‟t be with them,” Saneii said. “Elderly care recipients can use simple, fun tools, and those looking after them need practical solutions that are easy to use and don‟t require their own care. Angela meets all those needs, and adds essential social elements.”
How can Angela enrich an elderly person‟s life? In a myriad of ways. Mom can have a “video-chat breakfast” with her granddaughter. Dad can finally use email. A patient alone at home can reconnect on Facebook with friends who have moved away and play interactive games. Angela also can remind users to take medications; keep medical and personal appointments; and remember birthdays and anniversaries.
“At LivHOME, we believe that technology is going to play a key role in providing consistent high-level senior in-home care at an affordable price,” said Mike Nicholson, Chief Executive Officer of LivHOME. “We feel that Independa has the best-in-class solution to date. Over the two years we have followed their development of care monitoring, medication reminders and other technology solutions, LivHOME has been excited about the prospect of offering the Independa solution to our established national locations and our growing franchise markets. With the launch of Angela, we are proud to be able to offer it as a component of the LivHOME solution to our thousands of clients across the country.”
Angela is an antidote to the critical problem of social isolation and loneliness among the elderly.
“User-friendly technology solutions that encourage social engagement are essential in preserving independence for older adults,” said Dr. Richard Della Penna, Chief Medical Officer of Independa. “While often overlooked, isolation is the Number One issue for the elderly, as it commonly triggers depression and physical illnesses, which can hasten the move to less-independent living and shorten life.”
Laurie Orlov, founder of the market research firm Aging in Place Technology Watch, commented: “Traditional telehealth boxes and computers are last-decade clumsy approaches to helping older adults, providers, and caregivers. Twenty-first century solutions will look more like the integrated engagement and wellness platforms of new firms like Independa and its „Angela.‟”
The Independa Angela solution builds and enhances upon Independa‟s Smart RemindersTM. Launched in January, Smart Reminders uses patent-pending technology to enable caregivers to set up automatic reminders for care receivers to take their medications, keep medical and social appointments, and record “Life Stories.” Angela adds visual notifications to existing telephone alerts as options for receiving reminders, as well as confirmation to a family member or professional caregiver that a reminder was acknowledged and confirmed, closing an important daily communication loop for medication compliance.
Angela will be available for beta testing July 1 and generally available in September. After the beta period, the software will be available for monthly subscription, with tablet pricing to be determined. Care recipients will only need Internet access to their homes to stay connected to the service.
Plans call for an option of a 10-inch or 22-inch tablet screen with the commercial offer and a 10-inch screen for the beta phase.
For more information on Angela, visit www.independa.com.
About Independa, Inc.
Independa, Inc. provides an integrated telecare platform to help family and professional caregivers enable their loved ones and patients to continue living at home longer, more safely and more comfortably. Independa specializes in delivering technology-enabled products and services for the rapidly growing population of nearly 50 million U.S. adults supporting elderly relatives. Independa supports home-care and other professional enterprises offering remote care, assisted living, and home health care. Independa provides an integrated, cost-effective and real-time answer to the key question, "How is my loved one doing?" With Independa, caregivers can delay or even eliminate the costly and dreaded move to significantly more expensive and cumbersome levels of care.
Independa‟s cross-disciplined leadership team and expert advisory board intimately understand the market, technology and needs of the elderly and their caregivers. Privately held and based in San Diego, Independa is in active discussions with next- stage investors and strategic partners.