There are approximately 11.3 million elderly Americans that live independently in their own homes. Although many seniors choose to live by themselves without any assistance, it can be a challenge for their children to ensure their parents are doing alright.
Lively is an innovative service that helps you keep tabs on the routine activities of your parents or grandparents.
For those of us who have parents that choose to live by themselves, phone conversations quickly spiral into a form of parent-sitting. A phone conversation becomes a checklist of things you want to make sure your parents have done. You ask them they’ve taken their pills, if they’re eating well, or if they’ve been outside today.
“It’s a very long list of things you have to go through,” says David Glickman, COO of Lively, “and it can end up eating a lot time for any meaningful conversation about what’s actually going on in their lives.”
What Lively aims to do is to bring families closer together with a service that offers two different products: LivelyHub and LivelyGram.
LivelyHub is a non invasive way of keeping tabs on the day-to-day activities of your parents or grandparents.
There’s a wireless hub, which resembles a friendly looking router, and six passive sensors that connect to the hub using cellular technology. LivelyHub doesn’t require you to have an existing cellular data plan of any kind. In fact, it doesn’t even need an existing wireless internet connection.
It’s a little like Amazon’s Whispernet in that regard, which allows you to purchase and download books on Kindles over 3G data without needing to sign up for a cellular data plan. All you have to do is plug the LivelyHub into a power socket, and sensors start collecting data automatically.
The sensors are put in places all around the house that your parents or grandparents interact with as a part of their daily routine. For example, you could place the sensors on refrigerator doors, on kitchen cabinets, on a pillbox, or a key chain. These sensors adapt to and learn the day-to-day routine of your parents or grandparents.
There’s a tiny accelerometer inside each sensor, and it simply pings the hub whenever the refrigerator door the sensor is attached to is opened, and so on and so forth. It can’t track your location or do anything like that. If the daily routine of your parents or grandparents seems to differ, it alerts you through Lively’s website or iPhone app.
These notifications are displayed in a very friendly and accessible way. If there’s nothing wrong, you are presented with a row of green smiley faces. But if it’s been a couple of hours since your grandmother took her daily regimen of pills, it alerts you with an orange sad face.
If that sounds a little invasive to you, Lively assures that their pilot test of 30 homes in Florida produced overwhelmingly positive results. “We heard consistently in our pilot test that this was something they wanted in their homes,” says Glickman. “No one ever felt like LivelyHub was violating their privacy.”
LivelyGram is a supplementary service that sends your parents or grandparents a personalized physical tri fold card every two weeks. The card is filled with status updates from any family members willing to contribute.
You can also choose which tweets and Instagram pictures you want them to see, so there’s no chance that your grandmother will come across any pictures or updates she might find offensive or unsavory.
If they don’t find LivelyHub particularly invasive, it sounds like it could be an exceedingly convenient way of making sure your parents or grandparents are doing okay.
LivelyHub and LivelyGram can be had together for $149, with a $19.95 monthly subscription. They’re currently seeking to raise $100,000 over at Kickstarter by May 16.