Front Porch: Thinking Outside the Box to Help Seniors Live Well

by Published On: Oct 05, 2012

Since 2008, The Front Porch Center for Technology Innovation and Wellbeing (CTIW) has dedicated itself to 1 simple mission: finding technology solutions that help seniors live well. 

Front Porch, a CAST Patron (formerly provider Sponsor) in Burbank, CA, is "thinking outside the box," according to Senior Housing Forum, a senior housing blog. "We depend on innovators like the Front Porch Center to help us to continue improving our care."

4 Years of Technology Exploration

Front Porch began its technology exploration in 2008 by testing the then-emerging Dakim Brain Fitness technology. It then launched the largest Dakim installation in the country.

Today, CTIW is working with corporate and university partners on a variety of technology initiatives.

For example, the Minding our Meds initiative is testing whether cell phone text messaging is an effective way to remind seniors to take their medications. The center is hoping that text messaging will bring about better medication compliance and a higher level of dignity among its users. The Center for Technology and Aging in Oakland, CA, is funding the initiative.

CTIW is also working with the University of California, Davis Health System and the California Telehealth Network to develop a Model eHealth Community for Aging (MeHCA). The center is hoping that technology will help improve the health of low-income older adults living in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles. 

The project's high-tech tools include broadband-enabled telehealth, remote monitoring, medication management, computer-based health education, the Nintendo Wii and Dakim Brain Fitness. United Healthcare is funding the initiative.

"We must rethink models of care that go beyond hospital, clinic or ER visits, to home and community-based care models that allow for prevention, early detection, behavior change and social support," says Brian Egan, chief executive officer of Advantage Home Telehealth, a CAST member and a MeHCA partner. "This initiative with the Front Porch Center for Technology Innovation and Wellbeing is aimed at accelerating just that. Controlling health care costs while bringing quality care to an increasingly aging population is one of our nation's most significant challenges."

Dreaming about the Future

CTIW President and CAST Commissioner Kari Olson told Senior Housing Forum that she looks forward to a future in which:

  • The health care system will be integrated and Internet-based.
  • Everything and everyone will be connected through tablets, desktop computers, laptops, smartphones and/or monitoring devices.
  • Caregivers, residents and families will be interconnected. 
  • There will be "rings of people and services" that will meet physical, emotional and even financial needs of seniors.
  • Seniors will have more options rather than fewer.


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