"As the population of the elderly in the U.S. continues to increase exponentially, we saw an opportunity to help empower families and professional care givers by providing solutions that increase the quality of life for our aging population," said Jeff Noce, president and CEO of WellAWARE Systems. "By offering a passive, unobtrusive monitoring system, seniors are able to maintain privacy and dignity but allow caregivers to make better-informed decisions about the care they provide their residents based on the wellness and behavioral information collected, processed and analyzed with our technology."
Our aging population is growing rapidly and remote personal health monitoring is one of the most attractive technology markets. Sales are expected to reach $5 billion in 2010 and explode to $34 billion by 2015 (Forrester 2004). The 65+ segment of the population, "Baby Boomers," is expected to double over the next 20–25 years and U.S. residents over age 85 have become the nation's fastest-growing age group, accounting for about 1% of the population.
What started as a concept in 2000 at the Medical Automation Research Center (MARC) at the University of Virginia is now a reality due to investments by two of the country's largest not-for-profit providers of senior care—Volunteers of America and The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society. These groups are also the first two customers to install the WellAWARE technology solution.
"With technology like WellAWARE, we can identify not only emergency situations that need a response, but also emerging medical conditions that our clients might not notice or be able to report on their own," said Charles W. Gould, national president of Volunteers of America. "I think technology like this will help us make more meaningful and well-informed decisions about potential intervention and treatment of residents and will also allow older people to maintain their independence while still having the peace of mind that someone will be there if they need help."
WellAWARE Systems' management team is comprised of experienced management professionals with strong backgrounds in the senior care industry and entrepreneur-stage corporate development for both start up and Fortune 500 organizations, including:
- Jeff Noce, Chief Executive Officer—formerly of Sunrise Senior Living and other technology companies;
- Patsy Hall, RN, Vice President, Training and Clinical Services—formerly of Sunrise Senior Living among other care facilities;
- Travis Brown, Vice President, Operations—formerly with several technology and Fortune 500 companies;
- David Mack, PhD, Director, Research & Development—formerly of the Medical Automation Research Center (MARC) at the University of Virginia; and
- Robert Emery, CPA, CFP, Vice President, Finance and Administration—formerly worked with varying sizes of companies.
David J. Horazdovsky, the President and CEO of The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, clearly sees the potential role that the WellAWARE solution can play in allowing seniors to maintain their independence for a much greater period of time. "It is very normal and natural for people to desire to live independently for as long as possible and practical. The WellAWARE solution will greatly assist seniors in maintaining their normal lifestyle for a longer period of time than otherwise might be possible. In addition, the benefits of security and peace of mind provided to their family members and other loved ones are priceless."
The WellAWARE solution is now commercially available and combines proprietary and off-the-shelf sensor, networking, computing, and software technology to deliver a complete monitoring environment without using cameras. Marketed as a turnkey solution with monthly service, it enables caregivers—including professional healthcare providers and family members—the ability to monitor and deliver better care to our aging population.
About WellAWARE Systems
WellAWARE Systems offers the opportunity for enhanced quality of life for our aging population through an innovative approach to wellness and safety for senior living. Built by the industry for the industry, WellAWARE is a low-cost monitoring solution that gathers and reports behavioral and wellness information of a cared-for individual, in their home or at a senior living facility.
About The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society
The Good Samaritan Society is the nation's largest not-for-profit provider of senior housing and care options, serving more than 27,000 seniors on a daily basis. Founded in 1922 in North Dakota, the Society offers senior living, assisted living, skilled nursing, inpatient/outpatient therapy, home health care and many other services in our Christian Communities of Care across 24 states.
About Volunteers of America
Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. Through hundreds of human service programs, including housing and healthcare, Volunteers of America helps more than 2 million people in over 400 communities. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America's most vulnerable groups, including at-risk youth, the frail elderly, men and women returning from prison, homeless individuals and families, people with disabilities, and those recovering from addictions. Our work touches the mind, body, heart, and ultimately the spirit, of those we serve, integrating our deep compassion with highly effective programs and services.