(Entrepreneur, May 26, 2015) – Kian Saneii has worked in the technology sector for almost 30 years, so he looks at the world through a techie’s lens. When he began helping his parents take care of his elderly grandparents, he was shocked to find that the digital world had barely made a foothold in elder care.
“I had that personal experience, and when I began looking into things, there was not a brand out there associated with taking care of grandma and grandpa,” he says. “I wondered why it is that 30 years into the digital revolution, the only brand for the elderly is still ‘I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.’”
At the same time, he acknowledges, technology and the elderly don’t always mix well. Teaching older people to use smartphones, tablets or computers can be challenging. But Saneii had an epiphany. He realized that most older people are adept at the use of one major form of technology: television. So in 2009 he began work on a TV-based platform that combines elements of digital communication into a system that can be controlled by a single remote.
The result is Independa. The software-based solution allows caregivers and family members to use a web portal or mobile app to video chat, send Facebook messages and photos, set up appointments and medication reminders and play games with their older loved ones. It can also interface with blood-pressure monitoring devices, scales and glucometers, and can serve as a door sensor and emergency-alert system. On the other end, the elderly users are able to access all content without logins, passwords or the internet; they receive messages and alerts directly through their TVs, using a simplified remote.