How a Family Saved $300,000 Using Home Monitoring for the Elderly

January 25, 2024

You promised to provide your aging parent a dignified and respectful aging experience. And for them, that means aging in place, independently at home, for as long as possible. It sounds like a perfectly reasonable request. Medicare, Social Security, and perhaps even a pension or retirement savings are in place. Sadly for many families, this isn’t enough to support a loved one’s wishes. The cost of in-home senior care can be overwhelming. In some states, the hourly rate of a home health aide from a homecare agency tops $45/hour. Even moving out of a beloved home into modest senior living can challenge the budgets of the most ardent retirement saver.In this blog we’ll tell the story of Jack (a pseudonym to protect his privacy), an 80-something, recently widowed retiree living in a suburban 2 bedroom condo. His primary caregiver, daughter Sarah, along with her husband Greg, are responsible to fulfill the family’s promise – that Jack lives out his years in his own home. With some savings, a small mortgage, and a modest pension along with Medicare and Social Security, is it possible to give Jack the ever-increasing support he needs to age in place? 

Your Promise to Support a Parent Aging in Place

You’ve made a commitment, a promise, a vow – to support your parent’s wish to age gracefully within the comfort and familiarity of home. As simple as this promise sounds, it’s often accompanied by a mountain of challenges. The hours dedicated to paperwork and phone calls, missed work and social events, the never ending worry, and the constant second-guessing every decision can be all-consuming. No wonder family caregivers are overwhelmed, stressed out, and exhausted.

Sarah and Greg are no exception.

As Jack’s proxy for just about everything including healthcare decisions and financial commitments, Sarah holds immense responsibility. If she spends Jack’s money too quickly, he may outlive his savings. Provide too little senior care and Sarah puts Jack’s safety and wellness at risk.

The True Cost of Traditional Senior Care

Conventional senior care options come with a hefty price tag. A full-time home health aide or an assisted living facility can quickly turn into a financial nightmare for an unprepared family. If dementia or memory loss becomes part of the equation, the financial obligations can climb sharply, rapidly hitting six figures per year.

The cost of traditional in-home senior care has been steadily rising. The rising costs are due to three major factors: supply and demand for care workers, increasing regulation, and competition for workers from outside the senior care industry. 

The supply of caregivers is not growing fast enough to meet the increasing demand for their skills in the market. Competition for workers is intense with homecare agencies, senior living communities, nursing homes, clinical settings, and private families vying for the same workforce. Regulatory requirements including minimum wage increases, minimum staff to resident ratios, and documentation are becomine more and more robust. Recruiting, training, and retention costs add to the financial burden of employers, with costs passed on to consumers. Attracting new workers to a physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding job like senior care can be a hard sell, with similar wages available for much easier jobs in retail or hospitality.

Much higher costs than planned for was precisely the predicament in which Sarah and her family found themselves.

Sarah and Greg decided to try something new – technology. They opted not to settle for the status quo, but instead decided to embrace technology and innovation to save money while keeping their promise to Jack. 

A Detailed Breakdown of $300,000 in Savings Over Two Years

The family at the center of our story was determined to think outside the box by  using a combination of part time home health aide services in conjunction with technology –  a full time home monitoring system for the elderly. Their decision proved to be financially strategic, resulting in savings to the tune of $300,000 over two years.

To keep Jack aging in place with dignity, Sarah believed he needed a home health aide for 6 hours a day during the week. The responsibilities were typical – helping Jack shower and dress in the morning, meals, transportation to  appointments, laundry, and companionship. Either Sarah or Greg would swing by Jack’s condo after work, bring him to their home for dinner, then drive him back home to help him ready for bed. On the occasions where he didn’t join for dinner, the aide set aside a simple meal for him to heat up on his own and prepared him for bed early. Weekends were Sarah’s responsibility exclusively.

This plan covered 6 hours of a 24 hour day. Sarah, however, worried about the 18 hours a day her father was alone. The what if’s consumed her – what if he fell? What if he forgot to eat dinner? What if he was locked out of the condo? How would she know he needed help?

And this is where a home monitoring system for the elderly proved indispensable.

Operating 24/7, Sarah chose a discreet, inconspicuous, sensor based system that she personalized for her individual care concerns. The system would immediately alert her if Jack was at risk, so she could intervene to avoid an emergency.

It was a “high touch with high tech” solution to a very human problem. At the time, she had no idea how life-saving her decision would be. But more on this later.

The cost of the home health aide for six hours per day, five days per week at $25/hour was approximately $3,375 in wages per month. (We’ve omitted taxes for simplicity.)

The cost of the home monitoring system for the elderly was a one time fee of $399 for equipment, plus $99/month for behavior discovery, risk monitoring, and notification services.

Sarah was able to use the combination of part time hourly services plus the remote monitoring system for over 24 months before Jack’s needs escalated to require full time care. 

With overtime and holiday pay, full time senior care increased her costs from “high touch with high tech” $42,000 per year to over $200,000 per year.

By using “high touch with high tech” to defer full time care for those two years, Sarah saved over $300,000 –  money she used to fund her father’s increased needs.

Empowering Family Caregivers with Technology

Forget for a moment the enormous savings that home monitoring systems can deliver. Instead, let’s shift our focus to how this technology transformed Sarah’s effectiveness as a family caregiver.

Sarah and Greg decided to increase Jack’s level of care as a direct result of what they learned from their remote elderly monitor. During the 24 months that Jack spent 18 hours home alone and unsupervised:

– Jack was safely intercepted when he tried to leave his home before dawn during a blizzard.

– Jack was not sleeping in his bed, moving between the sofa and his bedroom multiple times per night. His doc diagnosed and treated insomnia.

– dehydration was diagnosed by his doc after the monitor reported decreasing overnight bathroom frequency. His water intake was monitored by access to his measured bottle in the fridge.

– he was rescued in a state of confusion when the remote monitor reported the temperature in his condo over 90 degrees; his caregiver had turned on the heat instead of the AC when she left for the night.

– Jack often locked himself out of his condo when picking up the mail. Sarah used the remote control unlock feature through her monitoring system to unlock the door

– Jack was often pacing and wandering when alone at night, in addition to napping a lot during the day. His doc used this, along with all the other information reported from the elderly monitoring system, to make a formal dementia diagnosis.

Imagine less worry about potential falls or unseen dementia behaviors. Envision a way to monitor your loved one’s safety around the clock and alert you immediately if their safety or well-being is at risk.

This is the power and promise of a home monitoring system for the elderly. They do more than just monitor – they bring immeasurable peace of mind to families.

While you might think the status quo of traditional caregiving is the better option, there are significant advantages to technology. Technology doesn’t sleep, take breaks, call in sick, or make decisions about what you need, or don’t need to know. Being cost-conscious doesn’t mean compromise on the care or safety of your loved one, in fact, you can increase safety while lowering risk for a few cents an hour.

But not all technology is the same. Sarah was committed to a passive solution that required no interaction or engagement by Jack. Pendants and bracelets would have required too much from Jack including batteries, charging, and something to choose or remember to wear. Suspect that Jack had the judgment required to consciously push a button while overwhelmed or injured in an emergency, Sarah was wary of buttons. And Jack objected to cameras in his home for privacy reasons. 

A passive, silent, practically invisible home monitoring system for the elderly was the ideal full time supplement to part time hourly care for Sarah and Greg.

Challenge the Status Quo and Save Thousands with envoyatHome.

envoyatHome is a remote elderly monitor that helps families fulfill their promise to support a loved one’s desire to age in place. We discover, monitor, and immediately report over 35 unseen behaviors that put an older adult at risk while they’re home alone. We let caregivers know whether their loved one is at risk RIGHT NOW so they can intervene before an emergency, and report behaviors over time to show subtle changes that might indicate medical attention is warranted. envoyatHome’s inconspicuous sensors work silently 24/7 with no cameras, listening devices, or wearables to charge, forget, or purposely leave behind. Personalized for each caregiver and their loved one’s risks, envoyatHome is affordable peace of mind for families.

We’re dedicated to the millions of family caregivers who selflessly fulfill a promise to their loved ones – to help them age in place at home with dignity, independence, and autonomy for as long as possible. At envoyatHome, we pride ourselves on an exceptional caregiver experience, personal service, and innovation that delivers peace of mind for a fraction of the cost of traditional in-home care.

When you can’t be there yourself, we’re your trusted “envoy at home”

About envoyatHome

envoyatHome is committed to caregivers of older adults aging in place. Featured in Kiplinger, Fortune, National Council on Aging, and aginginplace.org, envoyatHome is a solution for caregivers that delivers full time, affordable senior care for the digital age. You can reach us at info@envoyathome.com or 856.681.0076.

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