Helping the elderly stay in touch
inTouch Living has developed a platform that allows the elderly to communicate with their care providers, with friends and family, and with others in their age group.
Launched in 2013, inTouch Living uses smart technology to break down the social isolation of elderly people living at home.
Elderly clients with access to the inTouch Living platform can send an email or SMS, share photos, make video conference calls, receive alerts about upcoming activities, find games and recipes, and even learn a language.
Care workers visit each client to show them how to connect to the inTouch Living service, often providing them with a computer tablet or set-top box.
"We have spent a lot of time making the interface simple to use and manage," says inTouch Living's CEO, Jeremy Trouncer.
inTouch Living's platform is used by a number of major government-funded Community Aged Care Providers, including Kincare, Australia's largest private provider.
More than 100,000 Australians who receive government-funded social support could potentially benefit from technology that helps relieve social isolation through connection to others. inTouch Living is one of the leaders in its field, and has presented at a number of technology conferences and industry association gatherings.
The idea for the startup came when Mr Trouncer was distributing technology products to the aged care industry and saw there were no products tailored for the Australian home care market.
He began developing the platform at a time when government funding models were shifting to consumer-led care. The shift has given clients greater choice in their providers and services, and created an incentive to improve service delivery.
inTouch Living's platform has now become an important channel for content that improves clients' well-being, such as exercises to reduce the risk of falls.
"The emphasis has shifted to wellbeing," Mr Trouncer says. "Educating and encouraging people to make simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference to their health in the long term."
Improving clients' wellbeing while they are living at home is good for the client and also good for the taxpayer. Minimal in-home care costs the government as little as $7,500 per year, while the highest level of in-home care costs up to $45,000 per year.
Assisted by NSW Department of Industry
In 2014, inTouch Living received a $15,000 grant from the NSW Government through the Innovate NSW fund. The grant was matched by private investment and used to produce a Minimum Viable Product, allowing the company to go to market and seek further investment.
The NSW Government also sponsored inTouch Living to host a booth at the CeBIT technology conference to network with industry players