Chris' Story: Changing an Industry

My name is Chris Dickey and I am a franchise owner, Visiting Angels. My first career was in marketing. I spent 25 years working for marketing and advertising consulting firms around data and data analytics, trying to understand the consumer and understand what works and what doesn’t in terms of driving consumer lifetime value, driving consumer experiences and driving brand experiences. So when my family, one of the early franchisees in the system, thought that they were ready to retire and I had spent 25 years in marketing, I felt like I was looking for a career that could really give back to the community. And certainly home care is one of those areas where taking care of seniors and protecting seniors is a way to get back to the community. So it felt like a natural transition to learn from my parents and get involved in this particular business..

Yeah, I heard about it early on. I think I was just reading an email about it from from corporate that they were starting to look at this technology. And I instantly knew that that could be a game changer for our organization and that it was a one plus one equals three, meaning that with the technology in the human aspect that we offered those two things together could certainly be something that could change the industry for the good in terms of allowing us to provide even more technology in support and safety to protect and connect with consumers, specifically the seniors. When you think about the unique challenges we have with the seniors segment, it offered protection. So many of our seniors live alone. So it allowed this protection of them to be able to call and get the help that they needed. As you’ve probably heard, the lanyards systems aren’t, you know, the optimal tool for seniors. They don’t want to wear them. They forget to charge them. But voice is powerful Voice is a technology they could always use to be protected. What if we had a technology we could bring to bear that would be a communication tool and an interaction tool where you didn’t feel socially isolated and, you know, in some cases you wouldn’t feel that isolation even if you didn’t leave your room. So what a great way to have Constant Companion as a connection tool inside assisted living. So you could connect with family, with friends, with information in your room if you didn’t always feel comfortable going out into the environment itself.

Sometimes Making a Connection with a Loved One is Difficult

Another thing we started to figure out that if you’re a family, you kind of put yourself in the shoes of a family coming in to see your loved one. Sometimes making that connection with a loved one is difficult. If they are on a dementia scale or an Alzheimer’s scale, they may not remember why they’re there or all of their activities or all their background. So could you start to use this technology to play a song that they’re really familiar with? To play some memory in terms of, you know, photography, music, things that can start to break through? And the idea was, those breakthroughs would make that family visit more interactive for both the resident and the family that were there. And so that’s another use case. Can we really use this tool to make that family actually more productive and a better interaction for the resident in the family?

Why Constant Companion

It reduces cost of labor in assisted living environments because, again, the staff, when they have a communication device and an announcement device, they don’t have to run all over the facility. And in fact, we’ve heard from the executive directors that they can find staff easier. They can call into their room. They can call into the Bluetooth headphones of a staff. So there’s a labor saving opportunity that’s right out of the gate, something that found that’s interesting. And we’re hoping in the future that also the staff sees this technology as something that they want to use to enable their care. And it will provide them, you know, kind of another reason to go work at a specific assisted living because they want to work in this technology environment. Well, one example of Constant Companion providing some better care is that we’re also finding more interactivity. So the staff can come into the room and instead of saying, “hey, Miss Smith, it’s time for breakfast.” They can walk into the room and say, “Mrs. Smith, I’m going to play your favorite song, and here it is. And by the way, ask the system what’s for breakfast today and you’ll be surprised.” Right. So there’s surprise and delight. The happy birthdays, the music, the interaction is starting to change, the experience from maybe a dull experience in some cases to a much more fulfilled experience between the staff and the residents. 

I would recommend Constant Companion. We already do so in our marketplaces to all of our partners. That includes hospitals, hospice, home health environments, the Alzheimer’s Association. So we want to bring this technology to bear anywhere where it’s going to make a difference.