The Office of Developmental Programs Showcases Resident’s Tech
The PA Department of Health’s ODP page features two of KenCrest’s Supported Independent Living residents and their tech advancements.
By Julie Daly
Meet Patricia and Pete, two of KenCrest’s Supported Independent Living residents who regularly use Enabling Technology devices to help them navigate everyday life as independently as possible. For more than 20 years, Pete regularly volunteered to help at local food pantries and Meals on Wheels, using different tech devices to continue doing what he loves while being as independent as possible. Patricia loves living alone in her apartment but needed a few technology additions to help her live independently, including an Amazon Alexa, a personal emergency response system, and more.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Office of Developmental Programs page featured Patricia and Pete earlier this month. Check out what they discussed below:
Patricia is all about tech. “I like a lot of technology,” she says. Patricia works several days a week at the local children’s hospital. Tech makes managing her day and her apartment a whole lot easier. Patricia lets her Roomba do the vacuuming. “All I have to do is push the button,” she explains. A simple grabber tool helps Patricia get things out of reach. When she wants to hear her music, she just asks Alexa to play it on her Echo Dot. Even Lucky, her cat, benefits from tech with an automated feeder.
Deidre, Patricia’s Supported Living Program Manager, noticed other things that could be helped with tech and sought the help of an enabling tech specialist. Accessing light switches was a challenge for Patricia. Smart switch plates and a companion phone app solved the problem. “I like that I can use my phone to turn off and on lights, especially when I’m in my bed,” Patricia shares. After a fall incident, Patricia needed a reliable solution to contact help easily when needed. A personal emergency response system (PERS) was placed in her apartment so that she could access help 24/7. Patricia is pleased. “My watch and PERS make me feel safer.” Deidre adds that the PERS “gives me a sense of comfort, that’s for sure.” Deidre encourages fellow staff to “ask questions if you are unsure about technology.”
Pete is a busy guy with lots of friends and volunteer work. For more than twenty years, he has lived in his apartment, and Annette, his Community Connection Coach, has supported him for just as long. When the COVID pandemic hit, like many, Pete found himself unable to engage in the things he enjoyed in his community, so he and Annette began to consider how technology could help. First on the list was finding a way for Pete to connect through virtual meetings. Pete upgraded his computer to one with a speaker and camera. “I can now take classes online,” he explains. Pete especially enjoys a Cultural Exploration class where he visits different countries virtually. The new computer offered Pete so many new opportunities that, with the help of an enabling tech specialist, he and Annette continued to explore ways tech could enhance Pete’s life.
RELATED: Pete Gives Back to his PA Community
Opening his front door and managing the key was a struggle for Pete. He usually left his door unlocked for ease of access. The installation of an automatic door opener solved the problem. Pete can now open and lock his door using a remote. He can let visitors in without even going to the door. A personal emergency response system (PERS) was the answer after Pete fell out of his wheelchair and had no way to access help. Now at the push of a button, Pete can contact a 24-hour call center for assistance, giving him and Annette peace of mind. “I always have somebody on the other end of the line,” Pete says. Annette adds, “He is very independent, and I saw how helpless he was when he could not reach me.” What’s on the tech horizon for Pete? Smart light bulbs and smart plugs!