Innovative Program of the Week – People and Technology

Innovative Program of the Week – People and Technology

People and technology working together. This tagline on the Sengistix website is just a peek in the door at what they offer, not in terms of services but rather quality of life.

Sandy Henry has a been residential service provider for people with disabilities for over 30 years. In 2006, with budget cuts looming, she and her colleagues began searching for ways to integrate technology into how they deliver services.

They initiated a pilot program with Healthsense to adapt their sensor technology for seniors for use with people with developmental disabilities. They found that the technology worked but needed some adaptation. There is a wide range of unique needs, sometimes even within one group home and Sengistix is able to tailor their systems to meet a wide range of unique individual needs.

This not only saves staff time and resource money but it also gives their clients greater independence. They are able to reduce the level of caregiver time when they truly aren’t needed rather than having someone there “just in case.” This provides an option to a fully staffed group home and helps with what their clients need, when they need it.

Sandy has a lot of success stories to share but one of her favorites is that of Jeremy, a man with Down syndrome who, with help from his own personalized security system was able to get his own home. He has a web of support that all work together to help him be safe and continue to grow in independence and confidence.

For the most part, Jeremy’s townhouse looks like any other, with some subtle differences: a sensor on the front door that’s activated if it’s opened after 11 p.m., a security keypad required to turn on the stove, a motion sensor in the bathroom to give the alert if he’s in there and motionless for more than 20 minutes, signaling a possible fall. There also is a sensor under his mattress, to detect a fall out of bed, and one in the box where he keeps his medications, to alert his family if he forgets to take them.

During 10 years in a group home, Jeremy was safe, his parents said. But he had few opportunities to use the life skills he has mastered so far, or to make decisions about how to spend his time and the money he earns at his part-time job. The services of Sengistix promotes more independence for Jeremy. Long-term, his parents hope that when they’re gone their son will continue to be secure and not be too reliant on his three older siblings. The signs are good, so far.

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If you or someone you know has an innovative program worth interviewing, we want to hear about it. Contact or call 1-877-977-6843