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Video conferencing keeps seniors in touch with their families

June 10, 2013 | Telepresence Options

senior video call


Story and Images by Dana Hull / San Jose Mercury News

Redwood City, Calif., resident Kelly Ilnicki is very close to her 89-year-old grandmother, who until recently lived alone in her home in Oceanside, near San Diego.

Three or four times a day, Ilnicki talks to her grandmother via VideoCare, a video conferencing system for seniors and their extended families and caregivers that was developed by a Menlo Park, Calif.-based startup of the same name.

"In February, we were talking on VideoCare and Grandma was sitting on the couch. I watched her fall over and, to be honest, I thought she'd had a mini-stroke," said Ilnicki. "I was able to yell at her. We called the paramedics in Oceanside and they came to her house. I could hear the paramedics beating on the door."

When the paramedics arrived, Ilnicki was able to explain via VideoCare what had happened, as well as discuss what medication her grandmother was on.

"The paramedics were thrilled," said Ilnicki. "VideoCare has been the most amazing thing for our family. To be able to see each other versus just having a phone call makes a huge difference."

VideoCare's premise is a simple one. Today's 80- and 90-year-olds retired from the workforce before the Internet and smartphones were a staple of daily living, and they are the generation least able to navigate the onslaught of new technology.

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