Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Digital Mosaic - The Next Generation of Legacy Story Telling

The Digital Mosaic App Offers Families a New Way to Connect and Remember

Stay At Home ModificationOne of the most important questions we face, as we age, is what we will be leaving behind.

What do we have to offer to future generations? 

What wisdom or memories can we share that will make someone smile or help them out in their own lives?

Natalie Bauman of Digital Mosaic has worked with a team of developers to take this age-old question into the modern age with an app that’s ease of use enables users young and old to participate.

A Love Of Story Telling

Bauman’s story-telling roots are in the world of professional video production, but as much as she loved creating these meaningful works, she found that the cost and time commitment were outside of many people’s budgets. “In my professional video-producing career,” Bauman shared, “I started telling family stories, and it was a really incredible experience. Families really enjoyed being able to see their family members telling their stories in their own voice, in their own words, seeing the expressions that were so endearing and special about that person, especially with seniors. When they were no longer with their family, it was an incredible legacy that the family was able to carry forward so that the grandkids would always be able to share it with their kids. I loved doing those, but the problem is that they’re kind of expensive and, frankly, not everyone has that kind of budget, nor does the video production piece of it work with the immediacy of when people want a published story. They don’t want to wait until they can book a video producer and find the right person and find the money; they want to do it when they want to do it. So, I was determined to figure out a way to make video story telling and legacy story telling become immediate, instantly accessible, really fun and easy to use, and affordable.”

That’s how Bauman came up with the idea for Digital Mosaic. “It’s an online story-telling tool,” she went on, “that uses the native video production elements that are available in your iPhone or iPad—for right now, and we’ll expand to other devices down the road. It uses those video capture tools to tell the stories using our guided app. A lot of people want to tell their story but don’t know how to start, so we give them a series of questions that they can then use. It’s really fun and easy to use, and it gets immediately uploaded to a private cloud page.” Footage that you capture through the app is easily reviewed and uploaded to a private site, shared only with those whom you have invited to participate, and all at the tap of a few buttons—a much easier way to upload and share video that the multiple step process involved in uploading to YouTube.

Digital Mosaic has had its initial launch in nursing home facilities in the greater Cleveland area, and the company is prepping for a full release to the public and families everywhere in Summer 2015. “We’re working really closely with those in nursing home facilities, as well as those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. … Instead of the family hearing, ‘Your mom had a great morning, I’m sorry you couldn’t see it,’ it’s an email that says, ‘Here, let me show you.” Bauman likes to call the new Digital Mosaic app “a video producer in your pocket.” “It’s not something you have to plan in advance,” she said. “You can be sitting at dinner with your family and say, ‘Oh! This conversation is something I really want to share and save.’ So you record it, you share it on your collaborative network, you decide who gets to be part of it, and then all of a sudden you have this amazing tool that connects families as well as preserving your stories.” And it’s not limited to being viewed online.
Available options will allow users to create DVDs or transfer to a flash drive. “It’s a two-way communication tool. It’s not just recording the life stories of one person that can be shared with many people; it’s many people who are in collective groups—a family, an organization, what have you—telling their stories and bringing them into one place that’s private and secure to be shared with other people. So then, the family could be downloading those and creating DVDs on a regular basis; it can be sent to a flash drive and used as part of a presentation for a birthday party or anniversary, or many other types of family oriented meetings or get-togethers.”

Digital Mosaic sounds like a wonderful tool for creating unique and meaningful family heirlooms. We look forward to checking it out this summer! ------

Here at HandyPro, we make your well-being our priority. Our interview series goes hand-in-hand with that effort, and we hope you find it helpful! For more information on how we can help you make your home a home for life, visit us at www.StayAtHomeModificationsInc.com or call me (Brian Pritchard) at 216-212-7531.

If you’d like to learn more about Digital Mosaic, you can find them on the web at www.TheDigitalMosaic.com, or reach them by phone at 216-570-0955.

To listen to our full conversation, which included a section on another passion project of Natalie's, the Remembering Project (which you can watch HERE), please click on the audio player below...

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Loving Hands Group : A New Level of Care

The Loving Hands Group Takes Supported Living to New Heights

For seniors and those with disabilities, life presents a series of unique challenges to face and overcome. Our current healthcare system provides for care of the physical body, but Judith Eugene of The Loving Hands Group (Best of the Heights winner for Best Home-Based Business) understands that caring for the whole person includes much more than just the needs of the body. “We’re talking about taking care of people’s minds and spirits,” Judith shared, “not just their bodies. We offer things like yoga, tai chi, massage, Reiki treatments and Reiki classes, and classes in meditation. We also have a new laughter yoga program that’s been a lot of fun. Laughing exercises help people a lot with optimism as well as stamina and breathing.”

The Loving Hands Group is a collaboration of professional artists and holistic healthcare practitioners who provide a truly unique selection of life-enriching classes and activities for senior adults, people faced with illness, and anyone with physical or mental challenges throughout the greater Cleveland area. In addition to their holistic health programs, they also offer a variety of classes in the broader category of the arts, such as painting, drawing, art history, architectural history, and interior decorating. Other offerings include healthy cooking classes, container gardening, and journalistic writing.

One very special opportunity that The Loving Hands Group offers to their clients is the creation of what they call a musical autobiography. “We go back with them through a musical trip down memory lane,” said Judith, “and find songs that were important to them—maybe it was the theme song for their high school prom, or it was their wedding song—and then we compile a CD for them of those memories and the stories that go with them.”

They bring their offerings to people in a variety of living situations, from living at home, to group housing, to assisted living and nursing home facilities. Not all of their programs are aimed at groups, however, as some people bring them in for one-on-one class sessions. “Some folks prefer not to be in groups,” Judith said. “There are folks who prefer more one-on-one based activities. We can work with people still living at home, we can work with folks in facilities, and we do also work with groups. … We can work with people to do just a one-time program, or we can do something weekly, something monthly. It depends on what people need and what they want.”

The company strives to cater their programs to suit the ability level and interest of each client. “We really take a lot of care to make sure that everyone can succeed at our program,” Judith said. “The last thing that we want to do is frustrate or embarrass anyone. There is a lot of that frustration in people who are starting to decline in their abilities, so we always make sure that the goals we set are achievable. We offer options so people can take what’s best suited for them without feeling like they’re being singled out. … Even people with varying levels of vision ability, dexterity, mobility, cognition—we’re able to modify most all of our programs.”

The Loving Hands Group programs go beyond basic companionship to create a level of personal engagement that is meant to inspire and invigorate their clients. “Feedback that we’re getting from our ongoing clients is that people tend to feel more engaged in their environment,” Judith reported. “We’re finding that it does give people that empowerment of feeling like, you know what, no matter how old I am, no matter what I’m facing, I’m still valuable, I’m still interesting, I’m still productive, I can still be an active participant in my own life.”


Here at HandyPro, we make your well-being our priority. Our interview series goes hand-in-hand with that effort, and we hope you find it helpful! For more information on how we can help you make your home a home for life, visit us at www.StayAtHomeModificationsInc.com or call me (Brian Pritchard) at 216-212-7531.

If you’d like to learn more about The Loving Hands Group or schedule a class or session with one of their experts, you can reach them by phone at 216-408-5578 or visit them online at www.LovingHandsGroup.com

To listen to the complete audio interview, please click on the player below...

Friday, February 6, 2015

Zounds Hearing - Latest Hearing Aid Technology Improves Quality of Life

Many of our HandyPro customers suffer with some degree of hearing loss. In fact, millions of Americans are in the same boat. We sat down with local business owner Glenn Harbold of Zounds Hearing to discuss some of the issues facing people with hearing loss today, as well as to learn more about the options available to those seeking treatment.

“Our mission is to help the world hear better,” shared Harbold. “Hearing loss is something that is a very widespread and serious issue. There are approximately 48 million Americans who struggle with hearing loss, and the vast majority of those people can be helped with the modern hearing aid technology that’s available and that Zounds offers to the world.”

There are many places people can go to get their hearing tested, but what makes the difference between a run-of-the-mill clinical reading and an effective personalized solution? “What makes Zounds unique,” Harbold said, “is really a combination of the product, the service, and the value that we offer to our clients. Everyone’s hearing loss is different, everyone’s needs are different, and everyone has a different set of priorities and goals in terms of what they want to be able to do to improve their hearing. … The most critical thing that people need to understand when they go to address their hearing loss is that they really need to find a company and a specialist that is going to work to understand their needs and their individual struggle.”

There’s the clinical side of understanding hearing loss from a medical point of view—such as where the damage exists and what options are available for treatment—but there’s also a personal, emotional component that is encompassed by an individual’s desires to achieve normalized hearing and a better quality of life. “Fixing someone’s hearing loss,” Harbold said, “is not just a matter of doing a simple clinical test, mapping and programming the hearing aids to their loss and saying, ‘Hey, you’re good to go. Call us if you need us.’ There’s a process that people need to go through, and it starts with that clinical testing, but it’s really a counseling process. What is your lifestyle like? What do you struggle with? The hearing profile can only tell the specialists so much; it’s really about talking to that person and understanding [their needs].”

The Future of Hearing Aids

What comes next for the hearing impaired community? There is certainly a long history of people who have been frustrated with the options available to them, the quality of the solutions, and the too-often-hefty price tag of hearing aids. “The challenge has been that, historically, hearing aids have not been very effective for a lot of people, “ said Harbold. “They were very expensive, and at the end of the day, the majority of people just didn’t want to wear them. They either didn’t want to spend the money on them and didn’t think they would actually help or, in some cases, they didn’t find them aesthetically pleasing. The stigma attached with wearing hearing aids had people resisting and not wanting to be seen wearing them.”

“The future,” Harbold went on, “thanks to advances that have been made—particularly with a company like Zounds—is that hearing aids are more comfortable, more discreet, they perform better, and in some cases, as with Zounds, the prices have come down. There are more affordable solutions for really quality, high-end hearing aids that didn’t exist previously. We think that’s going to start to break down some of those old barriers, and that we’ll see the adaption rate of hearing aids increase over time.”

Here at HandyPro, we make your well-being our priority. Our interview series goes hand-in-hand with that effort, and we hope you find it helpful! For more information on how we can help you make your home a home for life, visit us at www.StayAtHomeModificationsInc.com or call me (Brian Pritchard) at 216-212-7531.

If you’d like to learn more about Zounds Hearing or have your hearing tested by one of their specialists, you can schedule an appointment at either their Brooklyn or Mayfield Heights location by contacting them at 216-377-5520 or visiting them on the web at www.ZoundsCleveland.com.

To listen to the full audio of the interview, please click on the player below...