Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Technology Tuesday

This week’s Technology Tuesday provides an update on Imagine!’s Tuneberg Remote Supports Project.


In April 2014, Aaron Tuneberg died at the age of 30, the result of a violent and senseless act. Aaron was on a waiting list for services for people with cognitive disabilities, but that did not stop him from connecting with his community and making an impact on all those he touched.

Aaron’s mother, Gale Boonstra, has worked diligently to turn tragedy into opportunity. To help reach that vision, Gale and her family have established Aaron’s Fund to support projects in Aaron’s community that will provide safety, independence, and camaraderie for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her hope for Aaron’s legacy is that we all become more mindful of the needs, as well as the potential, of adults with disabilities, and that we do whatever we can to help these individuals and their families.

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Tuneberg Remote Supports Project

Thanks to the generosity of Aaron's Fund, Imagine! has created a technology demonstration project to improve and support safety needs for adults with disabilities. Over three years, the project will identify 5-10 individuals served by Imagine!, assess their support needs, identify the technologies that will best help meet those needs, purchase the technologies for the individuals, teach them how to use them for their needs, and provide ongoing support through the demonstration period. Technology supports are individualized to individual supports and include door and window sensors, heat and stove detectors, medication reminders, visual doorbells, prompting systems for daily tasks, which are all integrated into a notification system that provides alerts to caregivers or 911.

The idea is to use technology in a community-based setting that will allow people to be monitored remotely. Their loved ones or caregivers will know when they are home and what area of the living space they are accessing. They can remotely lock doors, let people know what facilities they are using, and support them with medication management.

The concept may be simple, but it will help fill a huge gap that currently exists in services for adults with intellectual disabilities who are mostly independent but need some assistance to remain self-reliant. Sadly, this is a population that is underserved and often ignored, as the tragic loss of Aaron showed. Available funding for their needs is miniscule, the workforce willing and able to meet those needs is shrinking, and yet the demand for these services continues to grow. Imagine! will use those three years to collect feedback and data and then report back to the state in the hopes that the technology will be offered to more people with disabilities around the state.

Project Progress as of July 2016

In February, four residences in Boulder County were equipped with the technology most suited to each individual. Imagine! is bringing on a fifth individual now, and is identifying others as well. Technology in each home costs about $4,000 for the first year and $750 in monitoring every year after that, and Aaron's Fund has made a three-year commitment to the program. The participating families are very pleased with the system as it is providing them with peace of mind while helping support a more independent lifestyle.

Learn more about the progress of the Tuneberg Remote Supports Project by reading this article from the Daily Camera or check out the video below (also produced by the Daily Camera).
  Can’t see the video? Click here.

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