CareLink360™, formerly Sociavi, created by Dr. Paula Muller, is one of the best health and wellness tools for seniors. Designed to keep older adults and their families connected, there is no login, password, or username needed. As a result, this device makes connecting very simple. Face-to-face real-time visits, images, videos, and reminders simply show up on the touch screen. Family and friends can interact with their loved ones from anywhere in the world, which helps decrease feelings of isolation. In addition, the CareLink360™ device comes with a myriad of brain stimulation games that are particularly helpful for individuals with memory issues. The service is extremely affordable and provides an easy way for families to continue to interact with aging adults. Highly recommend.
Introduction to the CareLink360™
The purpose of the CareLink360™ is to help aging adults and their families and/or caregivers connect more easily.
CareLink360™ is a safe, secure, and extraordinarily simple-to-use product that encourages connection with non-technical older adults. This all-in-one product offers various communication options between family members, friends, and members of the medical care team. It comes with a monitor and speakers to set up in a convenient location for your loved one, and a companion app to download onto your smartphone. It also offers brain games and medication and event reminders. What makes this product different than others on the market is how easy and straightforward it is to use.
I decided to test CareLink360™ with my 92-year-old father who lives out of state primarily to help me stay connected with him. The face-to-face real-time visits were the feature in which I was most interested. There was a time when we could text, zoom, or Facetime regularly, but unfortunately, those options no longer work for us now that Dad has dementia. With no passwords required or buttons to push on the monitor, this technology seemed to offer a good solution for live video chats and sending pictures/videos. I tried various other health and wellness tools for seniors, but none seemed to work for us very well.
The CareLink360™ Components
CareLink360™ consists of a monitor with a 13-inch viewing screen, speakers, and the CareLink360™ Companion App.
The monitor and accompanying speakers arrived customized and pre-programmed, so it was ready to go upon opening the box. The instructions for the person setting up the device were simple: Place it in a convenient location for your loved one and plug it in. Once connected to the power source, a list appears on the touch screen where you can find your WiFi. Select your WiFi name and enter the password. The older adult using the device in their residence can receive real-time visits from those who are connected to the network using the companion app, in addition to photos and videos without using the touch screen. When not in use, the home page displays the date, time, and weather. You can access the brain games from the home screen as well.
The Companion App, used for the Family/Friends Member Network (FMN), is free and available for both iOS and Android smartphones. The person who sets up the device and companion app (using login information sent by CareLink360™ ) can invite others via text to download the app and register for the network. With the FMN, those connected can send pictures, videos and medication, and event reminders. They can also initiate live visits in real-time from their phone with the older adult using the device. The app works locally, nationally, and internationally, so family members can connect no matter where they live. People in the network can be added or deleted quickly and easily at any time.
The CareLink360™ Features
This product offers several helpful features that help older adults and their families/caregivers to interact more easily, as well as brain stimulation games to help divert and calm people with memory issues.
Face-to-face real-time visits
This feature is the one I use most often with my Dad. When I want to place a CareLink360™ live face-to-face real-time visit, I click the ‘VIDEO VISIT” button on the companion app on my smartphone. My face pops up on the screen on the monitor at Dad’s house. He does not need to do anything, and we can start our visit immediately. If Dad wants to contact me for a face-to-face call, he can easily do so by touching my face icon on the screen, which shows up along with the others in our network, although I don’t expect he will try that. These face-to-face visits are a wonderful option when Zoom is no longer an option. The one downside is only one person can be on the call at either end unless of course there is more than one person in the room.
I have the monitor set up on Dad’s desk, positioned in a way so I can only see him when he is in bed. I intentionally angled the camera so I could not see him elsewhere in the room where he might be getting dressed to preserve his dignity. We enjoy the face-to-face real-time visits I initiate very much. Despite his dementia, Dad knows who I am and is always glad to hear from me. He likes to see my face on the screen and hear my voice, and both the picture and the audio are extremely crisp and clear.
An unexpected benefit of the live face-to-face real-time visit feature is we can use it to check if Dad is in bed at night. If sleeping, our “visit” doesn’t wake him, and knowing he is safe in his bed provides great peace of mind. However, often he is not in bed. He tends to wander around his house at night, which resulted in a few falls over the past year. With the CareLink360™ device, we can keep tabs on him discreetly. The caregiver can then gently guide him back to bed. This way, the caregiver does not have to hover around all night, which Dad hates. Again, we want to preserve his dignity and allow him to feel somewhat independent despite his confused state.
Photos and Videos
Photos and videos transfer instantly from the smartphone to the monitor using the companion app. I connected with several family members, asking them to send photos. The uploaded images appear on the device in a rotating slideshow by default when not in use, which Dad enjoys. When there are no images uploaded by family or friends, the monitor shows the home screen. None of us uploaded videos as yet, but I assume they show up on the screen with the same audio and visual clarity we experienced with our photos and face-to-face real-time visits. I like that there is no limit to the number of people you can add to the network.
Reminders can be set using the “REMINDER” button on the companion app. The reminders display automatically on your loved one’s CareLink360™ screen. It’s simple to enter the date, time, name of the event, description, and even frequency of the reminder. You can also set an alert level to indicate whether or not an acknowledgment is required or if you want a report on the task.
Brain Stimulation Games
CareLink360™ Brain Fitness Programs that include cognitive exercises and activities come with the SCareLink360™ device. Activities for people with memory care needs are included in these programs. There are 16 categories of games with over 400 selections, all easily accessible from the touch screen. The activities include solitaire, matching, word search, and jigsaw puzzles. The button to access the Brain Fitness modules is found on the home screen. Note: If images were uploaded, the slide show will appear when the device is not in use. In that case, all you need to do is touch the screen to access the button for the Brain Fitness modules.
The game my Dad enjoyed most was the matching game with images of famous people from his generation. He was very good at it, and the images served as good conversation starters for us. He does not have the attention span at this time to play the games on his own, and now that I am back in my own home, I’m not sure how often he plays them. However, I spoke with a friend who also has the CareLink360™ set up for her mother-in-law who she says plays them frequently. She especially enjoys the games that get progressively more difficult as you go.
Ease of Use
As mentioned earlier in this review, TheCareLink360™ Device is simple to use for all involved. You will likely need to set up the wifi connection for the monitor for your loved one, but after that, it couldn’t be easier for an older adult to use. With no user ID or password necessary, you can connect with them as soon as your companion app is set up. The process is extremely intuitive. I had one small issue with the device, which involved the brightness of the monitor screen. The level of brightness is great, during the day, but interfered with Dad’s ability to sleep at night. I called the owner, Paula Muller, for support and she immediately modified the program to turn off the bright screen in the evening.
The CareLink360™ Companion App for those in the family and friends network is a breeze to set up as well. The app requires login information, but the interface is very user-friendly. I really like that there are no pop-ups or advertisements on the app. There was one minor glitch in the app where the screen went blank after I deleted an image, but I deleted the app and downloaded it again which remedied the problem. I mentioned this issue to Paula who said she was aware of the issue and her techs are working on a solution.
Both the device and the companion app were extremely reliable and worked as promised. The features all worked quickly and very well. My favorite feature, the face-to-face real-time live visits, provided a top-notch experience with excellent sound and image quality. I greatly appreciate the thought that went into designing this product since Zoom, facetime, and texting no longer work with my 92-year-old Dad.
I received documentation about the product that provided clear instructions. However, the device and the app were so easy to set up that I didn’t need them. With the two small issues I encountered, I received immediate assistance when I reached out via email and phone. Not only was I provided with solutions, but Paula followed up to ask if the issues were resolved.
The personalized customer service surprised me (very pleasantly) as we live in a world where we see this kind of support less and less often. Paula is committed not only to growing her business but to truly helping people. She really cares. Her desire to keep seniors and their families closely connected motivated her to foundCareLink360™. With her doctorate-level engineering education and vast experience working with both technology and different patient types, Paula is uniquely qualified to design a product such as the CareLink360™. Because she is intimately involved with every aspect of the device and companion app, she welcomes feedback and quickly finds solutions when a problem arises.
Value for money
The cost of the CareLink360™ is $75/month if you opt to pay monthly with a six-month commitment. If you instead choose to pay annually, you receive a 25% discount and the monthly fee decreases to $56/month. There is no charge upfront for the hardware or for shipping, only the monthly fee. Tax is included also in the monthly charge. Both options include the CareLink360™ device and external speakers, CareLink360™ Brain Fitness, and Companion App, and exceptional support. An optional wifi hotspot is also included for those without WiFi. I am not aware of any other health and wellness tools for seniors on the market remotely similar to the CareLink360™.
This product is a great value for the monthly fee considering all the benefits. You can order the CareLink360™ directly on their website.
The bottom line
Overall, I had a great user experience. The CareLink360™exceeded my expectations. I was thrilled to have a way to communicate face-to-face in real-time with my Dad, and it also provided me with peace of mind to be able to monitor his whereabouts at night. In addition, Dad enjoys the rotating slide show of personal images.
Below is a photo of the monitor with the speakers on my Dad’s desk. The image is a photo of our pool with some ducks that stopped by to visit, which is one of the pictures in the rotating slide show I set up. The device is attractive, looks very much like a computer monitor, and should work well in any decor.
For us, the best room to set up the device was the bedroom. That’s where Dad spends much of his time these days. However, others tell me their loved ones keep it on the kitchen table or in the den by the couch. Wherever it would be most convenient for the individual using it is the best location for setup.
This all-in-one product is a perfect solution for families who want to stay closely connected. Regular communication helps decrease feelings of isolation, a great public health concern among the elderly, especially among those aging at home alone. Non-technical older adults do very well with CareLink360™ because it doesn’t require them to do anything. Technology requirements such as user IDs, passwords, and emails can overwhelm or confuse people who are not comfortable with technology. Engineered so the photos, videos, reminders, and face-to-face real-time visits appear automatically, which keeps things simple. Those interested in brain games can easily access them via the touch screen.
I highly recommend the CareLink360™ for family members and caregivers to use with elderly individuals. The many benefits are well worth the small monthly fee.
Learn more about the CareLink360™ on their website.
Other Health and Wellness Tools for Seniors
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Dignity Pajamas makes high-quality, comfortable, and attractive easy-on easy-off nightgowns and pajamas for struggle-free dressing.
I was provided with theCareLink360™ for testing purposes in exchange for my honest review. We do not have an affiliate relationship.