Connecting Families with their Loved Ones From Omaha to Canada
Nov 21, 2018 02:12PM
By Andrew Nelson
The idea for an app-based start-up came to Amy Johnson during a stressful transition for her family.
In the early 2010s, her husband’s grandmother was in declining health and placed in memory care. The family was unable to keep track of what was happening to Grandma.
“We experienced…gaps in communication with her but [also] with the staff, just understanding her daily life…What activities is she going to? What meals is she going to? And more importantly, what is she not going to?’” Johnson says.
“Life’s busy for everybody, and being able to have something in place to fill the gaps of her day as well as continue to build kind of a productive relationship with her was the problem we saw.”
Amy’s father-in-law provided the inspiration when he asked, “shouldn’t there be an easier way?”
That was why, in 2015, Johnson, her husband Kent, and friend Phil Lee founded LifeLoop, an app and a service designed to connect families, engage residents, and streamline senior living operations with a user-friendly platform. Johnson is the CEO.
This was her first entrepreneurship. Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree in human resources and family science from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. After graduating in 2004, she found a job at Mutual of Omaha, working there until 2011 in a variety of roles. She then worked for Mid-American Benefits, her father-in-law’s firm until 2014.
Johnson volunteered in skilled nursing and senior living communities to learn about the business. It became apparent that the staff needed tools to make their jobs easier and feed information to families in real time.
They built an app that can be used by both senior living communities and the families of their residents that features:
TV displays of calendars and photos
It took about six months to develop the app, which is constantly evolving.
Behavior tracking is a key component. It can help residents and families see behavioral changes early. If a resident is not taking part in once-pleasurable pursuits like playing cards or watching The Price is Right, that means something.
“Charting all of those things allows you to chart where somebody might be slipping,” says Courtney Schmitz, Life Enrichment Coordinator for Vetter Health Services, one of LifeLoop’s first customers.
If the families and the care center are tracking behaviors, it can lead to important conversations earlier.
“It’s very much just bridging that gap of what’s going on,” Johnson says.
The service is helpful to family members who live a long way from their loved one.
“It has allowed them the ability to have a little bit of peace of mind,” Johnson says. “There is a huge sense of guilt when you move your loved one into a community.”
The service is free for families. The company charges the communities, $2 to $6 per resident per month, depending on the size of the community/company.
At Vetter, LifeLoop allows staff to chart attendance and rate the engagement of the residents. It beats the chicken-scratch notes of the past. And it is a real time-saver.
“It got us out of the office and into the residence more,” Schmitz says.
In October 2016, LifeLoop participated in the Rise of the Rest pitch competition and won a $100,000 investment from AOL co-founder Steve Case.
“They have been a great support group for us,” Johnson says. “Raising money is definitely a challenging thing to do while you are also growing the company. So that was a wonderful thing.”
There are now 11 people involved with LifeLoop, which is in 28 states and Canada.
“The possibilities are really endless for the senior industry,” Johnson says. “The baby boomers are coming.”
Visit ourlifeloop.com for more information.This article was printed in the December 2018/January 2019 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.