Retired admiral aims to establish Blue Star Network for aging veteransWritten by Sanya Ali | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A new initiative developed by a Navy officer aims to help veterans who are 70 or older live safely and independently in their homes.
The network will combine new technology, medical tracking with cell phones and Bluetooth, with human interaction to help veterans not only maintain their health, but establish connections through new social media.
Rear Admiral Robert O. Wray started the network because of veteran family members and an interest in telemedicine.
“I’m just intrigued by the idea of doing things that were previously thought of as impossible,” Wray said.
According to Wray, the objective of the network is threefold: protect, health and connectivity.
“The goal is to build a company and the company is by vets, for vets,” Wray said.
As part of this goal, the network will hire younger veterans to work in their centers, as well as provide older veterans with networks to connect with one another.
“We want to do good stuff and, if we can make lives better for older vets and hire younger vets in order to make that happen, it’s kind of a synergistic process,” Wray said.
The technologies in the Blue Star Network will include monitors for blood pressure, pulse oxygen and glucose, as well as tracking devices for elderly dementia patients.
Wray said the technology is helpful for him personally because he and his wife use it to check her mother’s pulse oxygen daily.
“Families can help take care of families even when they don’t live next door,” Wray said.
In order to foster connectivity, Wray said he hopes to establish a private social media site similar to Facebook, so that veterans can find and connect with people whose military experience was similar to their own.
Another feature of the network is a brain-training system for veterans, which will be similar to the “brain training games” Lumosity. Wray said with this he hopes to address the needs of the older brain.
“[Seniors] sort of want it to exercise in a different way, so we want to be able to provide that so that one can keep mentally sharp through simple online connectivity exercises,” Wray said.
Wray said he believes the system necessary because of the dynamic shift in America’s aging population.
“America is growing older, the number of people over the age of 65 is going to double over the next 20 years,” Wray said. “And America wants to take care of its veterans.”
Wray said 20 percent of the network’s proceeds will go toward veteran’s organizations.
To donate to the Indiegogo crowd funding campaign, follow this link: http://igg.me/at/bluestarvets/x