Cooking Safety Devices Supporting Safe Cooking And Senior Independence

By | Tochtech

FireAccording to the American Burn Association more than 47% of fires in the home are started in the kitchen most often while cooking.  “Home Cooking Fires” a report completed for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in 2020 identifies that cooking caused an average of 172,900 reported home structure fires per year (49 percent of all reported home fires in the US). These fires resulted in an average of 550 civilian deaths (21 percent of all home fire deaths) and 4,820 civilian injuries (44 percent of all reported home fire injuries) annually. Additionally, the percentage of apartment fires started by cooking was nearly twice that of cooking fires in one- or two-family homes. 

Unattended cooking was by far the leading factor in cooking fires and cooking fire casualties. Abandoned or discarded material, which may have been related to unattended cooking, ranked second in the causes of cooking fires and third in cooking fire deaths and injuries. 

Fire VictimsIn another common scenario, combustible materials such as wrappers, potholders, or clothing caught fire when they were left by or came too close to hot cooking equipment.

In 2014–2018, half (49 percent) of the people who died in cooking fires were at least 55 years of age. The 55–64 age group had the largest share of home cooking fire deaths. People 85 and older have a risk of dying in a cooking fire that is 5.5 times higher than that of the overall population. NFPA’s analysis of home fire victims of all causes found that home fire victims who were 85 and older were more likely to have died in a fire caused by cooking than by any other cause. Young adults aged 20–34 were at the highest risk of non-fatal cooking injuries. This risk of greater injury or death increases with age is due to physical, visual, hearing or mental impairments that may slow in seniors impacting the quick action necessary in a fire emergency. This together with forgetfulness and early stage dementia which seniors often suffer from, result in significantly increasing the risks of death and critical injury of seniors when cooking.

However, cooking is an important aspect of life and an activity that is enjoyed by many seniors. Cooking may be one of the last activities seniors enjoy. You may now be asking, ‘is there a smart cooking device that could benefit my elderly loved ones, without a huge investment?” Recognizing this problem, Tochtech developed SmarturnsTM, which solves stovetop kitchen fires by transforming any stove into a smart stove. A first-in-class stove safety product Smarturns alerts a stove user and caregivers when a stove is on and unattended. Smarturns works on gas and electric stoves and supports 98% of stove models in the market. A cost-effective solution, that is simple to install, Smarturns’ intelligent stove knobs and motion sensor can detect when the stove is on and unattended. With Smarturns installed, the older adult will be reminded through a local alarm that the stove is on and unattended, and a caregiver can also be notified via text. These two layers of safety ensure a fire risk is avoided. To learn more about Smarturns and keeping your loved ones safe and supporting their independence please visit Tochtech Technologies website.

Caregiver Crisis

How innovation helps address the caregiver crisis in long-term care

By | Tochtech

Caregiver Crisis
The senior care industry like the healthcare industry in Canada and the world over is struggling with staff shortages. Stories of nurses and doctors leaving healthcare due to retirement, burnout from the pandemic and having to backfill for staffing gaps are rife and has led to a healthcare crisis in Canada. The same can be said of the senior care industry, in particular long term care.

As recently reported by the Globe and Mail, The Canadian Institute for Health Information’s (CIHI) annual report on the health work force highlighted that the pandemic has changed how nurses work in Canada. Fewer are willing to take jobs in long-term care homes and are more decamping for private staffing agencies. This, according to a new report that reveals how the COVID-19 emergency affected all types of health professionals and the patients they serve. About 500 fewer registered nurses were employed in long-term care in 2021 than the previous year, a drop of 2.2 per cent, and about 100 fewer licensed practical nurses worked for community health agencies last year than in 2020, a decrease of 0.8 per cent. Over the same period, there was a 7.3-per-cent increase in nurses of all skill levels working in a category CIHI calls “other settings,” which includes jobs at private staffing agencies, cosmetic clinics and nurse consulting work.

This ‘new’ reality comes at a time when wait lists for seniors seeking long term care is at a crisis level. This will only get worse as the baby boomers age over the next 15 years. The senior care industry that has in the past been reluctant to embrace technology and innovation is starting to consider how innovation can help this disaster looming on the horizon. Senior care organizations seriously looking to invest in sensor-based technology to help support start and at the same time enable improved quality of care for seniors in their care. An example of a company that is on a mission to help senior care providers improve efficiencies and enable improved quality of care for residents is Tochtech Technologies, an award-winning Canadian digital health company designing and developing sensor-based innovative products.

One of Tochtech’s award winning innovations, Toch Sleepsense has been designed and built with the long term care industry in mind. A non-wearable, non-contact sleep tracker designed to allow care providers to monitor safety of patients/residents while asleep. The sleep recording and analysis features offer valuable insights in achieving improved sleep quality. Toch Sleepsense is placed under the frame of the bed and detects body movement and vital signs no matter where the sleeper is positioned on the bed. With the Sleepsense central monitoring feature that allows real time monitoring of multiple residents/patients from one screen, Toch Sleepsense is supports improved quality of care for residents in long term care as well staff and efficiencies at seniors’ homes.

Langley Lodge, a 139-bed long term care residence based in Vancouver, Canada is an example care providers utilizing innovation. “It is truly amazing how much data we can access while not impeding our seniors that can contribute to the care of our residents and assist our evening and night staff in monitoring those residents who may require additional assistance. Sleepsense will help us to ensure resources are utilized in the most efficient and effective manner in relation to sleep and safety. I am hopeful with time we will see a reduction in falls, and better quality sleep for our residents. Those are two powerful indicators of seniors’ well-being and health.”, said Lisa Samms-Maxwell, Director of Care at Langley Lodge.

About Tochtech Technologies: 

Founded in 2014, Technologies is a digital healthcare company whose mission is to build smart, cost effective senior care solutions that offer caregivers peace-of-mind while enabling seniors to live healthier and safer lives. Tochtech’s philosophy centres around the use of technology to eliminate the risk and sense of disconnect for seniors, especially those living independently. Tochtech has developed first in-class solutions in the areas of stove safety, voice integrated personal aides and a risk predictive smart care platform. Using voice integration, AI and proprietary algorithms, these products enable caregivers to provide proactive, personalized care to extend older adults’ ability to live a healthy and longer life. 



A Caregiver’s Perspective on Using Vericare

By | Tochtech

ChartThe following blog was written by Barbara Kirby, (CPCA) Certified Professional Consultant on Aging, Coach and Navigator of on successfully using an alternative support system for seniors aging in their own homes

Alternative Support System for Seniors Aging in their own Homes
By Barbara Kirby

At the beginning of the Corona Virus pandemic in early 2020, I started receiving calls from seniors and their families asking how they could stay home safely rather than moving into assisted living or long-term care?

CoupleWhat immediately came to mind is one of my favorite tools to support the elderly living at home independently, a motion censored monitoring system app. This is an app that gives adult children the opportunity to check if their parents are ok at any time of the day, or night giving  them immediate peace of mind. At the same time, it provides a sense of autonomy for seniors who might be somewhat vulnerable to the risks of living alone.

The company, Tochtech Technologies, is a Vancouver-based digital health company using combinations of motion sensor technology, voice integration, and AI. They provide solutions to enable seniors to maintain independence at home while offering families, caregivers, or executive managers like me peace of mind. Every morning I check to ensure my client is following their usual routine. Please note that this does not take the place of caregiver/companion support but may enhance how support is coordinated.

Tochtech’s Vericare platform uses motion sensors and AI to track a broad range of my client’s Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), showering, meal preparation, activities around the home, and social interactions. This helps develop an activity and behavior profile unique to my client. Notifications and alerts sent to my cell phone allow me to check for potential falls, the front door being left open, or unusual amounts of time showing no movement in one place, such as the kitchen, living room, bedroom, or bathroom.

Toch Sleepsense can alert us to movements in and out of bed, unusual or undetected heartbeats, or changes in breathing and sleep quality.

Toch Smarturns™ – intelligent knobs for the stove are another tool used. This eliminates the worry of the stove being left unattended for longer than usual, as you will receive an alert. You can make a quick call to mom or dad to ask them to check that the stove is turned off if they are finished using it. This ensures safe cooking. Or you can leave your voice message on the TochTech voice activated system. “Hi Mom, make sure the stove is turned off.”

Reports can show changes in daily or weekly routines as leading indicators when keeping an eye out for an elder’s wellbeing. The charting will indicate more sedentary behaviour over a week or month , alerting you to consider hiring a walking companion. Food is still in the fridge from a week ago; you can see this was not just lack of interest in a particular food, but they are not opening the fridge. Is it time to call in a companion to help with meals?

Vericare has been extremely helpful for me as I witnessed one client’s nighttime habits change suddenly, getting out of bed multiple times at night, moving in and out of the bathroom and wandering in her home. This helped confirm what we suspected as her demeanor started to change as well, becoming uncharacteristically confrontational. She was showing signs of a possible urinary tract infection, now we could get her tested and on to medication if needed.

I had another situation where the system indicated a client had gone into her living room, an unusual place for her to be at that time of the day. There was no movement for over an hour, and I received an alert. I had the neighbour run over and she found my client on the floor, not hurt but unable to get up. We called the paramedics for a lift assist. She wears a fall alert fob around her neck but doesn’t like to push the button as she would rather try to get herself up. This was a soft fall, having sat on a low foot stool to light the fire. She had not been successful at getting up, and the fall was not picked up by the fob to alert paramedics. This happened about 2pm and as I was arriving at 6pm she would have remained on the floor the entire time and she may have been hurt.

Vericare has helped in unusual ways a well. The humidity monitor would indicate when the client was having a shower, this was coming on more often than the twice a week my client was showering. We discovered that every time the laundry was done there would be and excessive amount of humidity in the bathroom as if someone were showering. We had to replace the vent and fan and remind the caregivers to turn on the additional fan in the laundry room to prevent further moisture collection and damage to the fan in the bathroom.

My clients say they appreciate the security of the Vericare System, which in turn enables them to remain in their homes longer and gives families and managers such as myself peace of mind. There are no cameras or microphones; all you need is a good Wi-Fi connection. I was surprised at the reasonable costs for the Tochtech system. Go to SeniorsAdvocate.CA for a unique discount code on any Tochtech Products.

….with care, integrity, and heart in mind for you.

Barbara J. Kirby, (CPCA) Certified Professional Consultant on Aging, Coach and Navigator 604-767-4994

Disclosure: SeniorAdvocate.CA may receive payment from time to time when these products are purchased through this website. Any proceeds go to cover the costs of providing free consults for low-income seniors and their families.


Toch Sleepsense selected for coveted Early Adopter Health Network (EAHN) program funded by OBIO

By | Tochtech

Tochtech is pleased to announce that we have been selected to participate in the highly selective Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO) Early Adopter Health Network (EAHN) Program. “We are proud that OBIO recognizes the value Toch Sleepsense brings to health innovation. We are also delighted to be given this opportunity to work with OBIO through the EAHN program to bring Toch Sleepsense to more long term care and seniors organizations that can benefit from this technology” said Jessica Yang, CEO of Tochtech.

The OBIO EAHN program identifies Canadian companies developing health technologies that are ready for adoption with health organizations (e.g., acute, primary care, long-term care, home and community care) who are committed to the evaluation, procurement and dissemination of innovative healthcare solutions, and partners with them in achieving their goals for success. The program has been developed to support and fund health technology companies and health organizations to:

  • Evaluate prospective health technologies in the real-world setting (for up to 12-months)
  • Widely disseminate and adopt technologies that prove value producing
  • Create showcase sites for the effective adoption of innovative, value producing technologies and demonstrate Canadian technologies to a global market

With Tochtech’s selection into the program, we will be working with Bruyere Continuing Care in Ottawa to validate Toch Sleepsense for use in complex care. More details on this project to follow.

VillageMD Winner

Tochtech Announced as Winner of VillageMD, The Next Big Idea Product Pitch

By | Tochtech

VillageMD WinnerTochtech is thrilled to announce that we were crowned the winner of the VillageMD, The Next Big Idea pitch, held in Las Vegas on Sept. 17 2021. The winning pitch that was delivered by Jessica Yang, CEO of Tochtech on the benefits of Toch Sleepsense won the medical/wellness product pitch that focused on the next big innovation to benefit VillageMD and their clients. Tochtech’s Sleepsense was competing with a number of other impressive products which VillageMD is considering as part of its service offering.

VillageMD is a fast-growing provider of healthcare management services intended for primary care physicians to maximize success. Currently operating in 10 states in the US, the company’s platform gives tools, technology, operations, and staffing support needed to drive the highest quality clinical results across a population, enabling physicians to improve quality, deliver a first-rate patient experience, and lower costs in the communities they serve. Through its subsidiary, Village Medical, VillageMD has become a major provider of value-based primary care services throughout neighborhoods in the U.S. Many of its Village Medical at Walgreens practices are located alongside Walgreens pharmacies. VillageMD further extends access via primary care in the home as well as virtual visits through its telehealth platform.