Dementia Phone Service Provider teleCalm Wins $100K Prize for Start-up Development

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by Mary Chapman |

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Landline-style phone service provider teleCalm will use a $100,000 award to advance its new phone service for dementia patients, which helps keep people with Alzheimer’s and related conditions safely connected with family and friends.

The Diamond Award was presented by the Austin, Texas offices of MassChallenge, a U.S.-based global network of zero-equity startup accelerators that helps fund new businesses that are positioned to grow and have a positive societal impact. The six Diamond awardees, including teleCalm, were chosen from 689 applicants.

In addition to helping facilitate and maintain social connections, teleCalm touts itself as being able protect against elder fraud and phone-related stress.

“teleCalm’s phone service solves telephone problems increasingly faced by caregivers and seniors with dementia,” said Tavis Schriefer, teleCalm co-founder and CEO, in a press release. “Customers tell us that teleCalm provides life-changing benefits as challenges of dementia surface and progress.”

People with dementia often inadvertently cause phone problems. For example, they may make inappropriate emergency (911) calls, which can strain department resources and result in family fines.

Elder fraud also is particularly common among those with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, rendering seniors particularly vulnerable to financial loss. More than 70% of elder fraud involves telephone calls and solicitations. According to teleCalm customer data, more than 62% of attempted calls pose such risk.

These issues are expected to worsen as the number of senior citizens living with Alzheimer’s or dementia is projected to rise from 8 million people now to more than 10 million by 2025, the company said.

Whether a patient lives at home, or is in an assisted-living program or memory care community, caregivers can use teleCalm to help prevent telephone-related problems.

The service curbs repeat dialing and allows the setting of customized “quiet hours” to manage incoming and outgoing calls. teleCalm offers scam protection by blocking known spammers and telemarketers, the company said. It also enhances call blocking through approved-caller settings, and prevents outgoing calls to television shopping networks and similar phone numbers. Other benefits include 911 call re-routing, in which potentially inappropriate emergency calls are sent to memory care and assisted living staff.

A caregiver phone application (app) gives family member or other caretakers the ability to manage services remotely. No existing phone or internet service is required, although teleCalm can be used with the patient’s existing home phone. Visit this site for more information about the company’s offerings.

teleCalm’s services can be tailored to disease progression, with additional features added as they may become necessary, the company said.

According to MassChallenge, its more than 2,300 users have to date raised more than $5 billion in funding, generated more than $2.7 billion in revenue, and created more than 136,000 total jobs.

“MassChallenge provided an awesome experience and has already helped us impact more families in need,” Schriefer said. “This award expands our reach and fuels our passion to deliver dignity to seniors and caregivers, and improve their quality of life.”

Award funds will go toward a mix of teleCalm awareness efforts and service enhancements. The company serves customers across the U.S. through various distribution channels.

In addition to Austin and Houston, Texas, locations, MassChallenge has offices in Boston, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.