A Passion for Quality Care
SimplyHome founders Drue and Allen Ray began providing support for individuals with disabilities and senior adults in 1989. While their goal of empowering families and caregivers has remained constant, in 2003 they realized that new technology could change everything. Enabling technology could dramatically improve the quality of services while reducing costs. The Rays developed the SimplyHome System and have been expanding their offerings and services ever since. Under the Rays’ leadership, today we continue our mission of empowering individuals through transformative care models and innovative technology. SimplyHome serves clients throughout the United States and Canada from its offices in North Carolina and Wisconsin.
Drue and Allen Ray draw on decades of experience working to empower senior adults and people with disabilities to live a life of their choosing. Since Drue was a young girl, she had a dream to create independent living options for people with disabilities. Drue's advocacy work has contributed to legislation that has set the standard for residential service delivery.
Beginning in the late 1980s, the Rays operated several companies throughout the Midwest and the South dedicated to serving the elderly, veterans, and physically disabled persons as well as children and adults with developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and mental health issues. Their companies were committed to providing quality care with individuals requiring supports, services and facilities through Vocational Opportunities, Supported Home Care, Adult Family Homes, Community-Based Residential Facilities, ICFs/MR, Assisted Living Facilities, Skilled Nursing Facilities, and various independent living supports. However, during this time Allen and Drue were growing in their conviction that there were just not enough options for people who needed support but did not want to live in a group home or state-run facility.
The Lightbulb Moment
One day Allen visited a resident at a nursing home. He asked her how she liked living in her new assisted living community. She told him that she liked the food, the care, and the environment. But she also felt something was missing: “Everything here is as good as I could possibly expect, but frankly, I’d rather simply be at home.” This was the moment that the idea for SimplyHome was born. The Ray family started a journey to empower people to maintain independent lives in their own homes.
An Opportunity Presents Itself
In the early 2000s, the state of Wisconsin closed several institutions. The closure displaced 154 people who were left with few or no options for care. Drue encouraged Allen to use his engineering skills to develop a solution that would allow individuals to live in community settings.
Despite initial resistance from the state and other policymakers, the Rays persisted in their quest for a solution, meeting with each family that was being affected by the closure. The families themselves were able to push the appeal forward, and in 2004, the vast majority of the individuals were able to move into community settings that integrated SimplyHome technology to enable them to live independently.
A decade later, the individuals in the Wisconsin pilot program continue to live in the community, and each year they have a picnic and a shrimp boil to celebrate the opportunity to live as they choose. Many of these individuals and their families continue to be in awe of the independent living skills they have gained. The Wisconsin program continues to save millions per year today; the average daily rate decreased from $236/day in 2004 to less than $100/day in 2011.
Our Commitment to Innovation
By utilizing SimplyHome technology, Innovative Services, Inc., was the first company to achieve national accreditation (CARF) for using technology to support independent living and aging in place. Over the years, SimplyHome has expanded the interpretation of the term "assistive technology" within the social services sphere, and taught CARF how to apply this interpretation. SimplyHome now consults with states to help write legislation specifically allowing the use of technology within that state's accepted Medicaid parameters.
SimplyHome was featured on ABC Television Network's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in 2011. SimplyHome implemented and customized different forms of technology to assist Brian Keefer, a young man who was paralyzed from the neck down, enabling him to become more independent in his daily life. Read more about Brian on our blog.
In 2016, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs awarded SimplyHome the Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology (SAHAT) grant. The purpose of this grant is to develop new technologies that will enhance veterans' and service members' ability to live in their own specially adapted homes.
Today, our companies continue to design and implement person-centered technology solutions for independent living.