Assistive Technologies

Can Fall Monitoring Technology Keep Elders Safe?

Falling DownBy Rein Tideiksaar Ph.D., PA-C

The most effective way for elders and/or their caregivers to address the issue of falling is to:

  • First, visit the doctor and find out why a loved one is at risk or why falls are occurring (remember that falls are not normal but may represent an underlying health condition requiring investigation).
  • Second, after fall risk factors and/or causes of falling have been identified, elders and their caregivers can address those risks by taking proper steps to avoid fallsRead the rest of this entry »

Are Canes and Walkers Safe?

Canes+Walkers

By Rein Tideiksaar Ph.D., PA-C

Walking aids (canes and walkers) are commonly used by elders. But are they safe? According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), falls involving walking aids  are responsible or an increasing number of serious injuries (broken hip and pelvic bones) and visits to the emergency room. Canes and walkers help elders to maintain their balance and mobility, yet at the same time they can also be a fall hazard. Seems counterintuitive doesn’t it?  There are several reasons for this inconsistency. Elders who use canes and walkers may be likely to fall because they are: Read the rest of this entry »

10 startups to bring digital health to seniors

By Stephanie Baum (original on MedCityNews.com)

LiftwareSeniors tend to be marginalized when it comes to digital health. Given the fact that AARP’s membership starts at 5o, its membership base spans a wide range of technical ability, so inevitably some will be left out or feel like they’ve been overlooked.  These 10 healthcare startups, which have made the finalist cut for AARP’s Innovation @ 50+ LivePitch, have taken different approaches to practical concerns such as how mobile health apps, services and tracking devices fit into the lives of their users. Among their solutions are apps for caretakers, sensors to track balance and urinary tract infections to catch costly problems early and telepsychology.

Read the rest of this entry »

Technology and the Senior Housing Industry

Is Technology Disrupting or Transforming the Senior Housing Industry?

Visiting GrandmaThis is the question posed by Joseph F Coughlin, Director of the MIT AgeLab, in his article, which is reproduced below with his permission.

The disruptive demographics of an aging society offers a growth opportunity for the senior housing industry. However, technology is also presenting new ways to enable older adults to stay in their own homes rather than move into senior housing options. Yet many of these same technologies, creatively applied, may improve the attractiveness and operational efficiency of senior housing. So is technology a threat or an opportunity for the senior housing industry? The answer is – yes. Read the rest of this entry »

Robotic Device for Paraplegics

TEK Robotic Mobilization DeviceBy Chris Miller (original at HealthWorksCollective)

A new robotic device designed to help those with paraplegia stand and function as if they were walking is expected to hit the market as early as next month.

Known as the Tek Robotic Mobilization Device or Tek RMD, the device debuted in 2012 and is the first of its kind to have been launched by Matia Robotics. Founded in 2006, Matia Robotics strives to improve the lives of people with disabilities by enhancing their health, wellness and level of independence.

Matia Robotics CEO Necati Hacikadiroglu, along with several team members, invented Tek RMD based on the specific needs of those with paraplegia, said Steven Boal, who serves on the Board of Directors.

“As you know, when a person is paralyzed from the waist down, they lose the use of their legs but their upper body still has its full function. So, if you can support their legs in such a way that leaves the hands free, they can do everything they used to do with their upper body,” Boal said, adding, “What they needed was a device that will support their legs without taking up any additional space and that will not restrict or limit their upper body functions. (Hacikadiroglu) developed the TEK Robotic Mobilization Device based on these considerations.” Read the rest of this entry »

A Guide for the Older Caregiver

Elderly woman in wheelchair walking with sonAccording to the Family Caregiver Alliance, a caregiving spouse who is between the ages of 66 and 96 and under excessive mental or emotional strain has a 63 percent greater risk of dying compared to those who are not tasked with caregiving. Family caregivers of all ages are less likely to take care of themselves due to the increased responsibilities and often don’t get enough sleep and exercise, eat poorly, and postpone their own medical appointments. It’s important to remember that taking responsibility for your personal health and well-being will allow you to better take care of your loved one.

If your spouse is contemplating major back surgery, this will entail recovery time you need to be prepared for. If minimally invasive surgery has not yet been considered, it may be an effective alternative. In recent years there have been many advances that have made this a more appealing option for those who have been diagnosed with damaged intervertebral discs, spinal osteoarthritis and other problems that cause back pain. The recovery time for a minimally invasive spine surgery is generally shorter than open-back surgery and is one of its significant advantages. Laser Spine Institute offers some of the latest minimally invasive procedures to patients across the U.S. Visit laserspinelocations.com to determine the nearest location to you and find out if this may be an option that not only helps your spouse find pain relief quicker, but eases the burden on you as well.

No matter what type of procedure your spouse undergoes, following these tips can help make a positive difference during your time as a caregiver. Read the rest of this entry »

Regulations Not Keeping Up with Technology

Health ReformBy Wayne Caswell

The rapid and accelerating pace of tech innovation has profound implications for healthcare delivery & payment, aging, and disability employment, but regulations that support that are spotty or nonexistent.

The good news

“Durable medical equipment” is a class of assistive technology that can be paid for by Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurance plans. Motorized wheel chairs most often fall into this category. Read the rest of this entry »

Artificial Vision

OrCam is a novel assistance device for the visually impaired and the blind. It’s a glasses-mounted sensor that harnesses the power of Artificial Vision to compensate for lost sight. The sensor sees what’s in front of you, understands what information you seek and provides it to you through a bone-conduction earpiece.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tech Tools That Enable the Elderly to Age at Home

Senior Woman Reading BookBy Christopher Wise

Nine out of 10 aging Americans want to stay in their homes as they age, an AARP survey discovered. Furthermore, people who reach age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 19 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Fortunately, advances in technology are available to help these aging Americans remain in their homes for a longer period of time. Let’s take a look at the top tools helping Americans to remain at home while they age:

Remote Pacemaker Monitoring Device

Individuals with pacemakers usually visit their doctors several times each year to have it checked. Some of these individuals can now send data remotely using a standard phone line and a device called a Carelink Home Monitor. Read the rest of this entry »

Beyond Jeopardy!, What is Watson Up To Now?

IBM Watson plays Jeopardy! and wins.By Dr. Martin Kohn, Chief Medical Scientist for IBM Research

Two years ago, IBM’s Watson computer shocked the world when it beat two past grand champions on the TV quiz show Jeopardy!

Watson isn’t playing around anymore.

Watson and the technological leaps forward that made it so revolutionary — the ability to understand human speech, make sense of huge amounts of complex information in split seconds, rank answers based on probability, and learn from its mistakes — are being put to work.

In health care, Watson is helping doctors tailor medical treatment to every patient’s situation in a time when the amount of medical information is doubling every five years. Read the rest of this entry »

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