Stratus Video Call Center is like a Virtual Waiting Room

Stratus Video Call Center(Reposted — originally published 11/9/2011) As healthcare providers gear up for telehealth, they’ll face new issues such as 24×7 remote monitoring and the need to support virtual doctor visits by telepresence over the Internet. I wrote before here and here, there must be compatibility among different video systems, including the enterprise class-systems in hospitals and consumer-class systems in PC & mobile devices.

Until today, the two prominent solutions I knew about  were Vidyo and a Lifesize Communications technology called ClearSea. Both are cloud-based services that translate between incompatible video systems, but now there’s another option.

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When Caregiver Robots Come for Grandma

Failing the Third Machine Age: When [Caregiver] Robots Come for GrandmaWhen Robots Come for Grandma is a long and thought-provoking article by Zeynep Tufekci, published in 2014. It builds a case against “caregiver robots,” arguing that they are both inhumane and economically destructive. She got me thinking, and I hope this has the same effect on you.

I would have liked to add my own perspectives and contrarian view with links to related articles here at Modern Health Talk. I’d start with Will Robots Take Over in Health Care? Unfortunately there was no space to add comments, so I use her article as a basis for mine and hope you’ll share your thoughts in the space I give below. Read More …

How to stay connected with parents from far away

When mom got dementia, I was stuck overseas.

When mom got dementia, I was stuck overseas. (Photo credit: Chad King, https://www.flickr.com/photos/chdwckvnstrsslhm/208884800/sizes/z/, Some rights reserved)

By Daniel Lewis

Following my mom’s diagnosis of dementia, I got stuck. I was in shock and had no idea what to do since I was working abroad. I couldn’t leave my job, my kids and my home overseas to come back and take care of her, and I felt incredibly guilty for that. I have no siblings and no relatives that could help, so I had to find a solution. Read More …

Subject: Jail versus Nursing Home

Jail versus Nursing Home

By Patrick Joseph Roden, PhD at aginginplace.com LLC (original at AginginPlace.com)

One of the many lessons that one learns in prison is, that things are what they are and will be what they will be. (Oscar Wilde)

My colleague, Emory Baldwin AIA, sent this thought-provoking piece his father shared with him; after contemplating the merits of institutional living. This will get you thinking about how society treats its “interned.”

Subject: Jail vs. Nursing Home

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Let’s put the seniors in jail, and the criminals in a nursing home. Read More …

Getting Disability Benefits as a Caretaker

Getting Disability Benefits as a Caretaker

By Bryan Mac Murray, Outreach Specialist, Social Security Disability Help (Not affiliated with Social Security Administration)

Applying for Disability on Behalf of Someone Else

The Social Security Administration (SSA) knows that disability applicants are not always physically or mentally able to complete the application themselves. For this reason, there are processes in place that allow a caretaker to apply for Social Security disability benefits for someone else. Read More …

Smart Elder Orphans Prepare for Aging Stages

Asian woman is an Elderly Orphan living alone but with a plan for future care needs. She's an example of how to prepare for aging stages.

Image source: Huffington Post

By Carol Marak, Aging Advocate and Senior Care Contributor (original at Huffington Post)

This article about “Elder Orphans” is the second in a series, describing how to prepare for aging stages by first knowing what they are. If you missed the first article, here’s your chance.

I got interested in creating and sharing my own plan with Huffington Post readers after reading umpteen studies of senior isolation and how the harmful effects devastate our mental and physical health. Living alone suits me but isolation certainly does not. That’s why at age 64, I think a lot about my latter years. But doing that is a challenge, and even the renown geriatrician, Dr. Bill Thomas, admits to the misconceptions of aging.

Humans have a limited ability to predict accurately or even imagine the needs of their future self. That’s especially true when the future has scary possibilities.[EDITOR: See my collection of Famous False Predictions.]

However, if I don’t want to be stuck in suburbia away from social connections, an amped-up imagination is needed, with helpful tips from readers like you.  Read More …

Elder Orphans living alone need to avoid social isolation

Seniors living alone and socially isolated are Elder Orphans.

Source: Huffington Post

By Carol Marak, Aging Advocate and Senior Care Contributor (original at Huffington Post)

Seniors living alone and socially isolated are Elder Orphans. The deeper my age propels into my senior years, long-term care planning cannot delay. This is the first of a series on how I plan to avoid the problems of elder orphans. Like most over 60 years of age, we haven’t planned well, and adults like me who live without a spouse or children cannot afford to put it off. Even my parents delayed making arrangements. But they had four children they could rely on for care. I don’t, nor does my sister or many of my friends. But since I work with aging experts at SeniorCare.com, there’s no excuse to let the loose ends dangle. Read More …

What Caregiving Looks Like, Really

Caring for RobertaAccording to AARP, more than 40 million Americans are unpaid caregivers for elderly family members or friends. On average they spend more than 24 hours a week providing this service, with the value of their time alone estimated at $470 billion a year, and that’s before considering the impact on their career advancement from taking time off, or their own health from the added stress.

To put that $470B into perspective, it’s more than total Medicaid spending ($449B), and close to the annual sales of the four largest U.S. tech firms combined (Apple, Hewlett Packard, IBM and Microsoft), which came to $429B in 2013.

The following six short videos, each just 3 minutes or less, show what caregiving looks like. They’re from a contest sponsored by AARP and the Ad Council to feature the care given by friends and family. But what about those seniors who don’t have a support system? With changing demographics, their numbers are increasing, even as there are fewer left to provide care.

Figaro

This first video, which shows friends taking on the role of “family” caregivers, earned AARP’s top prize.

In the Moment

In this 2nd place video, the brother and sister team of Jeff & Patti work together to help their 92 year-old mom Lulu live in the moment even as she struggles with dementia and the loss of short-term memory.

The Baton – Kaypri Marcus

Kaypri speaks of how thankful she is to have the opportunity to finish her mother’s autobiography about being a southern white woman involved in the civil rights movement. This reminds me of the importance of leaving a legacy and capturing your story while you can. (See related articles here).

The Van

Donating an unneeded van was a random act of kindness, and an unexpected blessing, for this family since their own minivan often needed repair and was on its last leg with more than 270,000 miles.

Roberta’s Home

92 year-old Roberta’s daughter and grandson moved in to help her stay in the home she designed and built. Barbara’s role reversed from daughter to caregiver, and Blake formed a much deeper relationship with his grandmother.

It Takes a Family

This short shows what can happen when a wife becomes a caregiver and then needs to rely on additional help from her children and their spouses.

Share Your Story

I love how personal each of these stories are and would like to hear yours in the comments below or via email, and with your permission I’d like to share it as an article here, with whatever photos or videos you provide.

The Financial Costs Of Moving Home

The Financial Costs of Moving Home

By JP Adams

Many family caregivers consider moving close to a loved one or parent as they become older. There they can help with cleaning, getting groceries, and driving to doctors’ appointments. Most importantly, this gives them and their loved ones an opportunity to connect.

At the same time, the decision to move home can be challenging. I often hear mixed feelings from families – “I’m not sure if it’s something I want to do,” OR “I want to be with her but I don’t really like the area where she lives.”

One thing is overwhelmingly clear.  Moving home is a significant financial decision. There are costs and benefits.  It’s important to go through each and make a rational decision.  Read More …

Caregiver Frustration to Fulfillment (Mkt. Research)

Caregiver Frustration Survey Reveals Array of Emotions Caregivers Feel in Their Varied Roles

Emotions and the Caregiving Role

Emotions and the Caregiving Role (from CareGiverSupport.org)

By David Inns, CEO of GreatCall

It’s inevitable: our parents and loved ones will get older. It’s also likely they will need care from us. We know this, yet our role continues to be shockingly difficult. We struggle, in part, because there is no set of Caregiver Rules to read or follow, let alone a map of where to go for resources and support.

A recent study of more than 1,000 family caregivers conducted by the independent research firm Cognise for my active aging technology company GreatCall, shows that nearly one-third struggle in their caregiving role and want tools to help them and their family members.  Read More …

The 10 Best Cities for Technology-Assisted Living

by Christin Camacho, PR & Content Manager, REDFIN, a next-gen real estate brokerage

The National Conference of State Legislatures and AARP Public Policy Institute report that nearly 90 percent of people over the age of 65 want to stay in their home for as long as possible. [See below for brief summary.] Fortunately, in most cases, they won’t have to move as they age. According to Seniorly, a service that helps people find senior care, the majority of seniors do NOT need to move into a nursing home. They simply need some care equivalent to what they would find in an assisted living community, which includes assistance with daily activities like meals, medication, housekeeping, bathing and transportation.

And these days, there’s an app for that. An elderly woman can take an Uber to her friend’s home, find someone to walk her dog through Rover.com, schedule her lawn to be mowed or her house to be cleaned through Porch, get groceries delivered through Instacart, and schedule a professional caregiver to assist with bathing, meal preparation and other daily living activities through CareLinx. Or, for those seniors who aren’t tech-savvy, friends and family can use these technology-based services to arrange care for them. Read More …

Millions of free iPads for Seniors

Can Apple and IBM change Health Care?

Ruth Schoon learns to use the iPad

Ruth Schoon describes how she now uses an iPad to follow her great grandchildren from afar.

That was the title of a recent Forbes article that prompted me to comment, and my comment is the basis of today’s post. Basically, it was reported that IBM and Apple are partnering with Japan Post, that country’s largest health- and life-insurance company, to provide millions of free iPads for seniors with the aim of improving their health and their lives.

My Response

The Apple iPad is truly an amazing device for seniors. When they’re shown how to use it, the benefits go way beyond just extending life (i.e. more revenue from premiums for insurance companies) or improving health (less expense from claims).


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The Best Smartphone Apps for Caregivers

WebMD MobileBy Glenn Randolph

Caregivers have a demanding job that can be downright overwhelming at times. These days, many caregivers are using modern mobile smartphone apps to do their jobs more effectively. Smartphone apps can be used for countless purposes, such as scheduling, looking up pertinent health information, identifying pills and so much more. What are the best smartphone apps for caregivers? Here are a few of the best to consider using.

This list should help you cut through the clutter of over 1.2 million different apps listed for iOS alone by July 2014. 240 of them were specific to medicine or health care. Read More …

Caretakers harness the Internet of Things

What Caretakers Can Do RIGHT NOW to Harness the Power of the Internet of Things

By Beth Kelly

SThe Internet of Thingsocial technology and home automation have moved upstream. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, nearly one-third of seniors own a tablet or e-book reader. Almost 50 percent of seniors own high-speed Internet access and browse the Web at least 3-5 times per week.

These typing, Skyping, texting seniors are the next beneficiaries of the Internet of things (IoT), the growing network of WiFi-enabled appliances, wearable sensors, automated security systems and other connected devices. For instance, researchers at UCLA are investigating how to use WearSens, a piezoelectric necklace, to remotely monitor breathing patterns of recovering surgery patients. BrainAid offers the PEAT smartphone app to help seniors with memory loss live independently with scheduling assistance.

The revolution is now. Here’s how to get involved. Read More …

Senior Housing Options Compared

Senior Housing Options from HelpGuide.orgarticle by Perry Hua with edits by Wayne Caswell

The goal when choosing housing is to pick an option that best matches your financial, physical, medical, and social needs. The earlier you assess your current and future needs, and the more you know about the options available, the easier it is to make a decision. Here’s a list of options showing their advantages and costs, starting with the most expensive first. Read More …

The Cost of Aging in America

 

Income levels for aging Americans are increasing,
but not as quickly as “The Cost of Aging in America.”

The infographic below was produced by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. It explores the serious financial burdens faced by aging Americans, their loved ones, and industry — as well as steps our health care system might take to counteract this trend. I gladly feature it today to complement other articles here about health reform, public policy, and the future of healthcare.

Some highlights:

  • The number of seniors 85 and older will triple by 2050, an important statistic because these are people who need the most expensive care.
  • The cost of healthcare in America is already over $3 trillion/year, and that doesn’t even include the roughly $450 billion provided by unpaid family members.
  • Paid caregivers earn just $18-20K per year, and while demand for their services will likely double by 2022, their wages likely won’t increase much.

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Helping Seniors Stay Warm in Winter

Click image to see related article at CareGiver Partnership.

Winter weather can mean dangerous conditions for older people, both inside and outside the home, so this infographic by Homecare Together offers helpful tips on how to keep sufficiently warm and keep the heat inside. Afterwards is a text transcript for people who use screen readers.

In addition to helping seniors stay warm, keep an eye out for symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a type of depression that occurs during winter when there’s less natural sunlight, and keeping curtains drawn to keep in the warmth can amplify the effect. It’s often treated with light therapy using products offered by Intelligent Sleep. Read More …

Music as Medicine

I’ll be home for Christmas

Henry has Alzheimer’s and lives in a nursing home, and is mostly unresponsive and depressed, but watch what happens when he’s introduced to music. The part of the brain that recognizes music is usually one of the last parts affected by Alzheimer’s disease; but not only does the music awaken that part; it improves Henry’s communication and memory too. He remembers the words AND the artist.

Having seen this reaction before, I became interested in the healing powers of music and met Sean Maher, an award-winning musician and music therapist at Intelligent Sleep who uses vibration, sound and binaural beats to help people entrain their brains to reduce stress, focus, or improve creativity. I also discovered Lisa’s article below and got permission to repost it.

Music as Medicine

Bad to the Bone

Click on image to hear George Thorogood’s classic, “Bad to the Bone” on YouTube.

by Lisa Suennen

It happens every time. I hear “Bad to the Bone” on the radio and suddenly all is right with the world. I love music and I have learned that if I choose the correct genre and tempo  I can improve a depressed state or calm a hyper one. I have song lists on my iPod called Cranky and Stressed, F the World, and Happiness, all designed around my various moods. Music can have a profound affect on my state of mind. I think this is true for most people, actually.

The therapeutic value of music has long been known to the medical world. Famed neuropsychologist Oliver Sacks used music to engage his patients (this was dramatized in the movie The Music Never Stops, where a brain-damaged patient is able to recall memories otherwise lost when he hears the favorite music of his youth). And I saw an article this week, courtesy of my BFF, which stated this:

Doctor playing the violin“One hundred years ago, Pennsylvanian surgeon Evan Kane penned a brief letter to JAMA in which he declared himself a rigorous proponent of the ‘benefic [sic] effects of the phonograph within the operating room.’ To Kane, it was an optimal means of ‘calming and distracting the patient from the horror of their situation.’ Of course this was before effective anesthesia so anything would have helped.” Read More …

Curing The Holiday Blues

Ho Ho ChristmasEDITOR: We wish you all a Joyous Christmas, but in case your mood is just Ho Ho, this article may help.

A Long Slide Home

By Douglas LaBier, Ph.D. (Huffington Post)

That’s how a man in his 50s described his life to me: “It’s my long slide home.” He was feeling morose, anticipating the long holiday period from Thanksgiving through the New Year and what he knew it would arouse in him.

I often see the holiday blues strike people during this time of multiple holidays (Hanukkah and Christmas; as well as Ashurah, Bodhi Day, and Kwanzaa). The tendency to reflect and take stock of one’s life often triggers sadness, regret, or depression — especially during midlife.

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