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 More …

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 More …

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 More …

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 More …

Tech Tools That Enable 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 More …

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 More …

Elders Get a CAPABLE Hand in Shoring Up Home Safety

Jack and Jill, a Mother Goose nursery rhyme

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

CAPABLE, which stands for Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders, is a Baltimore-based project that helps low-income older adults “age in place” with assistance from occupational therapists, nurses and handymen.

The project is being closely watched by Medicaid officials in other states as a way to coordinate care, improve personal function, and avoid pricey and sometimes preventable nursing home admissions. Today, it’s difficult for Medicaid patients to get these services.

With more than $8 million in research money from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the project goes beyond home repair for health. It starts with a full-scale assessment of each participant’s needs.  Read More …

Young Innovators and The Future of Healthcare

Brain InterfaceThis article is about the power of the Internet as a learning and research tool, and the role that young, Internet-savvy innovators are playing as they develop the future of healthcare

Easton LaChappelle

Easton, a 17-year old inventor, spoke recently at TEDxMileHigh about his 3D printing & animatronics project and the future of prosthetic & animatronic limbs. He started this work at age 14 and used the Internet to research and learn about electronics & sensor technologies, programming & modeling software, 3D printing & industrial design, and wireless networking. He’s now living in Houston and working at NASA on robotics projects. Read More …

Apple promotes Accessibility Apps

Deaf FaceTime blockedType on your touchscreen with braille. Hear what your camera sees. Learn to sign.

Apple products are already simple, intuitive, and easy to use. They also have accessibility features built in – for people with special needs. And with third party assistive technologies, Apple helps even more people do more in more ways. Learn about the company’s accessibility features in OS X (for Mac) and iOS (for iPhone, iPad & iPod touch).

This article highlights some of the third party apps that Apple is promoting and concludes with a short list of related articles on mHealthTalk.

Vision

BrailleTouch lets you type using braille right on your iPhone or iPod touch screen. Use a unique split keyboard based on the traditional six-key braille keyboard, and type text messages and email more quickly and accurately. Read More …

Don’t Look Back – the inspiring story of Danny & Shelly

Don't Look Back. Shelly now walks a mile three days a week using the gait trainer shown here.Danny Long became a 24×7 caretaker for his wife, Shelly, after a botched spinal cord operation in 2008. The surgery was supposed to improve the failing sense of touch in her hands and feet, but instead it left her a quadriplegic with no feeling at all, except the severe pain in her back.  Afterwards, no doctor would predict that she could ever walk again. But today, with help from her friends and faith, and the loving support of her creative and supportive husband, Shelly walks a mile every three days using the large gait trainer shown.

At some point, Danny decided to document her progress and their therapy journey in a series of videos. One showed how he adapted an old exercise bike to work for someone in a wheelchair. Another showed home-build parallel bars that Shelly used to practice standing and walking. And a third showed the walking harness he made to establish weight bearing safely. There are other videos on his Vimeo page, but the one I include below is a summary of their story.

Read More …

Mind control of helicopters now. What might be next?

Mind control of robot helicopterIn this amazing feat of engineering, a person’s thoughts are used to navigate a robot, which makes us wonder about other applications in the future.

Using a brain-computer interface developed by University of Minnesota biomedical engineering professor Bin He, several students learned to steer a robotic quadcopter with just their thoughts. As shown in the video, they navigated the craft around a gym, making it turn, rise, dip, and even sail through a ring.

Similar technology may someday allow disabled people to regain speech or mobility lost due to disease or injury. They may be able to control a variety of devices with just their thoughts, including lights, TV remotes, artificial limbs and wheelchairs. The solution is completely noninvasive: brain waves (EEG) are picked up by electrodes in a cap worn on the scalp, not requiring a chip implanted in the brain.

A more detailed report on the technology is available in the Journal of Neural Engineering, and the video is shown below. Read More …

I-Limb: Bionic hand controlled by iPhone app

CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows you the latest in prosthetic technology: bionic hands controlled from an iPhone app. (from YouTube)

 

Related Articles

The Wheelchair Gym

Do you have a favorite product to tell others about? Here’s one I learned about from Richard Marcantonio. He’s 83 and designed an interesting piece of exercise equipment for mildly to severely disabled individuals. Special grips allow those with conditions such as Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy to regain improved movement and strength in core-muscles groups.

From Richard: “The Wheelchair Gym was design for the growing wheelchair or power-chair population. It’s an undeserved group, and to that end I developed this simple, user-friendly piece of equipment called The Wheelchair Gym.”

Learn more at http://www.lotechusa.com/

Bionic Eye Gives Hope for the Blind

The Bionic Eye will improve over time with increased resolution.

The Bionic Eye will improve over time with increased resolution. (simulation)

Dr. Mark Humayun was going to be a doctor all along, but when a family member lost her eyesight, he soon began his journey as an innovator. “When I was going through medical school, my grandmother went blind and there was really no cure for her,” the Duke University graduate says. “And it made me rethink my career and focus more on how to restore sight to those who are going blind.”

Now a professor at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Humayun has invented the Argus Ocular Implant, which allows blind patients to see again. According a press release on the school’s website, the intraocular retinal prosthesis “restores some visual capabilities for patients whose blindness is caused by Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). RP is an inherited retinal degenerative disease that affects about 100,000 people nationwide.”

Read the rest of the story and comment at Huffington Post.

Future implications

Read More …

Study: Vision Loss and Assistive Technologies Vary Widely

Magnify ThisLow Vision Survey Results

Guest article by Jared Smith

Results of WebAIM’s recent survey for those with low vision are now available at http://webaim.org/projects/lowvisionsurvey/. A few highlights are found below. The results of our motor disabilities survey will be available soon.

This data underscores that users with low vision are very diverse. The range of vision loss varies greatly, as do the assistive technologies used. The vast majority of respondents use multiple assistive technologies, ranging from screen readers to simply changing text sizes in browsers. There is very high keyboard use in this population, strengthening arguments for ensuring keyboard accessibility. Read More …

TEK Robotic Mobilization Device

TEK Robotic Mobilization DeviceHere’s a wheelchair alternative that may eventually save on the cost of some of the more expensive home modifications such as widening doorways. It’s a new concept that will surely improve but already holds much promise.

According to its website, Tek RMD, provides the opportunity of movement for people with paraplegia by enabling them to independently stand up in a completely upright position with correct posture, facilitating their movement and comfortable completion of their daily tasks indoors, such as in the home, office and shopping mall. Tek RMD is not an alternative to wheelchairs, it is a totally new concept, a new platform. Read More …

Does AI provide a Competitive Advantage?

Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence

As smartphones get smarter and speech recognition apps like SIRI and Google Now learn more about you personally and start acting on your behalf, offering information or suggestions before you even think to ask, what will that learned knowledge be worth? What if the knowledge is about you personally — your health needs and medications, your personal traits and preferences and habits, what makes you happy and makes you feel good, or what makes you money? Will AI developers be able to build new barriers-to-entry and gain a significant competitive advantage by treating collected knowledge as proprietary, making it hard to justify a shift to competing products?

Read More …

Jim’s Place, an Assistive Technology Lab at St. Ambrose

Photo shows a plaque on the side of Jims Place at St. Ambrose University honoring Jim O'RourkeSt. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa has a unique Assistive Technology Lab that’s doing some special things to help people with different disabilities. It’s part of a Masters in Occupational Therapy curriculum that teaches students how to improve lives, and I’m happy to feature the program in this article and its attached video.

Assistive technology is anything used to increase, maintain, or improve our functional capabilities, and we all use assistive technology in one form or another to improve our lives. Examples include eye glasses & contacts, hearing aids, remote controls, cordless phones, computers, bicycles, cars, etc. When these items, tools if you will, are designed for use by anyone regardless of age or ability, we use the term Universal Design, but some of the tools are designed for special needs, such as the wheelchair designed for someone who can’t walk, or the smartphone apps designed for people who are blind. Read More …

What the Fork – $100?

Why do we need a smart fork, you may ask? Well, here’s the hype…

Studies show that people who eat slower eat 11% fewer calories and digest food better, so HAPILABS introduced 2 devices at CES: HAPIfork and HAPItrack. The dishwasher safe HAPIfork got immense press coverage, including articles in Consumer Reports and Bon Appetit, as well as placement on the Stephen Colbert Show (see video below).

This latest electronic gadget functions like a friendly shock collar by paying attention to when you eat, how many bites you take, and the intervals between each bite, vibrating to tell you when you’re eating too fast or too much. The goal is to encourage you to slow down, chew your food, improve your digestion, transform the way you eat, and… enjoy life more. HAPIfork then communicates with your smartphone so you can track your eating habits or share them with friends online. Read More …