Make Remote Monitoring Simple

Evermind MonitorsEvermind has a cool idea and product that in my mind can make remote monitoring simple and less intrusive, tracking deviations from everyday activities such as making coffee, watching TV, or turning on lamps.

Details are still scarce since the company has just secured funding to commercialize the product, but I see real potential as long as the cost of the device and monitoring service is reasonable. Watch the video below for more information or read the funding announcement at MEDCITY News. Read More …

How to Help Elderly Overcome “Drug” Addiction

Creative Commons/Borya

Creative Commons/Borya

By Rohit Agarwal

Recent studies and theories show that elderly citizens of all countries seem to be affected by what appears to be a rebellious nature to prevent themselves from becoming delusional or losing control of themselves. This is dangerous not because of their change in nature but because of the reason behind this change, because leading studies have also shown that the elderly face a new trouble: drug addiction.

Read More …

How Much does Caregiving Cost?

Nearly Half of Family Caregivers Spend
Over $5,000 Per Year on Caregiving Costs

30% Spend More than $10,000 Per Year, 21% Don’t Know How Much They Spend

Caregiver Costs

San Mateo, CA; September 15 2014 — Almost half (46%) of family caregivers spend more than $5,000 per year on caregiving expenses, according to a new Caring.com report. A family caregiver is defined as someone who takes care of a family member or friend, but is unpaid for their services. Their caregiving expenses include out-of-pocket costs for medications, medical bills, in-home care, nursing homes and more. Read More …

101 MiniTrends in Health Care

Watch for Trends Ahead

This image is from MiniTrends, a book by John Vanston that I strongly endorse. I’ve known John for years and did consulting work for his company, Technology Futures. His book inspired my Modern Health Talk vision. (Click image to see book. Go to end to hear about the MiniTrends conference.)

“What the Hell is happening to health care?”

“And is it an Opportunity or a Threat?”

Insights by Wayne Caswell, Founder of Modern Health Talk.

An awful lot has changed in just the last few years and even more will change in the near future, with the aim of reducing (or at least containing) our health care costs. What’s behind these MiniTrends, and what is their implication for providers, payers and consumers? That’s the $1.5 trillion question. Here I talk about many, many MiniTrends–surely you can find 101 of them if you look! 

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” – Charles Darwin

That quote is important, because 429 of the original Fortune 500 companies [1955] are no longer in business today. That’s a scary thought for those sitting at the top of the healthcare mountain, because they know they must adapt to the megatrend of health reform and Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) or die. And they are looking down with fear at the hungry competitors who are already exploiting the many related minitrends, because for them these are times of great opportunity.

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Convincing Mom to Exercise

 

Convincing Mom to Exdercise

Image credit: Healthways FIT

Since the day you were born, you’ve never won a debate with your mom. It didn’t work when you wanted that G.I. Joe. It didn’t work when you wanted to take a late night ride in Tommy Lombardo’s Corvette. And it didn’t work when you thought replacing your bedroom door with a bead curtain was a good idea.

But convincing mom to hit the gym is a fight you have to win. And here’s all the ammunition you’ll need to counter her arguments. Read More …

Exploring New Health Technologies

Monitoring Vital SignsBy Beth Kelly

There are more new health technologies on the market than ever before. Mobile phones and tablets provide health apps, many of which are capable of interacting with wearable fitness tracking devices. Trackers and their accompanying apps, which can be used to measure heart rate and steps per day, take medical awareness a step further than programs that simply focus on caloric intake.

EDITOR: While the accuracy of many of these wearable devices disappoint medical professionals, the simple ability to track progress, no matter how accurate, is a big step forward. And accuracy will improve over time with better sensor technology.

Managing diabetes and other medical illnesses, losing weight, and obtaining a higher level of health has never been easier as a result of the new technologies. Read More …

Four Health Monitoring Apps for Caretakers

Health Monitoring Apps

According to a survey by Manhattan Research, some 95 million Americans used their smartphones in 2013 to find health information or to use it as a healthcare tool. That’s an increase of 20 million from the previous year but just the tip of the iceberg. According to information published by the FDA, this market is exploding, and they expect to see 500 million users worldwide using health care apps by 2015, growing to 50% of the more than 3.4 billion smartphone and tablet users by 2018.

The Manhattan research revealed that for 38% of mobile phone users, their device has already become essential for locating health and medical information. This is good news for caretakers who are charged with monitoring a senior’s health because of the many outstanding, cutting edge apps available.

With some 7,000 health & wellness apps for the Apple iPhone and iPad alone, deciding which to download may seem overwhelming, as we described two two years ago in How to Find Mobile Apps for Home Health Care. These four, however, can provide you with a good start. Read More …

Top Home Tech for Seniors [INFOGRAPHIC]

Home Tech for Seniors and Caregivers infographic courtesy of Home Access Products.

With innovations in health care, medicine, and nutrition, it’s no surprise that Americans are getting older. By 2030, nearly 20% of Americans will be over 65– and nearly 90% of them want to stay in their own homes as they age.

As aging in place continues to rise, seniors are increasingly looking towards technology to stay safe and connected. From personal alert systems to cell phones and tablets, seniors are embracing technology and all of its benefits. Whether aging seniors are tech-savvy, or prefer simple ways of communicating at home, these products and services can assist seniors with safety, entertainment, health/wellness, communication, and assistance. Read More …

When Robots Come for Grandma

Failing the Third Machine Age: When Robots Come for GrandmaWhen Robots Come for Grandma is a long and thought-provoking article by Zeynep Tufekci that 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 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.

I hope you’ll share your own thoughts in the space I give below. Read More …

How Good Sleep Benefits Seniors

This article first appeared on Senior Care Corner, another resource for family caregivers of seniors.

InsomniaSleep eludes many of us as we age, seemingly more and more as the years pass.

We might tend to wake early or not sleep as deeply. Women who are experiencing extreme temperature changes chalk it up to the change and try to deal with it. Others just accept sleep deprivation as a normal part of aging.

Perhaps your aging loved one has even told you, “I didn’t do anything today to tire me out, why should I sleep OK?” I have heard that from many older adults through the years.

The truth of the matter is we all need a good, deep, restorative sleep every night to stay healthy as we age. The amount and the quality of our sleep does matter, regardless of our age.

When we are sleep deprived our health suffers, including our mood, energy levels and now we are learning — our cognition. Read More …

How a Specialist Nurse can Help with Dementia

By Rohit Agarwal

Dementia is a series of mental illnesses, sadly most of which are seen as incurable. One of the most commonly found dementia case is Alzheimer’s, which comprises of about 75% of all dementia patients. Dementia has a direct effect on a person’s ability to think and reason. It also affects the patient’s short term memory and basic problem solving. It is thus important for nurses involved with the care of dementia patients to be well aware of the patient’s needs and should be able to handle all situations without making the patient feel the loss of control. Here are some tips for a Specialist Dementia Nurse while taking care of patients.

nurse

Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/felbrycollege/

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How Tech makes Long Distance Caregiving Easier

Caregiving 2.0:
How Technology Makes Long Distance Caregiving Easier

By Michelle Seitzer

Stethoscope on a Computer KeyboardToday’s guest post is by Melody Wilding, a licensed medical social worker (LMSW) and Community Manager for eCaring.com.

It’s 11 a.m. Two meetings down: what’s next? Maybe check emails or tackle the pile of papers growing on your desk?

Just as you’re hitting a stride, the phone rings. It’s Mom … and something is wrong. She fell this morning. Read More …

The Underestimated Caregiver Burden

The number of family caregivers is declining.By Henry Moss (original at American Society on Aging)

Caregiver burden is emotional and subjective. We try to measure it by looking at rates of depression and anxiety disorders in the caregiver population, and at the seriousness of these disorders. We know the highest rates of emotional burden and the deepest levels of depression are felt by caregivers who experience entrapment—a sense of powerlessness, aloneness and suffering associated with long periods of caregiving for the most difficult elders, especially those with dementia. We are aware of the many studies showing how excess stress and emotional burden can impact a caregiver’s health, finances and family life, creating even more anxiety and depression.

We already know that the 45- to 64-year-old population will grow only 1 percent between 2010 and 2030, while the age 80 and older baby boomer population increases by 79 percent. As the age 80 and older baby boomer cohort grows, the number of family caregivers available to assist them drops dramatically, from 7.5 in 2010 to 2.9 in 2050, a more than 50 percent decline. Alarm bells have been going off and researchers and advocates have been busy estimating the impact on the long-term-care system. Read More …

US Healthcare Spending to hit $3.8 Trillion in 2014

Dan Munro wrote that annual U.S. healthcare spending will hit $3.8 trillion this year (~21% of GDP).

11/20/2015: Spending actually has stayed mostly flat at about $3 trillion.

There’s good info in his Forbes article and the referenced Deloitte report, but it should not be taken politically one way or another. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data shows a slow bending of the cost curve, where the increases in health care expenditures are slowing slightly, the increase is slower than the economy, and it’s slightly slower than in previous years. Still, many of us hope to see costs decline outright, and by a lot.

Total Health Care Expenditures Grew 19% from 2006 to 2010.

The past four years have seen a gradual slowing in health care expenditure annual growth rate. The percentage change from the previous year slowed between 2007 and 2010: 5.9 percent in 2007, 4.7 percent in 2008, and 3.7 percent in 2009 and 2010.

To me, the real value is recognizing that there are hidden costs not captured in the official 2012 estimate of $2.8 trillion/year. Read More …

Caring for a Stroke Patient

Caring for a Stroke PatientBy Rohit Agarwal

Stroke also referred to as ‘Cardiovascular Accident’, is a type of a medical condition involving brain function disturbance due to lack of blood flow to the brain. There can be a number of causes that lead to a stroke, like blockages and hemorrhages.

This is a high level medical emergency that can be fatal. There is a high risk of a stroke to people of old age, diabetic patients, people who take high cholesterol diet, consumption of alcohol and smoking. Stokes should be taken seriously as it is considered to be the second leading cause of death in the world.

When a person survives a stroke there is always a risk of further repercussions that might include a second stroke, decreased brain functions, temporary loss of dexterity and paralysis. Hence, special care should be given not only in the hospital but at home as well, so we discuss home care tips for stroke patients. Read More …

It’s Time to Take Care of Yourself

Screenshot 2014-01-20 19.40.50By Mary Ross, Health & Wellness Expert

The stress of being a loved one’s caregiver can be overwhelming. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than half of family caregivers reported a decline in their own health since care began. They also reported that this decline affected the quality of care they gave, and that they put their care recipient’s needs over their own and didn’t go to the doctor or have time to take care of their own needs. This stress can cause caregivers to become depressed, exhausted or ill. There is even a name for a caregiver whose health starts to deteriorate due to the stress of their responsibilities: caregiver syndrome. If you’re tasked with taking care of a loved one, reduce the stress and risks to your own health with these tips: 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 …

Multi-generation Homes & Communities

Multi-generation HomesMulti-generational homes were common during the Great Depression but declined once people rebounded economically. Now, as John Graham, coauthor of Together Again: A Creative Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living, observes, the recent recession has prompted a move back from valuing independence to interdependence.

Some 51 million Americans (16.7% of the population) live in a house with at least two adult generations, or a grandparent with at least one other generation, under one roof, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the latest U.S. Census Bureau data. The Pew analysis also reported a 10.5% increase in multi-generation households from 2007 to 2009. Now builders are responding with homes designed specifically for multi-generation homes, or that can be modified to support that option later.

Could this trend be a utopia of built-in child care, elder care, three square meals, and shared costs? Could it avoid isolation in old age? Read More …

As Boomers Age, Who Will Care for Seniors?

the romanian mob

Photo by Flickr user jonrawlinson

Guest article by Albert Lester (editor enhanced)

Americans keep living longer. According to the CIA World Factbook, 26% of Americans are older than 55. Just more than 40% fall in the 25-54 age range, double the rate for those under age 14, and dwarfing the number of 15-24 year olds. Moreover, our population growth is less than one percent. For baby boomers, some of whom have already entered retirement, this brings an interesting question: will there be enough entitlement funds to help support them in old age, and will there be enough caregivers in the smaller generation groups that follow them to meet the demand? Read More …

Middle Generation: Rising Cost of Care for America’s Elderly

Middle Generation LadiesBy Caroline Montague

With an aging population and a generation of young adults struggling to achieve financial independence, the burdens and responsibilities of middle-aged Americans are increasing. Nearly half (47 percent) of these adults have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older). In addition, about one in seven middle-aged adults (15 percent) are providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child.

Adult children, worried about costs and the loss of their parents’ independence, must make difficult decisions about the best options for care for their loved ones. Assisted living communities, such as Emeritus assisted living, allow individuals to remain independent as long as possible in an environment that maximizes the person’s autonomy, dignity, privacy and safety. These types of communities also encourage family and resident involvement. (Editor: Emeritus is one of the largest and most well known, but you can also compare facilities in your area by zip code.)  Read More …