Top Technology Innovations All Seniors Should Have

Guest article by Helen SmithReal Seniors over age 75 are less likely to be Silver Surfers than baby boomers who used computers in their jobs.

The number of adults over 60 using the Internet and related devices is continuing to grow, and according to a Pew Research survey, over half of all seniors now use the Internet and have cell phones.

This might lead to us to conclude that seniors are “silver surfers,” ready to embrace tech developments as they arise, and turning to the Internet for everything from their shopping and deliveries to their dating needs. In reality, however, we have a long way to go before this is the case. [See Tech Adoption by Real Seniors, because there’s a big gap between them and boomers?]

Technology has been evolving at such a fast rate that keeping up can feel overwhelming, and this is particularly true for seniors [the real seniors]. They often aren’t nearly as excited about new gadgets and gizmos as their younger and more tech-savvy relatives are.

Technology, however, can be a huge benefit to seniors and help them live happier and more enriching lives. So whether you’re a tech wizard or just interested in making life a bit easier, here are the top innovations that all seniors should have: Read More …

Blitab Braille Tablet for the Blind – Is it needed?

Blitab Braille TabletAs someone who has promoted the Universal Design concept for decades, I was taken back by a Futurism video I saw on the Blitab braille tablet. It is billed as “The World’s First Tablet for the Blind”, but that’s not true, and it’s arguably not nearly the best either. That title, in my view, goes to the Apple iPad with all of its accessibility features, but more on that later. This short article explains my concerns with the Blitab product and the company developing it, because they don’t seem to understand their market or target user. I urge any of my blind friends to challenge me on this assertion in the comments below.

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Medical Alert Systems

Reviews.com recently published a review of The Best Medical Alert Systems, and they gave me permission to repost it here as long as I met their requirements.

Three out of our four final contenders shared the exact same technology. Clockwise from the top left: Acadian On Call, MobileHelp, Medical Guardian, Bay Alarm Medical.

Medical Alert Systems — Help at the push of a button

Nearly 90 percent of seniors say they prefer to live in their own homes, and most expect to stay there. It’s called “aging in place” and put simply: no assisted living facilities. Family members want to respect these wishes, but the risks are real. According to the National Council on Aging, one in three adults age 65 and older experience a fall each year, let alone other emergencies. The best medical alert systems address these risks with reliable devices that can connect seniors with help, keeping them safely independent — and giving family members one less thing to worry about. Our top pick, Bay Alarm Medical, goes even further with attentive, personable service. In an emergency, we’d feel comfortable with a loved one in the company’s hands. Read More …

The Smart Home Mess

The networking Tower of Babel contributes to the Smart Home Mess.

I often write about Smart Home technologies that can help seniors or people with disabilities live independently and safely at home, but I also criticize the media and marketers for their excessive hype and for ignoring the smart home mess.

The Smart Home Mess

Today’s posting is my response to, an excellent article by Stacey Higginbotham, published yesterday in FORBES.

The most insightful quote from this article is, “The smart home, for better or worse, is an ecosystem. And so far, most companies are trying to make it a platform.”

MY COMMENT: Even a SMART Home ecosystem, if it targets DIY consumers, is not very smart and will likely fail to reach mass market adoption. That’s because it puts Consumer’s in the role of systems integrator, in a complex ecosystem with competing standards and retail confusion. Read More …

New technologies to prevent senior injuries at home

Fall Risk - ActiveProtective's airbags for pedestrians help prevent senior injuries at home

By Daniel Lewis

Airbags for Pedestrians

There’s no doubt that people are living longer now than ever before. That’s largely because of advancements in medicine and technology, and these advancements mean that hundreds of thousands of elderly people can now live on their own and enjoy a more fulfilling life. However, a simple fall can change all that; and falls are the most common way seniors injure themselves. Here’s just one of the new technologies that help prevent senior injuries at home.

It’s not always easy to prevent our loved ones from falling at home, because we just can’t be there all the time to keep an eye on them! Thankfully, however, technology is coming to the rescue again!

Automatically inflated car airbags deploy in microseconds to take the brunt of an impact and have saved thousands of lives. There have even been airbags designed for use when riding a motorcycle. And now ActiveProtective’s smart belt is an airbag for the waist, designed to prevent hip fractures. Built-in 3D sensors can detect when someone is falling and, just like the car airbags, air bags will inflate down the side of the hips to protecting them. Early tests have shown a 90% reduction in the force of impact. The product should be available at the end of 2016. What do you think?

Some related articles about preventing falls include:

Wearable sensors

A relatively new product to the market is the wearable sensor, the most advanced versions of which can monitor heartbeat, breathing patterns and even learn the routines of the wearer. They can send this information to you and, most importantly, tell you if there’s a significant change in normal patterns. This will alert you in case an emergency or other issue; whether they have injured themselves.

Some related articles about wearable sensors include:

OnStar for PeopleUnaliwear Kanega watch can help prevent senior injuries

It is now possible to buy a voice-controlled smart watch for seniors that can be worn all the time, even in water, and that does not need a phone subscription. Unaliwear’s Kanega will start shipping in the summer of 2016 and includes its own cellular and GPS capability. For someone who is lost, the watch provides voice directing the way home. It can connect to an emergency service if needed and even reminds you to take your pills. A built-in accelerometer can detect falls and lack of response and make emergency calls on your behalf, directing first responders to your location. In many ways, this is the latest and most advanced watch to date.

Wireless sensors

It’s become easy to fit your senior’s home with a variety of wireless sensors, connected to either a phone system or the Internet. They can then detect if someone has fallen and automatically alert emergency services. Researchers are also studying how these sensors can give an early warning system by identifying deviations from learned patterns. Sensors can beep when approaching a trip hazard to a fall before it happens.

The same wireless sensor systems that turn on lights or track motion patterns to detect or prevent a fall can also be linked with home security systems to detect an intrusion.

Google's NEST thermostat is just one of the wireless sensors that can help prevent senior injuries at home

PROVO, UT – JANUARY 16: In this photo illustration, a Nest thermostat is being adjusted in a home on January 16, 2014 in Provo, Utah. Google bought Nest, a home automation company, for $3.2 billion taking Google further into the home ecosystem. (Photo illustration by George Frey/Getty Images)

Some related articles about wireless sensors include:

There is no doubt that technology will make life easier and safer for all elderly people. However, in special circumstances your loved one may have to be put in a nursing home. Today’s care homes are no longer cold and unappealing; quite the opposite. There are high-tech facilities with 24/7 surveillance and advanced technology to help your seniors recover and sustain their mental abilities for as long as possible. Why should you risk their wellbeing when you can do what’s best for them and their health? Make a sensible choice and allow these new technologies to prevent your loved ones from getting hurt.

About the Author

Daniel Lewis is interested in writing about health and fitness related issues. He has a deep knowledge of this field and writes for a site (http://www.foresthc.com/) providing elderly care homes and retirement villages.

‘The Patient Will See You Now’ Envisions New Era

The Patient Will See You Now (book)The Patient Will See You Now’ is a book by Dr. Eric Topol that envisions a New Era in healthcare where we consumers take more responsibility for our own health and wellness and have the tools to do so. Often these are smaller, cheaper, and easier to use versions of what doctors have used for years, but digital and in some cases more accurate or beneficial.

Dr. Abigail Zuger wrote a review of Topol’s book for The New York Times and described the overall thesis as “the old days of ‘doctor knows best’ are as good as gone. No longer will doctors control medical data, treatment or profits. Instead, thanks to the newest science, humanity will finally achieve truly democratic health care: Up with patients! ‘Our Bodies, Our Selves’ for all!”

As Tool says in the following video, “What bothers me most about healthcare is the unwillingness to give rightful info to patients.”

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Tribute to Steve Jobs (1955-2011), iPhone 4S and iPad 2

iSad candle imageEDITOR: This 2011 article is being republished in support of CNN’s documentary, Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, which aired the first week of 2016.

With his vision, marketing savvy, attention to design & usability details, and ability to deliver total solutions around complete value chains, Steve Jobs revolutionized almost everything he touched, even turning technology into fashion. Those white earbuds, for example, tell people you are cool. The CNET video below takes us through the ups & downs of a career that changed both the tech industry and our culture at large.

In his 2005 “connecting the dots” Stanford commencement speech, Jobs spoke of finding work you love and the inevitability of death, which he described as “the single most important change agent of life.” Jobs said the end of one life makes room for others and told graduates, “your time is limited, so don‘t waste it living someone else’s life.” He concluded by advising them to “Stay hungry; stay foolish.”

Somehow I find it ironic that Jobs later got a Liver transplant ahead of many others because he was wealthy enough to have access to a private jet to get him there stat. I’m not complaining, just reflecting on this as an example of medical ethics issues that I find difficult & fascinating.
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Digital Health at CES 2016

Digital Health at CES

EDITOR:  The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the largest trade shows and conferences in the world, with well over 150,000 attendees, including more than 30,000 international attendees from 140 countries. Each January they come to Las Vegas, NV to see the latest tech products from over 3,000 exhibitors or showcase their own. Nowhere else on earth can you see and experience so much in such a short space of time. That’s why I love attending, but now I do it without the expense and hassle of traveling there.

For background, I’ve attended big technology shows like COMDEX & CES as an exhibitor, speaker or attendee for some 30 years, and while still at IBM I organized one of the first Hot Spots (now TechZones). It was for Home Networking just after I introduced IBM to the Connected Home concept (in 1994) and while I held leadership positions in some industry standards groups.

My CES coverage starts with an article by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn about what to expect, which first appeared in Huffington Post. It’s followed by links to Related Articles that you won’t want to miss if you’re a tech geek like me. Read More …

How Technology is Changing Home Security

By Janet Miller, Yoga Instructor, Nutritionist, and Work at Home Mom

EDITOR: Janet wrote the following article for Huffington Post (see original), presented here with my additional insights and recommendations. 

Surveillance Cameras are Changing Home Security

7 Ways Technology is Changing Home Security

Technology has radically changed the way we protect our homes. What was previously only possible in Sci-Fi movies is now gradually becoming reality. The digital revolution has made its way into our homes.

1. Remote Monitoring: Remote monitoring is a great way to keep an eye on the home when you are at school or work, or on your second home. Even if you are vacationing on a beach miles away, you can still receive real time videos and photos of what is going on at home. Some of the features monitoring systems now provide include the ability to arm and disarm security systems, send fire or intrusion alerts, and stream security camera feeds. Read More …

Sleep Technology use by Seniors

Today’s guest post on Sleep Technology use by seniors is written by Barry Birkett and first appeared in Senior Care Corner.

A Good Night Sleep and Our Seniors:
Can Technology Help Them Meet?

Sleep is important to us at all ages, but to seniors it can be a matter of health and safety.

Yes, safety. Too many of our senior loved ones are injured, some with long-term impacts, by falls that might not have happened if they had been sleeping well.

Getting enough sleep is more than just a matter of not feeling tired.

We have discussed seniors and sleep in a number of articles here at Senior Care Corner®, helping family caregivers to understand and address this important aspect of daily life. If it matters to our senior loved ones, after all, it matters to us.

Technology and sleep is a topic we haven’t addressed, even though we talk often about what tech can mean to seniors and caregivers.

Thanks to a new report from the Consumer Electronics Association and National Sleep Foundation, we have some information to bridge that gap. 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 …

How to Make a Smart Bed for your Smart Bedroom

Luna

Here’s you can make a smart bed for your smart bedroom.

Because good sleep so closely tied to good health, I’ve posted dozens of articles about sleep, including many about technology and how artificial lights interfere with our biological clocks and sleep-wake cycle. I’ve also been working with Dr. Bruce Meleski to open Intelligent Sleep, a new sleep wellness and brain health center here in Austin. We’re doing some pretty cool stuff with metabolic, neurosensory, and behavioral therapies, and we’re promoting a vision of the Smart Bedroom. So today’s post is about a new product we hope to carry and that I think you’ll like. (video below) Read More …

The Elusive Smart Home

With the annual Consumer Electronics Show starting next week, the news media is filled with marketing hype about the elusive Smart Home market, which is nearly as misdirected today as it was in 1957. Watch this video of the RCA-Whirlpool® Miracle Kitchen and ask how many of those products you can buy today.

Whirlpool was wrong 58 years ago when it introduced its Miracle Kitchen, and I think it’s wrong about home automation today too. All the company did was offer a Smart Home vision that never crossed the chasm to mass-market adoption. The problem wasn’t a lack of sensors, actuators, electronics, or network standards, but marketing and the inability to understand consumer needs and wants, or the ability to show a value proposition or deliver a solution with ease of use and affordability.

I still have seen no company that “gets it” or knows how to deliver the smart home vision — not Whirlpool and not Apple or Microsoft or Google or Philips or BestBuy. A lot of innovation has occurred in the last 50-some years that is getting us closer to that vision, including smartphones and the Internet of Things, but there are still many marketing barriers that these companies don’t seem to understand. Read More …

Digital Sensors, Activity Trackers & Quantified Self

FUTURE OF YOU is a 27-min video by KQED and QuestScience about digital sensors, activity trackers and the Quantified Self movement. From wearable activity trackers to personal genetics, it explores the new digital health revolution that is transforming the field of health care and scientific research, and is radically changing how we take care of ourselves and manage our health information.

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 …

What Quadriplegics can do with an iPhone or iPad

EDITOR: 9 Surprising Things Quadriplegics can do with an iPhone or iPad, by Mauricio Meza, is republished here with permission. It shows how Tecla gives iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android access to people with spinal cord, brain, or muscular disorders or anyone else who can’t use a touch-screen, including quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis (MS), ALS, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, brain injury, and stroke.

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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 …

How Wearable Technology Could Save Our Health

Wearable Technology – Helping Your Doctor Help You

Save Our Health

You might have heard the aggressive term “glasshole,” which unaffectionately refers to people who wear their Google Glass wearable computing device everywhere and all day long.  The Google Glass is actually just one type of wearable computing device.

Smartwatches, smart wristbands, fitness trackers, helmet-worn impact checkers, back pain posture checkers, necklaces, clip-ons, smart clothing and other wearable technology already exist and may be an important part in the future of healthcare.

These gadgets can record various vitals and electronically send them to your doctor on your next visit, or via apps on your smartphone. When data collection becomes that easy, anonymized and aggregated data from cities, states or even countries can be analyzed to detect trends in the general population. Read More …

Apple to enter Home Automation market?

Apple, Home Automation & Smart Aging by Stealth

guest article by Joseph F Coughlin, Director of the MIT AgeLab

Smart HouseThe word on the street is that Apple is set to announce a major foray into home automation next week at its annual developers conference. As noted by other analysts, Apple’s move into the home coincides with similar investments made by companies such as Intel, Cisco, Samsung, Microsoft, and, of course, Google. Regardless of which company ultimately presents the best value proposition to consumers, the resulting smart home of the future is likely to be the house you live in today, with a significant IQ boost thanks to a wide range of accessories and wireless devices that are all part of what is now widely known as the Internet of Things. Read More …

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.

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