Cars for seniors who can’t drive themselves

Google's Driverless Car

EDITOR: When seniors can no longer drive a car, they lose their independence and become dependent on others for the simplest things — shopping for groceries or Christmas gifts, getting a haircut, going the bank or doctor or the movies, and more. That can be devastating and even force them into institution care, ultimately shortening their lifespan. So it’s why I’m a fan of the autonomous, self-driving car, and Google, the company that’s so far leading the way. And it’s why I’m happy to republish this article by Zachary Shahan at FIX.com about cars for seniors who can’t drive themselves.

Hands-Free Driving: Google’s New Driverless Car

One of the biggest tech stories of the year is definitely the unveiling of Google’s driverless car. The general story is this: Google is manufacturing some completely self-driving cars – no steering wheels, accelerator pedals, or brake pedals. But the details are pretty fascinating, and even more interesting are the broad societal implications. Read More …

Poverty in America — living below The Line

The Line is an important documentary that covers the stories of people across the country living at or below the poverty line. They have goals. They have children. They work hard. They are people like you and me. Across America, millions are struggling every day to make it above The Line.

As shown in the Stats below and the accompanying infographic, poverty is a drag on the economy that also affects the cost of healthcare, as I’ve written before in this blog. Read More …

Meals On Wheels Sequestration Cuts Take Effect

Meals on WheelsBy Arthur Delaney (original on Huffington Post)

ROANOKE, Va. — William McCormick remembers from his working-class upbringing in Covington, Va., that neighbors took care of neighbors.

“Both my parents worked in the mill,” he said. “For people in the neighborhood who were hungry we’d make up two or three bags of groceries, put $5 or $10 in it, set it on the porch, knock on the door and leave. We wouldn’t tell ’em who did it.”

Now McCormick is 70 years old and living alone in a one-bedroom apartment in a six-story building. Only about 40 of the building’s 144 units are occupied. The parking lots are barren and the hallways are dingy with torn carpets. McCormick considers the building “spooky.”

Some Disturbing Stats:

  • There are already 40M seniors 65+ today, with 10,000 more reaching age 65 every day.
  • 40% of them are low-income (below 150% of poverty level) and will need public assistance.
  • The poverty threshold for a family of four is $22,113, and the 2010 average income of the bottom 90% was $26.364.
  • People 90+ had a median income of just $14,760 in 2010, about half of it from Social Security. 37.3% of them lived alone and depend on services like Meels on Wheels.

Read More …

The Future of Medicine and Virtual Assistants

Virtual Assistants help Doctors Increase ProductivityIn Will Mobile ‘Virtual Assistants’ Propel the Future of Medicine?, the author portrays mHealth and virtual assistants as time savers for practitioners, but I take a different view and commented on his article, mentioning an important new documentary (see below).

He said …

With this evolution of mobility in mind, I’ve been thinking a lot about what a mobile “virtual assistant” could mean for clinicians. In today’s health care setting, far too much clinician time is spent on administrative tasks that, while important, pales in comparison to the significance of their main job duty — ensuring the health and well-being of actual people. But what if we could help clinicians tackle administrative and other day-to-day duties by enlisting the power of a fleet of mobile virtual assistants that: help clinicians simplify interactions and address data-entry headaches with electronic health records (EHRs); provide real-time insight on the next patient, including vital signs and medications; or even prompt them for more information when the record does not contain the level of detail needed to ensure first-rate care?

(Jonathon Dryer is Director of Mobile Marketing for Nuance Communications).

Read More …

A Place at the Table – about Poverty, Hunger & Health

Spread the word today! This important documentary is coming to movie theaters, YouTube and on-demand on March 1.

A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social, health and cultural implications for our nation, and how the problem of hunger can be solved once and for all, with your help.

Now think about the dramatic role that a proper diet can play in decreasing obesity, diabetes, chronic illness, food allergies, and healthcare costs by improving the health of Americans.

As Dr. Wahls says in her TED video, “Hunter-Gatherer diet feeds Mitochondria & Brain Cells.”  “You’ll pay one way or another” – either pay now for a nutritious diet that improves your productivity and quality of life, or pay more later for medical intervention and long-term healthcare. This concept applies individually or nationally as portrayed in A Place at the Table.

Read More …