Aging in Place and CES

Senior using ATThe CES – Consumer Electronics Show – the annual technology event that features all the latest and greatest gizmos and gadgets took place this year as a virtual conference. Billed as “the most influential tech event in the world — the proving ground for breakthrough technologies and global innovators…” CES generally makes lots of news as new, and emerging technologies begin to hit the consumer electronics market. As we have mentioned many time during our Maine CITE webinars, increasingly, consumer electronics are being used as assistive technology and/or include accessibility features “burned in” that support people with disabilities allowing all users to have an equivalent experience.

Aging in Place Technology Watch, a great blog site and newsletter dedicated to technology related to allowing seniors to live at home safely and healthfully, is published by Laurie M. Orlov, a tech industry veteran, writer, speaker and elder care advocate. This week Laurie has a review of the CES as it relates to this population. Below we have included some of the highlights, but make sure you read the whole edition.

AbsoluteAudio’s PYOUR Audio Hearing 2.0. This comprehensive software suite is built up from a range of proprietary algorithms, destined at restoring speech understanding and best music experience for people suffering from hearing damage or hearing loss. It consists of AAL’s unique and unbeaten Advanced Noise Suppression, directionality algorithms, Instantaneous Wide Band Compression and Acoustic Feedback Cancellation. It is the only solution in the market that can support building hearing aids from premium consumer audio components, by pairing high quality hearing performance with extremely low power consumption and low memory usage. Learn more at Absolute Audio.

Aladin Smart Lamp. A smart lamp that hangs on the wall and anticipates and prevents falls of residents in assisted living and nursing facilities, Aladin uses artificial intelligence (not sensors) to detect changes in motion, temperature, and more. Its automatic lighting, built-in fall detector, and integrated monitoring system not only reduces falls but can decrease the stress on caregivers, allowing high-risk individuals to be independent again. Learn more at Domalys.

CarePredict TouchPoint. This product is a remote activity monitoring app for seniors. It provides caregivers with continuous insight and increased visibility into their loved one’s well-being. TouchPoint is the companion of another CarePredict product called Tempo, which is a wearable device, similar to a watch or wristband, designed to track subtle changes in a senior’s daily activities and behavior. Learn more at CarePredict.

FallCall Detect.  “FallCall Detect’s breakthrough technology distinguishes between falls with greater force that are more likely to cause injury and falls that occur from a sitting position. If a high-impact all is detected, FallCall’s US-based medical monitoring service is automatically contacted* and will send emergency services if needed. If a low-impact fall is detected, only a user’s pre-designated support community is contacted. For Apple Watch.”  Learn more at FallCall – PDF.

WellBe Medical Alert.  “HandsFree Health, rovider of WellBe®, a secure, HIPAA compliant, voice-enabled virtual health assistant platform, is offering the first fully integrated home health system for seniors to help them age-in-place. WellBe Medical Alert PLUS is an AI-powered system that includes both a voice assistant as well as a sleek smartwatch, connecting users with emergency services with their voice at home or via a watch button when on-the-go.” Learn more at HandsFreeHealth. 

 

U.S. Access Board Webinar: Vertical Access

US Access Board logoFrom the U.S. Access Board

February 4, 2021
2:30 – 4:00 pm (ET) 

The next webinar in the U.S. Access Board’s free monthly series will take place February 4 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will explain where vertical access is required (or exempted) in the ADA and the ABA Accessibility Standards and how it can be achieved. Presenters will review requirements in the standards for ramps, curb ramps, elevators, and platform lifts, as well as clarify common sources of confusion when providing vertical access.

Visit accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register.

All webinars include video remote interpreting (VRI) and real-time captioning. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the live webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board. Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site.

 

Where can I get an inexpensive computer?

fingers on computer keyboardThis has been perhaps the most popular question received at Maine CITE over the past 10 months. A byproduct of the COVID-19 pandemic has been high demand for information technology (IT) particularly free and low-cost options. From students learning from home, to patients visiting their doctors via Zoom, to isolated seniors looking to connect with friends and family, the need for computers and IT has become phenomenal.

While for many, personal technology at home is commonplace, for many others, including seniors on fixed incomes and people with disabilities, the costs are prohibitive. Fortunately, there are several options for getting Maine people low-cost, recycling technology.

As part of our Maine CITE Equipment Reuse resource webpage, we have listed numerous programs and organizations that may be able to help Maine citizens get inexpensive, used assistive technology (AT). Here is a summary of programs that specialize in the recycling of computers and information technology equipment:

Give IT Get IT

Probably the best resource in Maine is Give IT Get IT a nonprofit organization that helps eligible individuals and nonprofit organizations get access to fast, high-quality computers – and outstanding user support – at the lowest cost possible.

The Waterville-based nonprofit formed last year out of a merger between PCs for Maine and eWaste Alternatives and has increasing its capacity to recycle retired technology devices from Maine businesses, refurbish them, and distribute them to “technologically isolated” Mainers.

Give IT Get IT can provide information technology equipment to eligible individuals or non-profit organizations including schools and libraries at costs well below market-value. Eligibility to purchase equipment is based upon family size and household income – see/download this link for details – PDF

Give IT Get IT does have a Sponsorship program which will provide computers to needy individuals for free, but the waiting list for these is quite long.

Qualified persons with disabilities may be able to get funding for this equipment through a MaineCARE assistive technology waiver, through vocational rehabilitation, or other insurance. Please check with your funder before contacting Give IT Get IT.

Both laptop and desktop computers are available and come with MS Windows 10 installed (Note: Laptops are more expensive than desktops). Prices start at $95.00 for a basic desktop and range up to $330 for an advance laptop.

All the computers recycled by Give IT Get IT are commercial grade and three years old or newer. There are three pricing levels based upon the device specifications. All devices also come with preinstalled basic software; the advanced devices come with more memory, processor speed, to accommodate advanced software needs. Some of the latest equipment come with web cameras and are ready for video conferencing or on-line learning.

In addition to computers, Give IT Get IT also sells refurbished, low-cost monitors, surge protectors, ethernet cable, headsets, and laptop docking stations. Devices may be shipped to your location for a fee: $38 for desktops, $22 for laptops. Devices may also be picked up for free from their Waterville location.

All devices come with a six-month warranty by Give IT Get IT and all devices can be returned within 15 days for a complete refund.

Free phone support and online training is also available. Call (207) 338-4233 if you have any questions.

Give IT Get IT
60 Industrial St.
Waterville, ME

Phone: (207) 338-4233

Website: giveitgetit.org/

Email: info@giveitgetit.org

PCs for People

Founded in 1998, PCs for People is a national leader in digital inclusion. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, every project, program, and initiative at PCs for People is centered on getting low-cost computers and affordable broadband internet into the homes of low-income individuals.

PCs for People provides services to both individuals and businesses looking to acquire or dispose of technology. Any family or individual receiving government benefits or living below 200% of the federal poverty line is eligible for services (please see website for specific eligibility criteria and documentation requirements). In addition to the services offered directly to families, PCs for People offer free recycling and data sanitization services to corporations. PCs for People’s corporate recycling services are extremely simple, cost efficient, helps those in need, and is a better alternative to traditional recycling.

PC for People operates from seven locations in six states (unfortunately, none in Maine) but all their devices, including desktop computers, laptop computers, and internet “hotspots” may be purchased online and delivered with free shipping. All computers are MS Windows 10, come with a 90-day warranty and may be returned or exchanged within 30 days (note: restocking fee may be charged for returns).

PCs for People
1481 Marshall Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55104

Phone: (654)354-2552

Website: pcsforpeople.org/

Email: info@pcsforpeople.org

Other Resources

In addition to these two programs, there are numerous businesses and organizations that provide similar recycling programs around the country. The following is a partial list of similar programs that resell refurbished information technology equipment:

 

 

Rules Proposed to Improve Access to Vehicles for People with Disabilities

automobile with hand controlsThe U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released for public comment a proposed rule to improve access to motor vehicles, including rental cars, for people with disabilities. The rule proposes changes to NHTSA’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard to facilitate the use of adaptive equipment in rental cars and to simplify vehicle transport of wheelchairs and scooters.

Federal law generally prohibits making a vehicle’s safety features inoperable. One proposed change would permit rental car companies to temporarily disable a driver’s air bag to install hand controls. In an accident, the deployment of the knee bolster air bag can result in the hand controls hitting and injuring the driver. A second proposed change would allow installation of rear-mounted transporters for wheelchairs and scooters. These transporters may obstruct the view of a vehicle’s backup camera.

Public comments are due January 27, 2021. For further information, visit DOT’s website or contact Gunyoung Lee of NHTSA Office of Crash Avoidance Standards at (202) 366-6005, Daniel Koblenz of NHTSA Office of Chief Counsel at (202) 366-5329, or David Jasinski at (202) 366-5552.

 

January 2021 Webinars

Maine CITE is offering the following webinar in January 2021:

Webinar: Assistive Technology for Your Life – Tools for Independence

Date: January 26, 2021
Time: 1:00 PM ET

Man wearing dark glasses holds cane and smatphoneTechnology is a part of daily life for most of us, making our lives easier, safer, and more enjoyable. For people with disabilities, Assistive Technology (AT) can be especially empowering and create opportunities for greater independence and access. Join us for a webinar on how people with disabilities and their providers can identify, obtain, and use assistive technology to support a wide range of needs.

Presenters: Ketra Crosson, Henry Powell, Victoria Schalk

Use this link for more information and to register for the webinar: Assistive Technology for Your Daily Life- Tools for Independence


The following list of January 2021 webinars on the topic of assistive technology and accessibility is generated by the Accessible Technology Consortia funded by the Center for Accessible Technology. Thank you.

Implantable Brain-Computer Interfaces in Late-Stage ALS: Real-World Implications from G3ict
Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at 12:00 pm Eastern

Using Screen Readers and Testing Tools to Evaluate the Accessibility of a User Journey from the Paciello Group
Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 12:00 pm Eastern

Morphic – Making Computers Easier to Use from Great Lakes ADA
Friday, January 15, 2021 at 2:00 pm Eastern

Making Social Media Accessible for People with Disabilities from CIDI
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 2:00 pm Eastern

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Fairness for Persons with Disabilities in Workplace Technologies from Southeast ADA & PEAT
Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 2:00 pm Eastern (90 min.)

Review of the Revised 508 Standards (Part 1): Requirements for Federal Websites and Electronic Content from Great Lakes ADA
Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 1:00 pm Eastern

Creating Accessible Content in 2021 from AEM
Thursday, January 7th at 4:00 pm Eastern

Implementation: Adoption vs. Abandonment from AbleNet
Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:00 pm Eastern

 

 

US Access Board Announces Schedule for Public Forum on Autonomous Vehicles

From the U.S. Access Board...

autonomous transporterDecember 17, 2020 – In partnership with other federal agencies, the U.S. Access Board will host a series of virtual meetings in March and April on making autonomous vehicles (AVs) accessible to all passengers, including those with disabilities. The sessions will be free and open to the public via a virtual platform (Zoom). Attendees will be able to pose questions and share comments, suggestions, and information.

The four-part series will feature presentations by agency representatives and invited speakers who will discuss considerations, challenges, and solutions in designing AVs that are inclusive of everyone. Presenters will also review findings and recommendations, identify areas for further study, and recommend next steps. An open dialogue with attendees will follow. In addition, an online crowdsourcing platform (ePolicyWorks) will provide a forum for continued discussion after each live session.

Further details will be provided and posted on the Board’s AV webpage in the coming weeks. Direct questions to Randall Duchesneau III at duchesneau@access-board.gov or (202) 272-0044.

Inclusive Design of Autonomous Vehicles: A Public Forum

Accessibility for Passengers with Mobility Disabilities: Entering and Exiting Vehicles
March 10, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)

Accessibility for Passengers with Mobility Disabilities: Maneuvering and Securement in Vehicles
March 24, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)

Communication Accessibility for Passengers with Sensory or Cognitive Disabilities
April 7, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)

Findings, Recommendations, Future Research, and Suggested Next Steps
April 21, 2021, 2:00 – 3:30 (ET)

Photo credit: Image licensed through Creative Commons by Pixabay

U.S. Access Board Webinar: Interior and Exterior Accessible Routes

US Access Board logoThe next webinar in the U.S. Access Board’s free monthly series will take place January 7 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will provide an in-depth review of ADA and ABA requirements for interior accessible routes and issues, such as overlapping clear space requirements and door maneuvering clearances. The session will also address exterior routes, such as site arrival points, connections to transit stops and public streets and sidewalks, and unique accessible route exceptions permitted at recreation facilities. Presenters will highlight some of the more frequently asked questions and common source of confusion for accessible routes.

Visit www.accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register.

All webinars include video remote interpreting (VRI) and real-time captioning. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the live webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board.

Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site. 

 

December 2020 Webinars

Maine CITE is offering the following webinar in December 2020:

Webinar: Assistive Technology for Age-Friendly Communities

Date: December 2, 2020
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 pm

woman using digital magnifierIn recent years, AARP has promoted the development of Age Friendly Communities (AFC) to encourage local officials and citizens to implement changes that make their communities more livable for people of all ages, especially older adults. As the state with the largest percent of older adults in the country, the efforts in Maine are noteworthy.

Join us for a presentation on Assistive Technology (AT) devices and services in Maine. AT can be essential to making your home, community and public spaces accessible and impact the health, safety and independence of older adults who want to continue to live at home. The presenters will share a variety of AT devices, smart home tech and home modifications that help to make your home more age-friendly. AT Resources and information about paying for AT will also be explored.

Presenters: Ketra Crosson and John Brandt

Use this link for more information and to register for the “Webinar: Assistive Technology for Age-Friendly Communities”


The following list of December 2020 webinars on the topic of assistive technology and accessibility is generated by the Accessible Technology Consortia funded by the Center for Accessible Technology. Thank you.

Time for a Change: Case Study Illustrating a Complex Child Who Has Plateaued in AT Use from AbleNet
December 15, 2020 at 12:00 pm Eastern

Social Media Management: Accessibility Basics from Great Lakes ADA
December 15, 2020 at 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern   (90 min.)

Making SEL Accessible for Students with Learning Differences from edWeb
December 15, 2020 at 11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern
 

Webinar on ADA/ABA and Recreation Facilities

From the US Access Board…

Upcoming Webinar on Recreation Facilities

US Access Board logoDecember 3, 2020
2:30 – 4:00 pm ET

The final webinar of 2020 in the Board’s free monthly series will take place December 3 from 2:30 – 4:00 (ET) and will review scoping and technical provisions for recreation facilities in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Standards (Chapter 10).

This session will address the requirements for:

  • amusement rides,
  • recreational boating facilities
  • exercise machines and equipment
  • fishing piers and platforms
  • golf facilities and miniature golf facilities
  • play areas
  • swimming pools, wading pools, and spas
  • shooting facilities with fixed firing positions
  • sports facilities.

Presenters will address common sources of confusion and frequently asked questions about these provisions. The webinar series is hosted by the ADA National Network in cooperation with the Board.

Visit accessibilityonline.org for more information or to register.

All webinars include video remote interpreting (VRI) and real-time captioning. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the webinar. Webinar attendees can earn continuing education credits.

Archived copies of previous Board webinars are available on the site. 

 

Remembering Travis Roy

Photos of Travis RoyThe news of the untimely passing of Maine Sports Hall of Fame legend Travis Roy was met this past weekend with accolades coming from all parts of the sports world. All Mainers know the story of the promising 20-year-old hockey star from Yarmouth whose life was forever changed in October 1995 when eleven seconds into his first Boston University men’s ice hockey match he slid into the boards and suffered a spinal cord injury. The injury was permanent, ending his dreams of a NHL career and leaving the young man with quadriplegia.

Most Mainers also know that two years later, Roy would start the Travis Roy Foundation and rally to become one of the country’s best philanthropists, advocates and motivational speakers.

Since 1997, the Travis Roy Foundation has distributed more than $9 million in grants to people with spinal cord injuries and to research projects and rehabilitation institutions. The individual grant funds have been used to modify vans and to purchase wheelchairs, computers, ramps, shower chairs, and other adaptive equipment to help people with spinal cord injuries live their lives.

Called the Travis Roy Foundation Quality of Life Grant Program, the program funds adaptive equipment and assistive technology, as well as home modifications for people paralyzed from a physical spinal cord injury. While there are some restrictions to the grant program, there is no age requirement and grants are available up to $5,000. Applicants must have financial need and may be asked to provide supporting financial documentation.

Thank you, Travis.

Use this link to learn more about the Travis Roy Foundation Quality of Life Grant Program

Use this link to learn more about Travis Roy – Boston Globe

 

Photo credit: Images of Travis Roy from the TR Foundation