AARP HomeFit Guide

Woman preparing a mealFrom AARP…

Most houses and apartments are designed for young, able-bodied adults and don’t meet the needs of older residents or people with disabilities. In fact, in many parts of the United States, most housing units were built more than a generation ago to serve a population of family households, generally consisting of two parents and at least two children.

By 2030, one in five people in the U.S. will be age 65 or over. And it’s projected that by 2034, older adults will outnumber children under 18 for the first time ever. America’s housing stock doesn’t fit a rapidly changing and rapidly aging population.

That’s where the AARP HomeFit Guide comes in.

The guide examines what makes a home aging-friendly and suggests the kinds of designs and modifications that can make a home safer, more comfortable and a better “fit” for its residents – of every age.

Use this link for information and to download a copy of the AARP HomeFit Guide

AT for Older Adults

The following comes from Laurie Orlov’s Aging and Health Technology Watch current newsletter. Laurie’s excellent site reports out on issues related to seniors and various new and emerging technologies. This week’s newsletter article focused on several new assistive technologies. Use the links in the list below to learn more about each product.

And you might want to consider subscribing to Laurie’s newsletter…

HomeEXCEPT.  “HomeEXCEPT is hardware and software for active seniors, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and researchers. The hardware is used to tag objects and monitor their use.

Livindi.  “Livindi keeps families connected with LivindiPad, a tablet for seniors. Simply touching a picture on the screen starts a video call. Voice to text helps those with diminished hearing. Families can send pictures to a digital picture frame. Livindi includes a set of sensors which monitor activity and environment and recognize behavioral changes.

Sundial Alexa Skill. “The Sundial skill for Alexa and the mobile app work together to connect older adults (the Center) to their loved ones (Care Circle). The Center uses the voice and touch enabled Sundial skill for Alexa (optimized for the Amazon Echo Show) to interact with their private Care Circle of family and friends.

Tembo.Health.  “Tembo.Health, funded at least in part by Primetime Partners, a new aging-focused VC firm, is a provider of telemedicine services intended to connect patients with specialty services like psychiatry and cardiology, including those in nursing homes. The company’s platform connects the specialists to patient data and collaborates with the nursing staff to provide better care plans and also, enabling patients with the care option as per their needs.

Verizon Care Smart Watch. “Care Smart comes with a number of pre-loaded messages making it easier than ever for seniors to respond to text messages. An easy-to-read screen displays the date and time and streamlined 3-touch navigation for accessing contacts, placing calls or sending texts makes this smartwatch a snap to use.

Read the entire article Five notable technology offerings for older adults

 

Making Medication Management Smarter

Pill box with days of the weekIn a new posting by Laurie Orlov, Technology Can Help Make Medication Management Smarter, she reminds us that “…medication non-adherence (not filling prescriptions or missing dosages) is a major health issue resulting in 10% of hospitalizations, 125,000 deaths, and costing the healthcare system up to $300 billion/year.”

Orlov offers the following recommendations:

First, a simple app solution can help. Setting a calendar entry (no app required) or downloading a medication reminder app can help users avoid missing their medication. Free apps, like Pill Reminder (iPhone) and PillsOnTime (Android) also track missed doses. Tracker by Medisafe (iPhone and Android), not only reminds you when it’s time for a refill but enables you to track vitals like blood pressure. Davis’ Drug Guide (iPhone) even contains detailed drug information for patients who have questions about a drug, the possible side effects, or its interactions with other medications.

Next, medication dispensing pre-packaged containers can help with complex regimens. For some individuals, a plastic 7-day pill container provides enough structure. But if problems occur as a result of not taking doses, technology-enabled containers are designed to help prevent both missing a dose or taking the wrong pill. Units are easily connected to the Internet for communication to caregivers about whether the unit was opened at the right time. They include PillPack (recently acquired by Amazon) which delivers the packaged medication doses and has an accompanying app to track information about them.  Then there is MedMinder, an automated dispensing box that can be preloaded by the pharmacy.  PillPack and MedMinder charge just the co-pay medication cost. Finally, consider Philips’ Automated Medication Dispensing Service – in which a caregiver loads up to 40 days of doses which are dispensed in small cups per dose at a cost of $59.95 per month.

For more information

Read the entire article Technology Can Help Make Medication Management Smarter by Laurie Orlov…

View our June 2019 webinar Assistive Technology (AT) for Medication Management with Christine Martin…

woman using digital magnifier

New Technologies for Older Adults

From time to time we have recommended articles and blogs from Laurie Orlov’s Aging In Place Technology Watch. This one caught my eye:

Announcements of new offerings are arriving – will they/can they be used?  Hopefully these 5 will offer benefit that can and will be realized by older adults. Writers of these 2019 articles about the topic are not so sure that new technologies for this population may not be reaching their intended audience. That can be due to a variety of barriers, including fear that they are not using them properly (UCSD study), lack of internet access (which would limit awareness), low technology literacy (TechCrunch), including lack of familiarity with terminology, and physical challenges (research from MPDI). Here are five new technologies that could provide benefit to older adults – content is from the companies…

Read the whole article on Laurie’s website to learn more about these new technologies…

BTW, you can subscribe to Laurie’s blog and have new articles sent to you via e-mail! See information on her blog (upper left hand corner).

Groups Call on the FCC to Improve Quality of Live Captions

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Groups and Researchers Call on the FCC to Improve the Quality of Live Captions

Closed Captioning logoOn July 31, ten national organizations, including the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), and the Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA), petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to address long-standing quality problems with captioning for live television programming. The petition was supported by the American Association of the DeafBlind (AADB).

As the petition explains, consumers routinely report serious problems with the accuracy, timing, completeness, and placement of captions on live programming, including local news, sports, and weather. The petition asks the FCC to build on its existing standards for the quality of captions by setting metrics for acceptable quality of live captions. The petition also urges the FCC to provide guidance for new captioning systems that use automatic speech recognition, which have the potential to provide captions with improved timing and lower cost but also routinely cause significant accuracy problems. Consumer groups and researchers also will be submitting additional feedback to the FCC, including an analysis of hundreds of consumer responses gathered by HLAA in a recent survey.

The FCC has asked for comments from the public about the petition. If you’ve had experiences with captions for live TV programming that you’re willing to share with the FCC, you can do so online.

Submit your comments to the FCC by September 13

Use this link to read the petition

Use this link to enter your comments online and remember to enter 05-231 in the “Proceeding(s)” field to make sure that your comment is added to the record.

 

Assistive Technology Re-authorization Act Introduced in Senate

Casey, Collins Introduce Bill to Expand Access to Assistive Technology for Seniors and People with Disabilities

Legislation Would Help Seniors and People With Disabilities Maintain Independence

US Capitol DomeWashington, D.C. – Today, June 13, 2019, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), the Ranking Member and Chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, introduced the 21st Century Assistive Technology Act that would increase access to assistive technology—devices or services that help seniors and people with disabilities to maintain their independence and live where they choose.  The bill, which comes following a May 22nd hearing in the Aging Committee on the topic, would also help reduce the low employment and high poverty rates of older adults and people with disabilities by helping them live independently and maintain employment.

“Assistive technology helps millions of people live independently, remain engaged in their community and improves the quality of life for seniors and people with disabilities,” said Senator Casey.  “It is important that we update this bill to support the advances in assistive technology over the last 15 years, so that those who need it can be full participants in every aspect of their lives.”

“As our population ages, the need for care and support is increasing,” said Senator Collins.  “Advances in technology are working to bridge the ‘care gap,’ improving function in activities of daily living, helping to manage multiple chronic conditions, reducing risk of hazards, and making homes safer for seniors.  The 21st Century Assistive Technology Act would help to ensure that seniors continue to have access to these life-changing technologies to help them maintain their independence.”

The 21st Century Assistive Technology Act (S.1835) Act would update the Assistive Technology Act by clarifying that the program serves all people with disabilities, including veterans and older adults who developed disabilities later in life. The Assistive Technology Act would also increase the funding authorized for programs that serve rural areas. Assistive technology refers to any piece of equipment, product or service that helps someone with a disability or functional limitation accomplish their daily needs such as wheelchair ramps, hearing aids, screen readers and even smart phones.

This bill is supported by the Assistive Technology Act Programs, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, the American Association of People with Disabilities, The Arc of the United States, the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools and CAST.

Please contact Senator Collins office to receive an accessible version of the proposed 21st Century Assistive Technology Act.

Fall Detection Assistive Tech

Senior with assistantThe following information comes from Aging in Place Technology Watch a blog maintained by Laurie Orlov. Read the whole article Ten technologies that can help with fall detection in 2019 at this link…

Here are ten example-only fall detection options in alphabetical order, material derived from the company websites or available media:

Apple Watch

“If the Apple Watch Series 4 detects a hard fall while you’re wearing your watch, it taps you on the wrist, sounds an alarm, and displays an alert. You can choose to contact emergency services or dismiss the alert by pressing the Digital Crown, tapping Close in the upper-left corner, or tapping “I’m OK.” If your Apple Watch detects that you’re moving, it waits for you to respond to the alert and won’t automatically call emergency services. If your watch detects that you have been immobile for about a minute, it will make the call automatically. After the call ends, your watch sends a message to your emergency contacts with your location letting them know that your watch detected a hard fall and dialed emergency services.” Learn more at Apple.

FallCall

“FallCall Solutions announced today that FallCall Lite, the only personal emergency assistant for Apple Watch fully integrated into a national 24/7 emergency call center, now supports Apple’s new Siri Shortcuts. Users can record simple phrases like: “Assistance needed,” to contact trained emergency medical dispatchers and/or linked family and friends. “Time is of the essence when someone needs help,” states Shea Gregg, MD, a Trauma Surgeon and the President of FallCall Solutions. “Siri Shortcuts have simplified the ability to communicate and initiate commands on Apple devices. We have harnessed this revolutionary capability to contact family, friends and our 24/7 call center in an emergency. Additionally, FallCall will send location and heart rate information to aid in the response.” Learn more at FallCall.

GreatCall Lively Mobile Plus

“The Lively Mobile Plus, like its predecessor, the Lively Mobile, has the fastest response time, as noted in published medical alert reviews. Its enhanced GPS technology, provided by Snapdragon Wear™ 1100 Platform, enables reliable and accurate locating in emergency situations. The device is equipped with fall detection technology, connecting to an agent when a fall occurs. Features also include the loudest amplified speaker yet for clear two-way communication, improved battery life – up to 80 hours – and a waterproof design so it can be worn in the shower.” Learn more at GreatCall.

MobileHelp

“Our Fall Button provides extra protection by automatically sending an alarm if you fall and are unable to push your button. Our Fall Button is compatible with our Duo, Classic and Solo systems. Along with its Automatic Fall Detecting capabilities, it also has all of the features of our standard help buttons and allows you to send an alert to our US-based 24 x 7 x 365 Emergency Monitoring service by pressing the emergency button. The Fall Button will work approximately 350 feet from the Mobile Device and 600 feet from the Cellular Base Station of our Duo and Classic systems.” Learn more at MobileHelp.

MyNotifi

“MyNotifi is a fall detection device that is worn on the wrist or belt and connects directly to the user’s smart device. Since MyNotifi is worn on the wrist or on the belt line and is smart app driven, it can travel with you maintaining a continuous fall detection signal. In other words, the user is not relegated to the house as is the case if they are linked via a land line. Many or our aged population desire to live at home and MyNotifi allows them to do so, while keeping them in close contact with loved ones.” Learn more at MyNotifi.

Philips Lifeline

“The GoSafe medical alert system is our most comprehensive system; it provides coverage and support wherever you go—whether that’s at home or to the supermarket. In addition to the GPS-enabled pendant, the in-home communicator provides an added layer of connectivity in your home. AutoAlert is designed to detect falls accurately and connect seniors to help in an instant, even if you can’t push the button.” Learn more at Philips.

Starkey Livio AI

“A hearing aid feature, Livio AI benefits from the anatomy and physiology of the human body. During typical, daily activities and instances of falls, muscles in the neck work with the balance system of the inner ear to protect and stabilize the head. Since hearing aids are worn on the head, they are naturally less prone to mistake daily activities for falls than the devices worn on other parts of the body.” Learn more at Starkey.

UnaliWear

“The Kanega watch is a self-contained watch and is not dependent on a connection to a home-based system or a smartphone, so you can get assistance at home or on the go in one simple, stylish watch. We combine cellular, Wi-Fi, GPS, BLE (for hearing aids and telemedicine devices), an accelerometer for automatic fall detection, and continuous speech to provide an active medical alert that works anywhere, along with data-driven artificial intelligence that learns the wearer’s lifestyle to provide predictive, pre-emptive support.” Learn more at UnaliWear.

Vayyar Walabot Home

“Vayyar Imaging, a company best known for its 3D sensor imaging technology, launched a new product called Walabot Home that can detect if a person has fallen and automatically call for help.  Walabot attaches to a wall in the user’s home and is about the size of a small tablet. Users can put in their emergency contact list and if a fall is detected, the system automatically calls their contact.” Learn more at Mobihealth News.

VitalTech Fall Alerts

“With VitalCare, through our innovative PERS wearables, a fall is detected or SOS panic alert is sent. The alert can be configured to phone numbers, emails, or to our medical alert call center. Connect VitalBand to our emergency medical response center for 24/7 safety coverage. Alerts are pushed directly to our call center for quick response. Seniors quickly get the help they need to prevent serious complications associated with falls.” Learn more at VitalTech.