November 2011

Aging in Place Technology Watch November 2011 Newsletter

With tablets, eReaders and smart phones, will individual home broadband matter? I wonder why more isn’t written about rural broadband and FCC initiatives that are intended to expand broadband access at the same time tablet, eReader and smart phone use is exploding?  A data plan for your smart phone or tablet is portable. Some eReaders have built-in 3G cellular services that enable downloading of (some) free books. Carriers may soon lose interest in promoting low-cost broadband for seniors if they ever really cared about it at all. This may soon make the deployment of tablets, smart phones (currently kind of dumb) and eReaders the best way to bring older adults online and connected to family, friends and services. >>> Read more . . .

2011 Tech Gifts for Seniors

Last year's list of tech gifts that keep on giving is still pretty accurate in terms of categories -- eReaders and eBooks, video communication devices, game-related and music-related.  But be thankful, tech time marches on, and there are more variants of each, plus some new items to consider -- if you're in aging services or senior housing, pass some ideas along to residents or clients: >>> Read more . . .

Tablets and smart phones – stifling our communicating selves

To type or not to type – that is the tablet question. A long time ago in a cubicle far, far away, one fingered poking at keys sent a clear message – this person can’t touch type. Must have missed the high school typing class in favor of shop.  I knew many one-fingered programmers, back in the day – they advanced to management quickly to avoid exposure as the typing frauds they were. They weren’t big on writing longhand letters, and voluminous e-mails were not strengths. But authors, journalists and now bloggers (all 156 million of them) know that their strength is in paragraphs with punch AND punctuation, clauses, and…even upper-lower case. But with tablets and smart phones, the era of richness in typed text may be near an end – watch the swiping users to know of what I speak. >>> Read more . . .

Opt in or Opt out – when a useful service resembles spam

How not to deal with leads. I left my business card at an aging services event recently – and someone at the company was assigned to do something with it. Their approach, contact me through a robo-call to enroll me in their message broadcasting service that was not appropriate for my type of business.  The authoritative recorded voice threaded its way through a description and finally spelled out the menu choices – if you want to hear more (about this lengthily described offering), press 4. But I didn’t want to hear more, so I waited for more choices, pressed another option and was led to another option, and finally got a recorded voice of a specific person (this was during business hours) for me to leave a message with information that would enable my number to be removed. >>> Read more . . .

When tech has too much press, too little lasting presence

Research projects as products-to-be.  Remember the iShoe?  A hopeful research project, led by Erez Lieberman at MIT who won a prize in 2008 for designing it. It was to be tested by Ohio Health, to be available as a product in 2010 for $100.  Someone asked me about it recently – sadly, there is no iShoe for you to buy. Maybe Ohio Health had some difficulty emerge during testing.  Of course, there is also no article announcing the end of the iShoe project and concept.  People remember it, though, and they confuse it with the now-available GPS shoe >>> Read more . . .

Eliciting a life story – a responsibility to aging seniors

Veterans Day is a reminder of a well-recorded past. Watch aging veterans assemble in parks, read about Honor Flight – where veterans aged 83 to 100 are flown from across the country to Washington to visit the World War II and other memorials. Veterans Day is a moment in which the history and backgrounds of individuals are celebrated, speeches are given, flags are waved.  Sit next to veterans at one of these events and they will proudly tell you about the remembered past.  I wonder how many of them, though, have actually left a recorded (or video) version of that remembered past for family members? >>> Read more . . .

A case for cameras -- augmenting the view of small assisted living

Should video monitoring be required in small assisted living homes?  In recent Senate testimony, ALFA president Rick Grimes sounded a bit defensive about the regulatory oversight of assisted living facilities (ALFs) in Florida (aka 'group homes' in other states). Let's back up: Even when multiple residents died of abuse and neglect and inspections revealed multiple violations, the Agency for Health Care Administration didn’t close these troubled small homes down. Says Mr. Grimes: regulation in all fifty states (aka 50 different sets of regulations) is plenty adequate, and by the way, each state’s seniors are ‘different’ -- the Florida deaths were due to ‘management’ issues. >>> Read more . . .

Recently Announced Technologies for Aging in Place

It’s a few months before CES 2012 and a flurry of new product announcements will soon flutter out leading up to and including the Silvers Summit and Digital Health events in Las Vegas. Ahead of those to-be-determined announcements, other companies (and one core technology) have announced offerings worth noting that can help seniors and/or caregivers of seniors and deserve a heads-up to learn more via the links below. Information here is quoted from the press or vendor announcement: >>> Read more . . .