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Senior Centers Podcast April 27, 2010

Posted by jeffrahmlow in Uncategorized.
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Microsoft Assisting Seniors April 4, 2010

Posted by jeffrahmlow in Microsoft Technology.
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Cities across the country are finding ways to encourage senior citizens to embrace technology.  Cities including Boston, Miami, and New York City have teamed up with Microsoft to introduce seniors to computers, video, and internet technology.  The program, called the Virtual Senior Center, is a partnership between certain cities and Microsoft.  The goal of the program is to try and help revitalize senior centers and improve seniors lives through the use of technology.

In the Benjamin Rosenthal Senior Center in Queens NY, Microsoft has provided a group of seniors with multiple technological gadgets and assistive technologies that help some elderly in their day-to-day lives at no cost.  This program is very beneficial in New York City because it is home to over 1.3 million seniors.

Seniors can receive in home desktop computers equipped with windows seven, touch screen monitors, and all of the computers include internet access.  The program also provides assistive technology such as such as screen readers and full screen magnifiers for seniors with impairments.

Microsoft hopes the program will encourage senior centers in NYC to purchase their resources along with  giving them the opportunity to sell customized packages to other agencies that serve communities with special needs.

Cell Phone For Seniors March 28, 2010

Posted by jeffrahmlow in Senior Cell Phone.
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A new cell phone called Old Faithful has been specially designed for senior citizens.  The phone has key features geared toward seniors and has a simple layout that makes it user-friendly.

PHONE FEATURES

Text to speech information/Key information- Unlike other cell phones in which the user hears tones when they press the buttons, Old Faithful has a built-in technology that has a female voice that reads the numbers you are dialing.  This feature is especially useful for seniors who have vision loss.

Flashlight- A button on the front of the phone allows you to turn on and turn off the phones flashlight.

SOS Button- A button is located on the back of the phone that once its pressed will call an emergency number.  The number can be whoever the user wants it to be whether it is 911, their doctor, or someone in their family.  If a person is unable to speak and needs help, an SMS message can be sent to the emergency contact notifying them that the person needs help.

Extra large buttons and icons- These features can be helpful for seniors who have arthritis or have vision impairment.

Senior Internet Usage On Rise March 12, 2010

Posted by jeffrahmlow in Senior internet usage.
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A recent interest in seniors use of the internet, sparked a five-year study by Nielsen to monitor senior citizens activity on  the web.  Nielsen, which is a company that specializes in data collection and measurement, ran a study from November of 2004 to November of 2009.

The study found that in the five years, seniors who actively used the internet went up 55 percent.  In the first year of the study their were 11.3 million active seniors on the internet, while the number increased to 17.5 million people in 2009.

Not only did the study find that seniors were going online, but it also found that they are going online more.  The average senior citizen that actively uses the internet spends 58 hours a month on the web.

This study also examined the top online destinations for seniors in November of 2009 and found that Google searches were the most popular.  In November, Google searches for seniors was at 10,253 unique users.  It also found that Facebook and YouTube were third and fourth on the top ten destinations.

Nintendo Wii Benefitting Seniors March 7, 2010

Posted by jeffrahmlow in Wii rehabilitation.
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Some senior citizens throughout the country are finding rehabilitation more fun as doctors and physical therapists use the Nintendo Wii for what is being called “Wihabilitation.”  Wii games are being used by the elderly who suffer from arthritis, have suffered from a stroke, broken bones, or have had recent surgeries.

The Nintendo Wii system, which was originally designed as an innovative next generation gaming system, uses a motion sensitive controller that doctors have found use for in the rehabilitation process.  The unique gaming system requires body movements that are very similar to traditional therapies.   Doctors like this supplemental approach to traditional therapies because it is fun and tends to be less painful, repetitive or tedious. People who have suffered from a stroke can use the system to improve their balance, strength and motor skills.  Therapists and doctors are also using the Wii to encourage joint movement and activity for seniors suffering from arthritis.

The most popular Wii games for rehabilitation among seniors are ones involving sports like baseball, bowling, boxing, golf and tennis.   These are popular because users are imitating actions of animated athletes on the screen.  Doctors like this approach because it has the ability to get seniors doing physical activity in a way which shifts their focus more away from the tedious part of rehabilitation.

Nintendo Wii is allowing seniors to do things they were not able to do when they were younger.  While video games were once thought of as being just for younger people, seniors are embracing the Wii for fun and rehabilitation purposes.

Nana Technology Improving Lives March 1, 2010

Posted by jeffrahmlow in Nana Technology.
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The technological breakthrough of nana technology has a promising future for senior citizens.  Not only is this new technology aiding seniors with health and safety products, but it can also make seniors lifestyles more convenient, help seniors with cognition, as well as aid seniors with whole house management.

These assistive technologies are starting to find their way into homes across the world.  Lifestyle products are mostly used to help make seniors lives more convenient.  While some seniors struggle with regular day-to-day activities, these devices help them to maintain a normal lifestyle.  Computer programs and games are being developed as fun ways for seniors to keep their minds active and aid with cognitionWhole house products are helping the elderly with home monitoring and management.

LIFESTYLE PRODUCTS

Intelligent Telephones: These types of telephones are useful for people who have memory problems.  The company of Intel has developed a phone that uses caller ID to display a photo of the person calling as well as the relationship of the caller.  This product is particularly useful for people with dementia because it also comes up with some notes about the last phone conversation the callers had to help refresh the owners memory.

Mailbox Alerts: Several companies have developed mailboxes that have sensors in them that send an alert to the owner when the mail has been delivered.  This can be useful because it can save seniors several trips to the mailbox.  With some seniors suffering mobility problems, this technology can save them some unnecessary trips.

COGNITION PRODUCTS

Computer Programs That Help With Cognition: These products use computer games that help seniors with cognition along with keeping their minds sharp.  A card game developed at the Oregon Health and Science University has the capability of monitoring cognitive changes in seniors based on the solitaire game FreeCell. This game can help determine those people with memory problems to those who are cognitively stable.

WHOLE HOUSE PRODUCTS

Robotic Nurses: Why have a senior citizen put into a nursing home when a robot can help them with day-to-day tasks?  Robots are being developed that can help brush your hair, fetch items for dinner, and even help pick up elders who have trouble walking.

Nana Technology Aiding Seniors at Home February 22, 2010

Posted by jeffrahmlow in Nana Technology.
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Elderly people across the country are embracing a new technology that is helping seniors to stay at home.   A professor at the University of George Mason in Fairfax Virginia named Andrew Carle  has dubbed this technology “nana technology.”  Nana technology is a technology that is intended to improve the quality of  life for the elderly and is particularly being utilized by the baby boomers.

This new technology has different products out that are helping seniors stay independent including products geared to keeping seniors safe as well as healthy.

New Nana Technology

HEALTH PRODUCTS

“Smart”  Pill Dispensers: Intel is developing pill dispensers that work with location sensors to give reminders to take medicine at the appropriate place and time.  Another company Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee has a dispenser that can be programmed to flash, speak reminders and dispense for up to six days.  This technology can help reduce the number of seniors who have a difficulty managing their medications.

Walking Aids: Walkers are being developed to steer clear of obstacles along with the capability of being retrieved by remote control.  This capability is important because it helps prevent seniors from getting hurt when trying to reach their walker.  Oregon Health and Science Center is developing a cane that can detect pressure as well as other warning signs and sounds an alarm when the user is in danger of falling.

Online Medicine Cabinet: Accenture has developed a online medicine cabinet that uses face recognition software.  This software tells you when you are taking the wrong pill and automatically orders a new prescription when needed.  It also has the capability to monitor vital signs.

SAFETY PRODUCTS

Lifeline Pendant: This device is worn around the neck and with the pressing of a button a wireless signal is sent to a central office to dispatch help.  If someone has fallen, is having a heart attack, or needs medical assistance the simple push of a button can bring help to that person.

Tracking Systems: These devices are used typically for individuals who have Alzheimer’s who are at risk of getting lost.  Some of the more advanced systems can monitor social interaction as well.

Challenges Seniors Face February 14, 2010

Posted by jeffrahmlow in Senior Challenges.
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We all know that as we get older we are not always able to the things we did when we were younger.  Taking this into account, it is important to remember some of the challenges that seniors face in learning to use a technological device.

The biggest obstacles that get in their way are physical, mental and attitude issues.

PHYSICAL ISSUES

- Vision: Most elderly have poorer vision than younger generations.  In particular close up vision can be a concern for seniors.

-Mobilty: Most people think mobilty with older people refers to them using wheelchairs and walkers.  But in terms of mobility concerns using technology seniors suffer from arthritis, fingers damaged from Rheumatoid Arthritis, and less flexibility.

- Comfort: Sitting down for awhile, temperature in the room are some things to take into consideration.

MENTAL ISSUES

- Mental Acuity: Seniors don’t tend to learn as quickly or are as sharp as younger people.  This is something that happens with age and may force seniors to go back and review things they have learned.

- Learning Style: While kids today may be used to learning in chaotic groups, seniors may value politeness and a quiet atmosphere.

ATTITUDE ISSUES

- Technological Backround/Resistance: Growing up in a time when not everyone had a TV and the world was not as technologically advanced can give seniors a sense of hesitancy in adapting to new technologies.

Technology Advancement February 8, 2010

Posted by jeffrahmlow in Changing times.
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As with any person trying to learn something new, one of the biggest obstacles faced in trying to teach a senior citizen about technology is the fear factor.  Getting exposed to something new can be fun, but it also can be intimidating.

Growing up in a time when there was not continual technological growth can make senior citizens less reluctant to embrace technological advancements (I’m generally speaking of people over the age of 65).  This aspect is sometimes hard for younger generations to grasp because they are so accustom to technological change.

Constant invading of innovative technological advancements have become something that is expected in our society today.

The old saying “try putting yourself into someone else’s shoes” is sometimes a difficult thing for younger generations to identify with  regarding senior citizens and technology.

Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and the internet in general have become such a big part of younger people’s lives but can also be a benefit to senior citizens if they embrace the technological advancements.

Internet usage has skyrocketed from 16 million people in 1995 to almost 1,800 million in 2009.

While cell phones, computers, the internet all having so many advantages to them, the fear of the unknown and of learning something new is a tough obstacle for senior citizens to overcome.

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