This week’s round-up includes another eclectic group of the latest innovations in senior care technology.
From a nationwide wireless provider weighing in on home health care, to a futuristic take on grandpa’s walking cane, companies continue their focus on seniors’ health and well-being.
While some are geared toward allowing seniors to age in place with home monitoring gadgets, others aim to improve cognitive functions through tech education. Read on:
1. AT&T Teams Up with Numera on “Personal Health Gateway”
To respond to a growing population of aging baby boomers, AT&T has announced that it will be the wireless network and location services provider for Numera Libris.
Libris brings together home health management and a personal emergency respond system (PERS) in one simple, mobile solution.
This “Personal Health Gateway” integrates safety functions including mobile emergency response services, two-way voice, automated fall detection and tracking with telehealth functionality.
Libris connects with Numera Net telehealth+telecare platform, which enables an individual to upload biometric measurements from a variety of wireless health devices that can be sent to an individual’s extended health care team, including family, friends, and healthcare professionals.
2. Prototype for Futuristic-Looking Cane Enables GPS, Tracks Vitals
Fujitsu, a Japanese information technology company, has developed a prototype that looks like a classic walking cane, only it resembles something out of a sci-fi film, reports Engadget.
“Inside the two-toned elliptical head-piece are a pile of electronics, including Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi and a cellular radio. And at the front of the grip is a small display, consisting of an array of multi-color LEDs. Those little bulbs light up, primarily in red or green, to communicate through simple pictographs. The primary function is to offer directions using the GPS. The LEDs tell you which way to head with simple green arrow animations and alert you to upcoming turns by flashing a red exclamation point.
“This isn’t just a dumbed-down guidance device, however. The GPS can also be used to track movement, while other sensors on board can monitor temperature, humidity and heart rate. There’s a small pad at the top where you place your thumb to get a BPM readout. Should the heat get cranking and grandpa’s heart rate start to climb, a loved one could set a destination for him remotely and lead him to the nearest place to cool off. Fujitsu reps said the current prototype is capable of lasting between two or three hours on a charge, though we imagine much longer battery life will be needed for it to become a practical, everyday solution.”
3. Senior Living Facility Enrolls Residents in Electronic Tracking Program
An assisted living facility in Virginia Beach will be the first in the area to enroll residents with memory problems in an electronic tracking program, reports Hampton Roads.
“The Police Department, which operates the city’s Project Lifesaver effort, has partnered with Kings Grant House to outfit about 20, or roughly half, of the facility’s residents with monitoring bracelets for a six-month pilot program, said Officer Allen Perry, program coordinator for the city.
“Project Lifesaver International, a nonprofit with ties to Chesapeake, works with law enforcement agencies across the country to provide the tracking devices: bracelet transmitters for clients, and receivers and antennas for rescuers.
“The transmitters emit a radio signal at a fixed frequency. When a wearer goes missing, police tune their receivers to the missing person’s signal and comb the area.”
4. Mobile App Helps Alzheimer’s Caregivers Manage Care Plans
The National Alzheimer Center, a division of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, developed “Balance,” a new app designed to help family members better manage caring for an Alzheimer’s patient.
The app aims to facilitate ongoing communication among multiple caregivers, tracking and sharing changes in real-time with the patient’s doctors about the latest developments in the disease and getting vital information about what to expect as Alzheimer’s progresses in their loved one.
“Balance” features include information about living with Alzheimer’s and how to effectively care for someone with the disease; caregiving tips from bathing and hygiene to dressing and handling agitation; medication reminders; scheduling; latest news and research about Alzheimer’s, treatments and other developments; and a network to connect with other family members for working together to provide complete care for their loved ones.
5. New York Launches First Tech-Themed Community Center for Seniors
Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), a New York-based nonprofit that provides free technology education to seniors, announced the grand opening of its Senior Planet Exploration Center on March 7.
The center is the country’s first and only tech-focused community center for those aged 60 and older.
The 2,700-square-foot facility features a state-of-the-art computer lab with 23 high-end workstations, a studio for tablet and smartphone training, video conferencing pods, a video gaming area and an open space for exhibitions, presentations and classes.
“Technology offers profound benefits for older adults. They can finally take control of their health care, easily access benefits information online, remain competitive at for and stay connected through social media or other forms of digital communication,” said Tom Kamber, executive director of OATS.
Written by Jason Oliva