Promoting Heart Health in Seniors & Their Family Caregivers

A key mission of ours is sharing health information with family caregivers of seniors to help them keep their loved ones healthy and safe throughout the year.

Because of the importance of awareness and education, we wholeheartedly (pun intended) support Wear Red Day for Women and Heart Health Month.

It’s that time of year again to encourage all caregivers to look out for the needs of both their senior loved ones and themselves by improving your lifestyles to protect your heart health.

February is a month-long celebration of Heart Health with one signature event to start it off — Wear Red for Women Day. We can all show our support for this endeavor by simply wearing red on Friday, February 1. It can be an outfit, a tie, a red dress pin or a fancy hat! Whatever red items you have to show everyone you support heart health.

#1 Killer of Women Facts

  • Heart disease is preventable
  • Women fail to recognize the connection between heart disease and their personal risk factors
  • Heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined
  • The Heart Truth campaign to increase awareness for women to take charge of their heart health
  • Heart disease strikes often in middle age but starts early and progresses over time
  • “Now” is always a good time to make positive changes to reduce your risk of heart disease
  • Age becomes a risk factor for women at 55

Heart Disease Risk Factors

You can control your risk factors for heart disease in order to reduce the potential of developing or worsening heart disease for you and your senior loved one.

  1. High blood pressure — 27 percent have hypertension
  2. High blood cholesterol — 35 percent have high cholesterol
  3. Diabetes — 12.6 million women of all ages
  4. Smoking — 17.3 percent are current smokers
  5. Physical inactivity — 53 percent do not meet physical activity recommendations
  6. Overweight — 51.6 are overweight with BMI (body mass index) over 25

Having just one risk factor increases your risk of developing heart disease and your risk skyrockets with each added risk factor. You can tackle your risk factors one by one, but make a change today!

Join me on Twitter @SrCareCorner because all this month I will be linking great information and resources to help you and your seniors stay heart healthy and well all year!

Helping Seniors Avoid Becoming a Statistic by Falling

Here are some scary numbers—one third of all seniors over 65 years old will fall this year, as will one half of those over 80!

There were 5.8 million people over 85 years in 2010 and by 2050 it is estimated that there will be 19 million seniors over 85.

That’s WAY too much falling, too much injury, too many lives changed.  Then again, if it happens to one of your senior loved ones then even one is too many!

Couple the statistics with the fact that seniors currently are responsible for the largest amount of healthcare spending of any age group. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death in elders.

When we start adding up the scope and cost – in both lives and dollars – of falling, we all can see that preventing falls in our senior loved ones is crucial!

We have already covered some tips that you can learn to keep your seniors safe in their home and, hopefully, free from slipping and falling this winter. We have more new tips for your help keep your senior safe.

More Fall Prevention Tips to Keep Your Senior Safe at Home

  1. In addition to installing grab bars in the shower, keep the tile floor and shower free of soap scum that could cause a slip and fall.
  2. Be sure all power cords are tucked away safely and never cross a walking path with a cord. Whenever possible, do not use extension cords, as they can get in the way and cause a trip and fall.
  3. If there are any pieces of furniture that have wheels, consider removing the wheels so that when a senior holds on to walk it won’t skid away taking your senior to the floor.
  4. Don’t just remove throw rugs but also keep the floor clean and clutter free. Do not use shiny floor wax that can be slippery to someone with an unsteady gait. Avoid contrasting flooring materials that can increase confusion for someone with dementia, leading to a fall.
  5. Be aware that pets, especially small pets, can get underfoot and often lead to unavoidable falls in the ones they love the most.
  6. Install night lights in all rooms of the house and adequate lighting in hallways and stairways.
  7. Keep items that are used frequently within reach to decrease the potential for your senior to stand on a chair, step ladder or even a full sized ladder.
  8. Keep a cordless phone or emergency response system near in case of fall.
  9. Reposition furniture in living and bed rooms to allow for clear pathways and unobstructed walkways, especially when needing walkers, canes or other assistive devices.
  10. Clean up any spills immediately and be sure all caregivers know the importance of keeping floor surfaces clean and dry.
  11. Encourage your senior to wear properly fitting shoes, preferably with non-skid soles, even when in the house all day instead of slippery, loose slippers.
  12. Keep your senior healthy with a good diet and enough fluids. Encourage and help them to be physically active to maintain good muscle strength that will help your senior stay balanced for fall prevention.

These are only a few tips; there are many more areas where you can intervene to help keep your senior loved ones safe. You may want to download our free Home Seniorization Checklist for even more suggestions.

Staying vigilant and observing your senior’s home for potential areas of concern that, if unattended, might lead to falls will help keep your senior a bit safer as they age in place.

The Library: Not Just for Children or Checking Out Print Books

Has it been a while since you checked out (pun intended) your local public library? Maybe it’s time! The library and library staff are underutilized resources we can use to help our senior loved ones, especially those aging in place, live healthier and more enjoyable lives. We discuss how to make use of these resources in this episode of the Senior Care Corner Radio Show.

Reading is great brain exercise for our senior loved ones (and the rest of us) and regularly using one’s imagination can have positive impacts on brain health. Even if there’s nobody else around, when we get wrapped up in a good book we not alone but in the world our mind creates from our reading. Beyond reading, libraries are a social hub in many communities, providing many opportunities for seniors.

A study by Pew Research reflects that seniors are the only age group in which less than half reported visiting the library in the last year and we think that represents opportunity lost.

Digital Helping Libraries Bounce Back

Yes, libraries suffered significantly from the budget ax in communities struggling to deal with reduced tax revenue but many have bounced back, aided by a combination of digital technology and staff creativity. Digital books, or ebooks, and online databases are being used by public libraries to extend reduced funding to provide, in some cases, even more resources for patrons.

Not only are libraries making ebooks available, but many library staffers are getting hands-on with their customers (which is how they increasingly see their patrons), showing them not just how to utilize library systems but also how to use the customers’ own devices to access the library and then checkout, download and read ebooks. We’ve heard many seniors praise the staff of their local library for making both the library and their own devices more valuable to them.

eBook Benefits for Seniors

The many benefits digital ebooks offer to seniors include, beyond the content of the books themselves, the following and more:

  • Ability to zoom print to make any ebook a large print book or whatever-size-print-you-want book, making reading enjoyment accessible to even more people;
  • Text-to-voice capability in many e-readers means it’s not even necessary to “read” to enjoy an ebook; and,
  • eBook access through libraries’ websites mean it’s not even necessary for many people to go to the library, making ebooks accessible to those unable or without the time to visit the library.

For those who prefer or need to listen to their books we suggest checking out Audible.com, which has a great selection of downloadable mp3 format books, which are playable on dedicated mp3 players (including iPods), smartphones, tablets and computers. Many of the audio books are priced in line with their ebook counterparts, and at a lower price than print books, putting them within reach of many readers. In addition, Audible.com has subscription plans for regular readers to bring prices down even more.

 News Items in this Episode

  • Is Driving Okay with Certain Age-Related Blind Spots?
  • Early Parkinson’s Patients May Suffer Some Symptoms in Silence
  • Strawberries, Blueberries May Cut Heart Attack Risk in Women
  • EPA Recommends Radon Testing in January

You also need to check out Kathy’s quick tip on creating a winter emergency kit.

We hope you enjoy this episode of the Senior Care Corner Radio Show and find it provides valuable information. We would love to get your feedback and suggestions to help it make it even better.

Podcast Transcript – so you can follow along or read at your convenience

Shingles: What Your Senior Loved Ones – and You – Need to Know

Shingles affects more than one million people each year in the United States, with an estimated healthcare cost over a half billion dollars annually.

1 in 3 people in the United States will develop shingles in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Shingles is a very painful condition caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles is known for its blistering skin rash, often occurring at nerve endings. Once you have chicken pox, the virus becomes inactive and years later will become active in the form of shingles. No one really knows why the virus becomes active — at least not yet.

People over age 60 are more likely to get shingles and those over 65 are seven times more likely to get it. Usually only one attack of shingles will affect each person. If your senior’s immune system is weak, he or she will be more likely to get shingles.  The average cost of treating shingles is $525 per person.

Symptoms of Shingles

  • Pain, burning or tingling usually occurs first
  • Rash often on the spine around to the abdomen or chest as well as the face, eyes and ears
  • Red skin patches followed by blisters
  • Blisters open forming small sores that take about 2-3 weeks to heal
  • Other symptoms include joint pain, headache, fever, or swollen glands

Diagnosis and Treatment

The doctor or healthcare provider can diagnose shingles with a physical exam and questioning. There is no lab test that will diagnose shingles but a skin test may be taken to check for infection.

Medication may be prescribed to fight the virus, such as the antiviral Acyclovir. It can shorten the course of symptoms and reduce the disease’s pain. Also, steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to reduce the swelling and pain. There is no cure for shingles.

Cold compresses, soothing baths, such as oatmeal or starch, and lotions such as calamine may help to relieve any itching and pain. Those afflicted should avoid picking or scratching the rash or blisters. Your senior can cover the sores to prevent others from coming in contact with the drainage.

While shingles is not considered contagious, it is advised to keep seniors diagnosed with the disease away from pregnant women and those who have not had chicken pox, especially when the sores are open and draining.

In the area affected by shingles, your senior may have pain for many months or even years. In the nerves that are affected, he or she may have muscle weakness and even paralysis in motor function.

Shingles Prevention Efforts

Have your senior vaccinated against shingles if over 60, even if they have already had a case of shingles, according to the CDC. The vaccine can prevent or lessen shingles.

Your senior should avoid contact with people who have an active case of shingles with open, draining sores.

If your senior has never had chicken pox, get a chicken pox vaccine.

Knowing as much as possible about shingles can help if your senior develops the condition. Getting treatment early may help lessen the severity and shorten the duration of the outbreak. If you suspect that your senior has shingles, seek medical care quickly.

Have you been through this with your senior? If you have any tips to share, we would love to hear your story!

Foods to Help Seniors Build Strong Muscles

Seniors building muscles? Surely we’re not talking about bodybuilding? No, this is something more critical to their lives, their safety and health – fall prevention.

Falling among seniors is a leading cause of injury, hospitalization and even death. Caregivers have heard this long enough to understand the implications of one misstep for their seniors especially for those aging in place alone.

We are all afraid of the potential for falls, including our seniors.

Often the fear of falling keeps older adults sedentary, which only makes their muscles weaker and increases their risk for falls. It can become a vicious cycle that is hard to break.

We have some ideas to help prevent the loss of muscle and thereby balance that often occurs as our seniors age.

Foods To Help Strengthen Muscles

  1. Sprinkle on the cheese! Add a slice to your sandwich or toast; sprinkle on top of grits in the morning or salads at lunch; add a cheese sauce to your vegetables at dinner; grate some on a slice of apple pie; add shredded cheese to your soups, baked potato or chili; and make au gratin potatoes or vegetables. Snack on chunks of cheese or cheese sticks between meals or put a slice on a cracker.
  2. Drink milk with your meals, it’s not just for breakfast! Add milk to cooking including soups, hot cereal, cream sauces, and replace the water in your family recipe with milk. Drink milkshakes and eat pudding for snacks.
  3. Eggs anyone? Besides having eggs for breakfast, add hard cooked eggs to salads, casseroles, vegetables; beat eggs into mashed potatoes and sauces; add egg white to foods such as puddings, custards, scrambled eggs, and pancake batter to add a punch of protein; or add sliced cooked eggs to sandwiches. Have some deviled eggs as a snack!
  4. Let’s all go nuts! Toss nuts into salads, muffin mix, pancake mix, cookies, cereal, ice cream, yogurt or over vegetables. You can always toss a few into your hand and eat for a snack. Nut spreads such as peanut or hazelnut are great on crackers, toast or English muffins.
  5. Swirl some peanut butter into your ice cream, over a muffin, spread on a cracker, stuff into celery, roll on a banana or eat right from a spoon!
  6. Don’t give up meat! As seniors age, one of the first foods to go from the diet is meat because it is too difficult chew or takes time to prepare. Meat protein is essential to strong muscles so add it in ways that are easier to eat such as ground meat (hamburger patty, meatloaf, meatball, ground sausage); canned meats such as potted chicken, salmon, tuna, or even spam; use chunks of soft meats in casseroles; add strips of chicken to cooked vegetables, casseroles, soups, sauces, or a soft tortilla; add ground meats or poultry to a baked potato; boil in broth or soak in gravy to keep in moist and easy to chew or swallow; add meat or poultry in pureed form to other foods in the meal; and use meats cooked in pot pie that are soft and tender. If you need to use pureed meats, try baby foods for a simple, consistent product in assorted varieties that takes little preparation time.
  7. Beans, beans! Add beans to soups, casseroles and pasta dishes; add to salads; mash into other foods; try tofu in smoothies or just use them as a side dish with your meal.
  8. Supplemental protein: There are protein powder products that you can use to add to the food or beverages you currently eat. There are also foods that have extra protein such as Special K High protein water and some high protein bars and granola bars. This should be a last resort after trying to add food sources of protein to the diet.

Additional Health Tip

Another way to stay healthy and strong: Talk to your doctor about adding a well-balanced multivitamin like Geritol. With essential B vitamins, vital antioxidants and more; Geritol is a great way to help ensure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs on a daily basis.

Being sure that protein sources appear at every meal our seniors eat is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. In addition to physical activity and muscle building activities, our senior’s diet can help them reduce falling and be able to get back up without injury.

So yes, let’s help our senior loved ones build muscles!


Online Healthcare Information – Who Uses It (& How)

Healthcare providers often cringe at the thought of their patients trying to diagnose their conditions online – even while millions are spent on advertising to lure us to one site or another for information about our health. Not surprisingly, much of that is spent by those seeking to “inform” us about their drug or treatment.

Regardless of why we’re doing it, though, a growing number of us are looking to the web for information about our health or that of loved ones.  8 of 9 internet users did just that in the last year, according to a recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Just as many of us went online seeking information on behalf of another person (a family caregiver for their senior loved one, for example) as for their own health needs. We are pondering that insight and others from the report, as well as some tidbits that commercial health information providers probably are receiving happily.

Healthcare Searches – More Potential for Seniors

While we think of seniors having more of a need and thus interest in healthcare issues than other groups, that is not borne out in their use of the internet to learn about health topics. While 75% of web-active younger adults have gone online looking for health information, less than 60% of senior internet users have done so. Is it because seniors’ use of the web is not as advanced, because their confidence in what they find on the web is lower, or maybe because they are more likely to see a health professional on a regular basis? It would be interesting to know.

One thing we found promising, not just for seniors but for Senior Care Corner, is that 14% of all internet users looked online for information related to caring for an aging friend or loved one. Even in that area, though, seniors’ activity lagged well behind other groups. As we know from the response we receive, there are many family caregivers actively seeking information to help improve the life of senior loved ones.

What’s that? You say you’re not a family caregiver? You must have missed our video “You Might Be a Family Caregiver,” because simply searching online for healthcare information addressing the need of an aging loved one makes you a family caregiver!

Online Diagnoses – More Accurate Than Some Might Want to Think

These are some of the interesting findings from the study about adults in the US seeking a diagnosis online.

  • More than 1/3 of adults have sought to diagnose a condition, either their own or someone else’s, online (seniors were least likely to do so).
  • Just over half of those followed up by communicating or meeting with a health professional after going online. Interestingly, the oldest and youngest adults trailed the middle groups here.
  • 4 out of 5 who went online for their diagnosis and then communicated with a health professional had their online diagnosis confirmed.

What we don’t know – the study wasn’t designed for this – is how many of the almost half who decided self treatment was satisfactory were correct and how many suffered as a result.

The study sure seems to indicate there’s value to seeking healthcare information online, though we hope nobody is getting a false sense of security from what they learn and missing out on a truly needed visit to a healthcare professional.

Comparison Shopping for Healthcare (or Not)

4 out of 5 Internet users in the US used the web in the last year to research a product or service they were considering and almost 2 of 5 say they’ve rated a product, service or provider online. That doesn’t extend to healthcare, though, where only 1 in 5 have used rankings on the web.

We find it ironic that fewer are looking at healthcare rankings online because we feel those tend to be more objectively based than many of the reviews you would find for other products and services. Many of those are posted by government agencies or healthcare providers using measures that, while maybe not perfect, would tend to assure more consistency between ratings within a single set of rankings.

Maybe the lack of use says a lot about public awareness of healthcare reviews and rankings than anything else. It’s probably more enjoyable, too, seeking reviews when deciding which car or TV to buy than when trying to determine which nursing home would be the best at meeting Mom’s wants and needs.

Paying for Health Information Unpopular

A quarter of internet users conducting searches for healthcare information hit a point at which they were told they needed to pay for the information being sought. We’re not surprised, as a growing number of information sites are trying to “monetize” by charging for access to some or all of their holdings. Only 2% chose to pay, though, with the vast majority deciding to move on and seek the same information elsewhere. Unfortunately, a small fraction simply gave up out of frustration. Hopefully they found the information they needed from somewhere else eventually.

Those who spend money advertising their healthcare information sites may not be faring much better than the pay-for-information sources (there is probably some who do both, of course). Rather than starting their research by looking on a specific site, 4 out of 5 started at a search engine (such as Google, Bing or Yahoo).

What All This Means

There are many takeaways from this information, enough to justify another whole post or even an episode of the Senior Care Corner Show, so we are likely to revisit this in conjunction with other information. In the meantime, we see these as key points.

  • Family caregivers need to continue stepping up and seeking online healthcare information for senior loved ones while at the same time providing opportunities for seniors to learn how to do so safely and comfortably themselves.
  • More needs to be done to inform the public about web-based reviews and rankings that exist regarding healthcare services and providers (and we will).
  • While it is great to see so many choosing to educate themselves about healthcare online, we need to reinforce the importance of consulting healthcare professionals.

We will be discussing this and related topics much more at Senior Care Corner. We appreciate the resources from Pew Research and find them to be a great source of insight.

Here’s to Our Senior Loved Ones’ Health in the New Year!

Now that we have settled into the New Year it’s a good time for a gentle reminder to get our health improvements back on track.

Many of us have made resolutions – and some of us will even keep them – but as caregivers of senior loved ones it may be us who helped them make their resolutions in order to help them remain as healthy as possible, control chronic disease and prevent any other problems from occurring.

It’s hard to argue with the idea making a resolution to improve our health, but that’s just the beginning, and may be the easy part at that. The real question is how you are going to keep them because resolutions shouldn’t be made to be broken.

Health Reminders to Help Get & Keep Seniors on the Right Track:

  1. Make appointments now for them to get their preventive healthcare needs met. Appointments should include: a checkup with their doctor for an annual wellness visit; immunizations including flu, pneumonia, shingles and others; dental checkup; dilated eye exam; prostate screening; mammogram; hearing checkup; bone density test and blood pressure screenings. Most of these screening tests are covered by Medicare so there is no reason to avoid them.
  2. Make a health history for your senior and yourself. Keep it updated so that everyone will know important health information that can be shared with your healthcare providers. The Surgeon General’s office put together My Family Health Portrait to get you started.
  3. Help your senior stay physically active. Take a walk around the block or drive to a nearby park and from there take a nature walk. Participate in activities that you both enjoy such as Wii golf, bowling, golfing, dancing, gardening, bird watching and other activities that will keep your senior moving.
  4. Help them eat a well-balanced diet that includes a healthy variety of nutritious and nutrient dense foods. Include nutritious between meal snacks if they can’t eat much at one time. Include protein foods at each meal.
  5. Be sure your senior gets a good night’s sleep every evening. Help them create habits that will help them sleep well at night. You might want to review our post Sleep Evading Senior Loved Ones? 10 Sleeping Pill Alternatives for tips on sleep habits.
  6. Make home repairs and installations that will keep your senior safe, such as weather stripping to keep the cold out, handrails in stairways, grab bars in the bathroom, safe flooring, radon detector, smoke detectors and adequate lighting. Don’t forget to have a fire extinguisher handy and a first aid kit fully stocked in case of emergency.

We can assist our senior loved ones to keep their health resolutions and keep them safe at home with a few reminders and an action plan to accomplish our goals as caregivers.

Let us know how you take steps to keep healthy this New Year!

Overcoming the Senior Loneliness That Can Lead to Dementia

Is your senior loved one changing before your eyes – – in a way that worries you?

Many caregivers become concerned about their family members as they age.

We can all see how our seniors’ lives change as they get older. They may have to move into a different home, lost loved ones, such as siblings and close friends, have a decline in their health, change their daily activities or lose interest in their hobbies.

A major concern for family caregivers is that our seniors spend too much time alone. They don’t drive as much as in the past and many won’t drive at night, while some stop driving altogether for safety’s sake. Losing this independence lessens the time spent with friends and family members like they used to do.

Loneliness Increases Risk of Dementia

One consequence of withdrawing from their old activities and social engagements is that seniors doing so are very likely to lead to many days on end spent alone. Some seniors don’t mind being alone and can find things to do to keep themselves entertained, including the internet, reading, small household jobs or other activities, and are seemingly unaffected by isolation. For others, however, being alone that is joined by a feeling of loneliness can be a harmful combination.

We recently found a new study that confirms elderly people who feel lonely are at increased risk for dementia. Researchers stress there is a difference between living alone and feeling lonely.

The results of the study show that, after three years, dementia had developed in about 9% of seniors who lived alone versus 6% in those not living alone. About 11% of those without social support compared to 5% in those with support and 13% in those that said they were lonely compared with 6% in those who did not feel they were lonely went on to develop dementia.

That relates to a 2.5 times greater likelihood of elders developing dementia who were lonely. These statistics are equal for men and women. From this research, it appears that the feeling of loneliness influences the development of dementia.

As family caregivers, we need to remember that being alone is not necessarily a risk for a decline in health by itself, but instead, the feeling of loneliness can be a trigger for dementia.

Seniors Loneliness Can Be Improved with These Strategies

We can help our seniors feel less lonely so that they live a healthier life as they age, no matter how they choose to age in place – alone or with another person.

  1. Get them connected to social media so they can talk with others and meet new people, all from the comfort of their home. There are great interchanges that can take place through social media to keep our seniors’ brains active and help them feel less isolated.
  2. Show them how to use Skype for calling friends and family members no matter how far away. Or you can help them use Facetime on their smartphone to see the people with whom they speak regularly, especially grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Seeing someone’s face when they talk may help make them feel like they aren’t as alone and reduce loneliness.
  3. Sign them up – and get them transportation – to a senior center near you to keep them connected to their community and their peers. They will be able to participate in a variety of programs, activities and events that will keep them physically and mentally stimulated.
  4. Enroll them in a lifelong learning class. Learning something new like how to cook, how to speak a new language, learn to dance, learn to play a musical instrument, how to use their computer, or any other class that will keep them stimulated.
  5. Get them an e-reader that they can use to read new books, travel virtually to remote places of the world, play games and read any magazine they desire. Don’t forget to teach them how to use the e-reader and upload new books or games so they can keep it fresh!
  6. Visit your senior as often as you can and set up a schedule of other visitors who can keep your senior from feeling lonely. Each different visitor will bring a fresh approach and perspective, will tell new stories and can be a great listener for all your senior’s stories.
  7. Set up a calendar with all family near and far, including family friends, church friends and anyone you can count on who also loves your senior, assigning each person their week to send a note, drop a line, or send a funny card to brighten the day for your senior. This one works great — we’ve done it ourselves! Who doesn’t love to get a special delivery in the mail! This will definitely keep the loneliness at bay.
  8. You can also set up a phone tree with family and friends, having each person make a special phone call each week at random times.

These are just a few suggestions to help you keep your senior engaged and help fight off the development of dementia as a result of loneliness. We all need time to ourselves, but too much alone time that leads to feelings of depression or loneliness is not healthy for seniors (and probably not us either).

We hope you will share with us and the community your suggestions for keeping your senior loved one engaged and happy too!

On the Threshold of Magic: 2013 CES Highlights for Seniors & Caregivers

The world’s largest annual innovation event, otherwise known as the International CES, lived up to its billing for 2013. Full of oohs, ahhs, gadgets — oh, and some 150,000 people — the 2013 CES was a combination of fantastic technology reality for today with hints of even more great things tomorrow.

For seniors and family caregivers, the 2013 CES offered some tech for today but more of a sense we are on the threshold of much more, particularly when it comes to digital healthcare technology. In this episode of the Senior Care Corner Show we discuss some of what we saw as CES highlights for seniors and their family caregivers.

Seniors’ Needs Up Front at Silvers Summit

Silvers Summit at the 2013 CES included much talk of technology we have been discussing for a while, along with a sizable helping of what’s in the pipeline.

  • Steady advances in devices making it easier for seniors to connect with the people and information in the world around them.
  • Ongoing question of whether our homes are smart enough to care for those aging in place (hint: not yet).
  • Assuring seniors don’t miss a needed medication or dose improperly.
  • Making driving a safer proposition for our senior loved ones who want to continue doing so.

In addition, there was what is becoming an annual call for innovators to enter the market for senior care technology to help digital tech catch up with the needs of a rapidly aging population.

Digital Health Summit

This was a star-studded event, attracting a lot of attention to an area of technology that was already on the lips of many going into the 2013 CES. Healthcare tech offers both a taste of reality and the promise of much more to come.

  • Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who we often see on CNN, led a panel on advances in healthcare for the military and how they might translate to civilian care.
  • Big Data is all the rage in business today and digital health is no different. The CES discussion reminded us its not the data itself but how its used to provide healthcare and health coaching to patients that is important.
  • “Born Mobile” was made a theme of the 2013 CES from the initial keynote address through the end and healthcare was no different. Mobile devices and apps are starring in healthcare just as they are in communications and most other aspect of life today.
  • Seeing what’s going on in our own brains and using what we see to teach ourselves to do more with our minds was part of an incredible device demonstration by InteraXon.

Smart Homes for Aging in Place

Smart home technology, which allows us to control devices in our home digitally, is moving forward each year. Industry is now making smart appliances and devices; the ability to control the devices is in place; now the industry is (and has been for years) working toward device interoperability to make it simple for us to control all the devices that are becoming available to us. Will making it cost friendly for all of us be next?

We discuss all of these topics and more in our feature segment, with more in depth discussions – as well as conversations with some of the companies involved – in future blog posts and episodes of the Senior Care Corner Show.

We already can’t wait to see what the 2014 CES holds, what advances are made through this year and how much more promise there is ahead.

News Items in this Episode

  • A Brain Pacemaker for Alzheimer’s Disease?
  • Poor Vision Can Isolate Seniors
  • Half of American Adults have Periodontal Disease
  • Telephone Calls from Nurses Reduce Readmissions

Our Quick Tip

  • How to keep seniors safe when viewing emails

Link Mentioned in this Episode

There was far too much great information from the 2013 CES to fit into one episode of the Senior Care Corner show, way too many highlights even. In future episodes and blog posts we will cover more and get into some of the details family caregivers will need to understand and evaluate what’s available and coming to help improve the life of senior loved ones. Please leave us a comment and let us know what areas you would like us to discuss sooner.

Podcast Transcript – so you can follow along or read at your convenience