eHealth and improvement of health literacy in older adults – best practices and obstacles

eHealth and improvement of health literacy in senior citizens – best practices and obstacles

03.12.2015By: Ioannis Koutelidas

The implementation of the IROHLA pilot programmes showed positive attitudes of senior citizens towards the use of e-health applications (transfer of health resources and healthcare by electronic means) and m-health applications (delivery of healthcare services via mobile communication devices) for improving and managing their health.

Modern information and communication technology (ICT) can help senior citizens overcome difficulties related to distance from health centres and support them to understand their health issues, improve their communication with care givers and service providers, and enhance informed decision making. Additionally, ICT facilitates more targeted public health and medical interventions, as well as remote diagnosis and monitoring. In general, technology offers tools necessary for families, communities, healthcare professionals and the healthcare system to assist older people to age healthily. ICT creates innovative solutions, such as interventions through the internet, mobile phones, tablets, and video games that can improve the health of older people.

IROHLA’s work on e-health and m-health

The IROHLA project examined several promising practices among different groups of participants, including older adults with low health literacy, using different kinds of technical equipment. Some of these were applications that aimed to increase physical activity and track weight loss, while others supported behavioural change and sleep quality, or were games designed to improve cognitive skills.

One of the pilot projects designed by Prolepsis Institute aimed to improve participants’ knowledge about physical activity and healthy nutrition as well as related behaviours, while exploring attitudes towards ICT-based health applications. The content was based on the Greek National Dietary Guidelines for older people developed by the Prolepsis Institute. This tool enabled participants to set their own dietary and physical activity goals and assess them at the end of a specific period (normally one week) regardless of whether they achieved them or not. The system generated personalised messages based on the assessment of goals.

Research conducted during the implementation of the IROHLA project brought to the surface important learning points and obstacles that need to be carefully examined when developing similar interventions. One of the main conclusions was the need for active and continuous collaboration between application developers, healthcare professionals and researchers. Other matters that should be taken into consideration when designing such applications include simplification of the content and use of the application, and the ability to set short-term, personalised goals.

The importance of considering socio-economic status

In an era of technological innovations, a false perception dominates that all people are familiar with computers, smart phones and tablets. But this is not always true, especially when referring to the older generation. In addition, socio-economic status plays an important role in determining understanding of new technologies and the messages it delivers. That is why these factors should not be ignored when designing e-health and m-health applications that aim to contribute to the reduction of both inequalities between different social groups.

Source: news

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Harvard study of almost 800k lives shows technology reduces medication error

Researchers at Harvard Medical School have demonstrated a new technology can help reduce a widespread problem that harms some 1.5 million people every year – medication error.

Of the valid alerts, 75 percent of them were for potentially life-threatening prescription errors, giving researchers a validation of of MedAware’s probabilistic, machine-learning approach (provided it is based on high-quality, complete underlying data).

Source: Harvard study of almost 800k lives shows MedAware technology reduces medication error

Thanks to AI, Computers Can Now See Your Health Problems

A similar tool could help with early detection of America’s sixth leading cause of death: Alzheimer’s disease. Often, doctors don’t recognize physical symptoms in time to try any of the disease’s few existing interventions. But machine learning hears what doctor’s can’t: Signs of cognitive impairment in speech. This is how Toronto-based Winterlight Labs is developing a tool to pick out hints of dementia in its very early stages. Co-founder Frank Rudzicz calls these clues “jitters,” and “shimmers:” high frequency wavelets only computers, not humans, can hear.

Read the full article by clicking on the title, below.

Thanks to AI, Computers Can Now See Your Health Problems

Hour-long naps may boost mental ability for older adults

Hour-long naps may boost mental ability for older adults

Moderate nappers also had better cognitive performance than short nappers and extended nappers. On average, reductions in mental abilities of non-nappers, short nappers, and extended nappers were around four to six times greater than those of moderate nappers.

Read the full article here:  Hour-long naps may boost mental ability for older adults

7 New Year resolutions for dementia carers

7 New Year resolutions for dementia carers

This article comes to us from Unforgettable.org. Check them out for plenty of tips, ideas, and interesting articles related to memory and dementia:

For those living with dementia it is easy to be forgotten.

For the family and professional carers it can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

Unforgettable can help on every step of the journey with practical advice, specialised products and a supportive community.

7 New Year resolutions for dementia carers

A new year signals a new start, and what better time to reassess life and set some resolutions to help you and your loved one live well with dementia in 2017…

1. Ensure your loved one has sorted out their affairs

If they haven’t already started organising things such as setting up Lasting Power of Attorney or ensuring they’ve written a Will, the New Year could be a good excuse to make them sit down and get organised. The sooner it’s done, the better, because if it’s left too late, or until your loved starts to lose their mental capacity, the process can be more complicated.

2. Help them make their bucket list

A bucket list can help your loved one take back control and add some much needed excitement and purpose to life after a dementia diagnosis. It doesn’t have to be filled with crazy stunts or far-flung holidays. It could be something as simple as visiting a particular city in the UK that they’ve never been to, or trying out a hobby that they’ve never done before.

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Post-Christmas: Worried about a loved one’s memory?

Post-Christmas: Worried about a loved one’s memory?

 Many family members only see each other during the holidays. As parents and relatives get older, seeing them after one year can bring to light some of the physical and/or mental health changes that have been taking place.
This article comes to us from Unforgettable.org. Check them out for plenty of tips, ideas, and interesting articles related to memory and dementia:

For those living with dementia it is easy to be forgotten.

For the family and professional carers it can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

Unforgettable can help on every step of the journey with practical advice, specialised products and a supportive community.

Post-Christmas: Worried about a loved one’s memory?

Spending time with a loved one at Christmas is often the first opportunity family members have to notice symptoms of memory loss. Here’s what to do if you’re worried about someone’s memory.

It may have been a few months since you spent time with family members, but when Christmas comes round, you often find you’re living in each other’s pockets for days (especially if you get stuck indoors with cold, wintry weather and a box of Roses).

So it’s no surprise that it’s often during and after the Christmas break that you may notice changes in a loved one’s memory. Where before they may have seemed quite lucid and able to cope with everyday tasks, suddenly you’re noticing that they’ve deteriorated.

And over the Christmas break, you may find that your normally sharp and ‘with it’ relative seems confused, unsure, withdrawn or even a little depressed, raising concerns that all may not be what it seems.

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Christmas can be an isolating time for people with dementia

Christmas can be an isolating time for people with dementia

This article comes to us from Unforgettable.org. Check them out for plenty of tips, ideas, and interesting articles related to memory and dementia:

For those living with dementia it is easy to be forgotten.

For the family and professional carers it can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

Unforgettable can help on every step of the journey with practical advice, specialised products and a supportive community.

Christmas can be an isolating time for people with dementia

The Alzheimer’s Society has discovered over half of people with dementia see their family less often during Christmas than they did before they were diagnosed

The song may claim ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year’, but for many people with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, it can become the opposite, as Christmas can be very isolating.

That’s what a recent report from the Alzheimer’s Society is hoping to highlight.

They’ve carried out research which has found over half of people affected by dementia find Christmas the most isolating time of the year, with many saying that they actually dread the festive season. Just over half (54%) say the see their friends and family less often over the Christmas period than they did before their diagnosis.

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Make Christmas Day special for a loved one with dementia

Make Christmas Day special for a loved one with dementia

 This article comes to us from Unforgettable.org. Check them out for plenty of tips, ideas, and interesting articles related to memory and dementia:

For those living with dementia it is easy to be forgotten.

For the family and professional carers it can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

Unforgettable can help on every step of the journey with practical advice, specialised products and a supportive community.

 

Make Christmas Day special for a loved one with dementia

 

Are you worried that the person you care for will find it difficult to cope on Christmas Day? Find out how to make the big day enjoyable for the whole family.

Whether you’ve got a houseful of guests on Christmas Day, are invited out for lunch, or are celebrating quietly in your own home, here’s how to overcome all the potential pitfalls and ensure events go as smoothly as possible if you have someone with dementia staying with you.

1. Opening presents

It doesn’t matter how old you are, everyone enjoys receiving presents. A person with dementia might not remember what the occasion is, but if you hand them a present with a smile and say ‘Merry Christmas’ they’ll soon get the idea.

Give them time to open it without feeling rushed. Offer help if they need it but don’t try to rush them. If they don’t want to open it yet, that’s fine too. Leave it until later. A person with dementia can become stressed if they feel everyone’s watching them, so keep present-giving calm and casual.

Try not to take it personally if they don’t seem grateful or don’t react in the way they normally would to a generous or thoughtful gift. Remember, they’re doing the best they can and they still love you as much as they always have.

Watch out for tripping hazards. Presents and wrapping paper scattered all over the floor can be dangerous for a person who’s frail and prone to stumbling. Have a recycling bag ready to clear up wrapping paper and make sure gifts are put somewhere safe

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The 12 rules of Christmas dementia care

The 12 rules of Christmas dementia care

 This post comes to us from Unforgettable.org. Check them out for plenty of tips, ideas, and interesting articles related to memory and dementia:

For those living with dementia it is easy to be forgotten.

For the family and professional carers it can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

Unforgettable can help on every step of the journey with practical advice, specialised products and a supportive community.

If a loved one has dementia you might be worried about how they’ll cope during the festive season. Read our simple guide to help you make Christmas as enjoyable as possible – for everyone.

1. Have a plan

Taking a, ‘let’s see what happens’ approach to the festive season isn’t going to work when you’re caring for someone with dementia. Spontaneous visits can be stressful so make sure to contact anyone who usually drops by (and who your loved one will definitely want to see) and organise dates and times in advance.

2. Trust your instinct

It’s not too late to change a plan you may have agreed to initially but which you’re now worried about. For example, if you’re dreading an overnight stay with Aunty Alice because you know your loved one won’t sleep and could become very unsettled, trust your instinct, confront it now and either cancel the trip or agree to a shorter visit which can be done in a day.

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The dementia carer’s Christmas product check list

The dementia carer’s Christmas product check list

 This article comes to us from Unforgettable.org. Check them out for plenty of tips, ideas, and interesting articles related to memory and dementia:

For those living with dementia it is easy to be forgotten.

For the family and professional carers it can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

Unforgettable can help on every step of the journey with practical advice, specialised products and a supportive community.

The dementia carer’s Christmas product check list

If you’re looking after someone with dementia at Christmas, this last-minute list will ensure you have everything you need to make the festive season go as smoothly as possible.

Let’s face it, most people’s pre-Christmas to-do lists can stretch on a fair bit, from buying presents and food shopping, to decorating and Christmas card-writing. But if you’re also playing host to a loved one with dementia, chances are you’re going to be feeling like that list suddenly got a whole lot longer. Similarly, if you and your loved are heading off to someone else’s house, you want to make sure that you’ve packed all the necessary items they need over the Christmas period.

While there may be a few more things to think about, your best option is to take note of our list of questions and start preparing with suitable products, so that the days before, during and after the Christmas holidays run as smoothly as possible. This could be anything from checking you’ve got enough dementia-appropriate activities to do, to ensuring they’re comfy and warm in their room.

Ask yourself these questions:

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Dementia and dangerous drugs

Drugs

…antipsychotic medication given to elderly people with dementia it should be at the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time and always after all other avenues have been tried and have failed.

A poignant and important article on the use of antipsychotic medications in treating people with dementia – please read and share!

let’s get dead right about dementia and dangerous drugs

 

Where to turn for reliable health information

If you are like the majority of people, you use the internet to search for health information. In fact, during my PhD studies, I found that care partners with someone with dementia look up health information more than the general public. While it is great that there is so much information out there and that people are sharing experiences and research, it can also be overwhelming. Especially if you don’t know how to tell if the information you are getting is accurate and reliable.

Luckily, there is the NGO (non-governmental organization) Health On the Net. They strive to ensure that the public gets safe, quality health information and have trusted sources to go to.

Some 7’300 sites are now formal HONcode subscribers, that is, they have a unique ID number and are indexed by us. About 80 per cent of these are US sites, but the proportion of European and other non-US sites is growing. The HONcode now exists in 34 language versions, in addition to English (see, for example, http://www.hon.ch/HONcode/Chinese/).

They suggest searching on websites belonging to hospitals, universities and government agencies. There are also websites that have obtained HONcode certification, including:

Some other tips:

Look for the HONcode seal, often on the bottom of the webpage.  hon-code

Add the term HONcode to a Google search.

Use Khresmoi, a search engine bringing together certified sites.

Search directly on HON.

Click on the link to check out their infographic for more tips and information:

hon-depliant-patient_en

Active support for self management

be-your-own-hero-300x280

Out of the UK:  Part of the summary of the ten priorities for commissioners, we look at the role of active support for self management in commissioning care in the NHS.

Self-management support can be viewed in two ways: as a portfolio of techniques and tools to help patients choose healthy behaviours; and as a fundamental transformation of the patient-caregiver relationship into a collaborative partnership (de Silva 2011).

Source: Active support for self management

my-condition-my-life

Telehealth helps people with dementia and ‘lost’ words

The study indicates people dealing with aphasia, whether it be from Alzheimer’s, dementia, a stroke or some other neurological issue, can benefit from a telehealth platform that enables them to stay at home and connect with trained specialists, no matter where they’re located.

Video link with specialists helps dementia patients improve communication skills

Source: Study: Telehealth Helps Dementia Patients Recover ‘Lost’ Words

Dementia: investing against the trillion dollar disease

research*eu results features highlights from the most exciting EU-funded research and development projects. It is published 10 times per year in English. The August/September 2016 issue is a special feature on ‘Dementia: investing against the trillion dollar disease’.

research*eu results magazine - August 2016/September 2016

Issue 55 – August 2016/September 2016

Interviews:

  • Julie Wadoux of AGE Platform Europe in Belgium on ‘Stakeholders join forces to create age-friendly environments across Europe’
  • Hubert Martens of Medtronic in the Netherlands on ‘Brain pacemakers without side effects’
  • Dr. Mark Isalan of Imperial College London in the United Kingdom on ‘The long sought cure to Huntington’s disease’

Other highlights:

  • Chest pain treatment offers hope for the fight against neglected fungal diseases
  • What knowledge societies can learn from foraging societies
  • Disrupting the solar energy status quo
  • A deeper understanding about the causes of sea-level rise
  • New interactive app encourages users to adopt healthier lifestyles
  • EU Scientists use silver to make lights shine more brightly
  • New tools and methods to protect Europe’s Critical Infrastructure
  • Innovative stacking technique results in highly detailed images of Mars

 

You can download it for free here:  http://bookshop.europa.eu/en/research-eu-results-magazine-pbZZAC16007/;pgid=GSPefJMEtXBSR0dT6jbGakZD0000VCTF9fYd;sid=a9NobXoofeZodS3fMVj2yhgNyRAUPX37bQA=?CatalogCategoryID=Yriep2Ix6ucAAAEvxusQ_v3E

And check out other issues from research*eu results here:  http://cordis.europa.eu/research-eu/magazine_en.html