Baby Boomers Are The First Tech-Savvy Retirees

This article comes to us from Huffington Post. With increasing use of wearable technologies, robotic assistants, home automation, and a whole range of welfare technologies to support independent living, safety, and health, this generation of retirees are doing it differently than we have seen before!

Baby Boomers Are The First Tech-Savvy Retirees — And Have The Home Renovations To Prove It

08/11/2015 9:36 am EDT by  Sr. Editor | NowItCounts.com

Newest retirees want state-of-the-art technologies in homes and home offices for consulting work.

Time to throw out the notion of the “stuffy” grandparents houses like we used to visit in our childhoods. Continue reading

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October 1:  International Day of Older Persons

With advances in medicine helping more people to live longer lives, the number of people over the age of 60 is expected to double by 2050 and will require radical societal change, according to a new report released by the WHO for the International Day of Older Persons (1 October).

Source: WHO | WHO: Number of people over 60 years set to double by 2050; major societal changes required

See also:

WHO Fact sheet on Ageing and Health

WHO World Report on Ageing and Health (full report) (executive summary)

Lack of focus on Aging in the UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDGs

This is a follow-up to my other post, Aging and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In that post, I discussed the launching of the Goals and the UN Population Fund’s summary of the goals – which disappointedly did NOT address aging or older adults. In this post, I look deeper into the Goals, reading all 17 and their 169 associated targets to see where aging is specifically addressed. I think I’m gonna need a coffee to get through them all 🙂  Continue reading

Aging and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Here at WHO in the UN City in Copenhagen, we will be celebrating the launching of the goals on Monday, September 28th. We will be having a little ceremony with the presentation of the Sustainable Development Goals, a symbolic soccer match in the building lobby, a reception, and raise the new Global Goals flag.

When I first walked into the building and saw the large display of the goals (see my picture below), I remember pausing to read them and not seeing any direct action towards promoting healthy aging or dementia and feeling a bit frustrated. But, I also hadn’t read the Goals yet so didn’t want to be so quick to judge. Continue reading

Internship on Age-Friendly Cities Initiative

Internship with the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-friendly Cities

In January, 2013, I started a 3-month internship with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe. I will be working on how to incorporate eHealth in the Age-friendly cities initiative. I will be posting some updates here on how the internship is going and how gerontechnology will be playing a role in Age-friendly cities.

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Healthy Aging at Culture Night in Copenhagen

This upcoming Friday, October 9, 2015, there is Culture Night in Copenhagen!

The Center for Healthy Aging out of Copenhagen University is offering insight into the latest research from a multitude of different angles – there is something for everyone. Continue reading

Great technologies for rehabilitation

While researching wearable technologies that support life with dementia, I came across several other technologies that I see as being useful in clinical applications, especially in rehabilitation. I thought I would start to compile a list here to spread the word on some of the really innovative and useful technologies that are out there.

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Wearable technologies that support living with dementia

Wearable devices are:
Wearable:  the device is worn on the body throughout its use, it should not need to be carried.
Controllable:  the device is controllable by the user, either actively or passively.
Enhancing:  the device will augment knowledge, facilitate learning, or enhance experiences.

One of my posts on Wearable Technology was viewed by a lot of people in the first week I posted it on my other blog (80 is a lot in my world!). When I originally came across the website (which I only summarized and repeated the information), I had intended to comb back through and discuss which ones could be relevant for many carers and people with dementia. This is what I have done my PhD on (you can read more at PhD is Finished!, with pictures!), so I am particularly excited to do this. This list is compiled with the intent for supporting living with dementia and in care, and many of the technologies will be appropriate for home care. Continue reading

Playgrounds for Seniors Improve Fitness and Reduce Isolation

I found this article on Huffington Post a few weeks ago. Hope it gives you some inspiration!

We have outdoor workout stations in parks like this here in Denmark. They aren’t marketed or talked about as playgrounds for adults, but rather as public exercise equipment.

Playgrounds For Seniors Improve Fitness, Reduce Isolation

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Preschool + Elder Home = Awesome intergenerational program!!

This forward-thinking program brings a preschool in to a home for elders. This provides a meaningful interaction for everyone involved – the children, the elderly, the teachers, and the family members. I really hope this catches on!

Watch the video, read the article, and donate to their Kickstarter campaign! Enjoy!

From chonday.com:

‘Present Perfect’ was filmed at the Providence Mount St. Vincent retirement home in Seattle, Washington, also home to the Intergenerational Learning Center. Stepping into most any nursing home, it’s hard to ignore the sense of isolation one feels on behalf of the residents living there, and even harder to reconcile that with the fact that old age will inevitably come for us all. In our fast-paced, youth-obsessed culture, we don’t want to be reminded of our own mortality. It’s easier to look away. This is a film about the very young and the very old, yes. But it’s also about something bigger, something harder to pin down, but so essential in every way. It’s the experience of life in a multigenerational, interdependent, richly complex community that, more than anything else, teaches us how to be human.

From Present Perfect’s Kickstarter campaign:

“Connections between generations are essential for the mental health and stability of the nation.” -Margaret Mead

Why is this film important?

Present Perfect explores the very real experience of aging in America- both growing up, and growing old. It was filmed in a preschool housed completely within a retirement home, powerfully capturing the subtleties and complexities of the young children’s interactions with the elderly residents, while challenging us to consider what we’re doing- and what we’re not- to prepare future generations for what’s to come. What value does a person have to others throughout their life? Are we asking for the right contributions from each other? How do we measure and define a successful life? While this film doesn’t shy away from confronting some difficult realities, it is ultimately a life-affirming story of hope that, we believe, just might lead to serious positive change.

The Present Perfect team is asking you to join us by helping us raise the money we need to create a rough cut of the film, and bring this unique and valuable story to life. We need your support to make this happen!

ABOUT THE FILM

The inspiration for Present Perfect stemmed from a longstanding desire to explore the experience of aging in America. As a filmmaker, I’m drawn to simple, subtle stories that provide a framework for much bigger ideas, stories that promote reflection, revealing new layers of complexity that ultimately expand our way of thinking about a particular topic and even, perhaps, our entire world view. I love films that really make you think– and not just in the moment, but for days, weeks, even months following. After spending a few days observing the residents and kids at The Mount, I knew this was one of those stories.

Stepping into most any nursing home, it’s hard to ignore the sense of isolation one feels on behalf of the residents living there, and even harder to reconcile that with the fact that old age will inevitably come for us all. In our fast-paced, youth-obsessed culture, we don’t want to be reminded of our own mortality. It’s easier to look away.

When I heard about the Mount and its Intergenerational Learning Center, I was struck by the simple perfection of the concept. I was further intrigued by the idea that with neither past nor future in common, the relationships between the children and the residents exist entirely in the present. Despite the difference in their years, their entire sense of time seems more closely aligned. As busy, frazzled, perpetually multi-tasking adults, we are always admonished to live ‘in the moment’. But what does that mean? And with the endless distractions provided by our smart phones and numerous other devices, how can we? I was curious to observe these two groups, occupying opposite ends of the life spectrum, to see firsthand what it meant for them to simply be present with each other.

Shooting this film and embedding myself in the nursing home environment also allowed me to see with new eyes just how generationally segregated we’ve become as a society. And getting to know so many of the amazing residents of the Mount really highlighted the tremendous loss this is- for us all.

Over the course of the months I was filming at the Mount, I observed many incredible exchanges between residents and kids. Some were sweet, some awkward, some funny- all of them poignant and heartbreakingly real. One experience in particular occurred during a morning visit between the toddler classroom and several residents who had gathered to sing songs together. Everyone had just finished a rendition of “You Are My Sunshine” when one of the residents began to share a memory he had of singing that very same song late at night on a bus full of soldiers while serving overseas during World War II.

The clarity with which this gentleman recalled this era of his life so many years ago was breathtaking- the memory seeming to appear before his eyes as he spoke. And though the kids were too young to understand his words, the fact that their presence provided a catalyst for his recollection just seemed to fit in a ‘circle of life’ kind of way. I’ve reflected on that moment many times since- it was beautiful and profound, and I was grateful to have been there to witness it. Those small, quiet moments are often the ones that contain the most meaning, and sadly are also the ones that most of us are too busy and distracted in our day-to-day lives to notice.

This is a film about the very young and the very old, yes. But it’s also about something bigger, something harder to pin down, but so essential in every way. In the words of Susan Bosak, founder of the Legacy Project, “It’s the experience of life in a multigenerational, interdependent, richly complex community that, more than anything else, teaches us how to be human.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Project Status

Present Perfect was filmed at the Providence Mount St. Vincent retirement home in Seattle, WA, also home to the Intergenerational Learning Center, over the course of the 2012-2013 school year. This project has been one gigantic labor of love, funded entirely out of my own pocket for the first two years. I invested in new camera and audio equipment so that I could function as a one-woman crew and truly embed myself in the environment. I paid babysitters to watch my kids so that I could film three times a week for the entire school year, and I’ve spent countless hours applying for grants and pitching this film to as many people as possible. All of this in addition to juggling my regular paid work as a freelance producer and adjunct professor of film! And it doesn’t stop there. Numerous friends and colleagues have generously donated their time and talents to help get the film to where it is now, while a handful of friends and family contributed funds allowing me to hire an editor to help put together the trailer you see above. I am so grateful to everyone who has had a hand in seeing this project get off the ground.We are well on our way!

Now we need to raise enough to complete the edit. That’s where you come in! All of the feedback I have received from industry professionals as well as regular folks has been extremely positive! The project was even awarded a grant in 2013 by Artist Trust, an organization that supports Washington State artists. People are intrigued and want to see more! In order to make that happen we need to bring on an experienced documentary editor to provide a fresh perspective and help to shape the story from the amazing footage we have to work with. Fortunately the film has been shot already- the footage is in hand! But post-production is not cheap. We need to raise at least $50,000 to pay for the edit of this film.

HOW YOU CAN HELP!

For those of you who may not be familiar with Kickstarter, it’s an all or nothing deal. We have to raise the full amount in order to get any money at all. Any donation, no matter how small, helps in a major way! The goal is to get this project seen by as many people as possible. So in addition to giving to the campaign, you can also help by sharing this Kickstarter page and spreading the word via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, phone, bike messenger, telegram, or by simply shouting it from the mountain tops!

We’ve set a goal of raising $50,000 to pay for the edit, but with $75,000 we could cover some additional costs necessary to complete the film including:

  • composition of an original score
  • color correction
  • sound mix

So if we make it to $50,000- let’s keep going!

All of the money raised by this Kickstarter campaign will go directly toward the editing of this film. We have high hopes for this project and are committed to seeing it reach its full potential. With your help, it can happen!

From GOOD MORNING AMERICA:

What would happen if you paired the very young with the very old?

It’s being done at a preschool in Seattle, where child care takes place throughout a campus which is also home to more than 400 older adults.

Called the Intergenerational Learning Center, the preschool is located within Providence Mount St. Vincent, a senior care center in West Seattle. Five days a week, the children and residents come together in a variety of planned activities such as music, dancing, art, lunch, storytelling or just visiting.

And now this incredible place is about to have its own film. Called “Present Perfect,” it was shot over the course of the 2012-2013 school year by filmmaker Evan Briggs, who is also an adjunct professor at Seattle University. Funded completely out of her own pocket and shot by her alone, Briggs has now launched a Kickstarter to fund the editing of the movie. She has more than $45,000 of her $50,000 goal with 15 days to go.

Interestingly, the parents of the students don’t send their kids to the Intergenerational Learning Center primarily for the experience with the seniors. “It’s got a great reputation and great teachers,” said Briggs. But parents of kids who were in the class that she embedded herself in for the school year now tell her they see the benefit of the model. “One father told me that he especially sees it now that his own parents are aging.”

She named the film “Present Perfect” she said, as a reference to the fact that these two groups of people — the preschoolers, who have almost no past and so much future and the elderly who such rich past but very little future — really only have a few years of overlap in their lives.

“It’s also about being in the present moment,” Briggs said, “something so many adults struggle with.”

Briggs said the moments between the kids and the residents “sweet, some awkward, some funny — all of them poignant and heartbreakingly real.”

Briggs hopes her film will open a conversation about aging in America. She writes on her Kickstarter, “Shooting this film and embedding myself in the nursing home environment also allowed me to see with new eyes just how generationally segregated we’ve become as a society. And getting to know so many of the amazing residents of the Mount really highlighted the tremendous loss this is for us all.”

She called the preschool a “genius” idea that is “well within our reach” on a larger scale and hopes the idea expands to other schools around the country. “It’s a great example of how we integrate the elderly into society.”

8 Smart Ideas for Aging in Place

 |  By : 03/05/2015 

For related information, see my post on my work with the WHO on the Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities.

Baby boomers have long proclaimed their desire to stay in their homes post-retirement, a practice known as aging in place. They want to stay in the communities where they have friends, know their way around and have a support network. Cities and communities have “heard” them and many places are preparing for the groundswell of what happens when their residents creep up in years. Building a senior citizen center is nice, but clearly there’s more to it than having a place to play Bingo. Here are a few of the programs and trends that are making a difference in the lives of the nation’s aging population.

1. Solve the “driving is my independence” problem once and for all.
Older drivers have slower reaction times and more vision issues. Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase starting at age 75 and increase notably after age 80, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But the ability to drive is synonymous with independence and independent living, so many older people are reluctant to give up their automobiles.

Twenty years ago, inspired by a desire to keep unsafe drivers off the road after an 84-year-old motorist struck and seriously injured her toddler son, Katherine Freund started the Independent Transportation Network. ITN was launched in Portland Maine and has now spread to 25 cities. People who are 65 or older (or visually impaired), pay a modest fee and are provided a ride to where they need to go, a door-to-door escort and assistance. Forty-six percent of ITN customers have an annual income of less than $25,000 and only 2 percent found the service too expensive.

Best of all, seniors can trade in their cars and earn ride credits. Rides are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for any purpose.

2. Acknowledge the need to sit down.
Age-Friendly NYC wants to encourage older adults to get out to walk, shop and socialize. So the goal of this program is to install 1,500 park benches throughout the city for people to sit on. Before you scoff, remember that New York is the city that doesn’t sleep. It also doesn’t stop and rest much. There are 1 million people over 65 living in NYC, and by 2030 this number is expected to increase by 50 percent, according to the program’s website. Age-Friendly NYC also connects older New Yorkers to opportunities at NYC-area colleges and universities.

3. Make it easy to keep the brain active.
The Bernard Osher Foundation has established Lifelong Learning Institutes for adults 50 and older on 119 college and university campuses. Many community campuses allow those 65 or older to audit free uncredited courses.

Publications are printing more large print books too. Large-print crossword puzzles and word-solving games are also available.

4. Understand that eating healthy food keeps people healthier.
While everyone knows about Meals On Wheels, which delivers already prepared meals to shut-ins, not everybody wants to stop cooking for themselves. Buying groceries though can involve the need to drive and/or carry heavy bags home. In 2014, the Food For Free programs in Cambridge Massachusetts distributed 1.5 million pounds of food. It began its home delivery program in 2001, serving 12 clients that first year. Now it’s up to about 100 housebound elders. It gives seniors and people with disabilities more control over their meals, while providing a supportive service that helps them to stay in their own homes, says the group’s website. Two 40- to 45-pound food deliveries are made each month to clients and half the food delivered is fresh produce.

And there’s Mom’s Meals, which for less than $7 a meal will deliver freshly made meals that just need to be heated up and can keep up to 14 days. Mom’s Meals ships by FedEx and offer menus for diabetics and heart patients, vegans and those who are gluten-free.

5. Doctors who make house calls.
While doctors making house calls used to be a common practice a few decades ago, it’s practically unheard of now. But it’s enjoying a second life in North Carolina. Doctors Making Housecalls is a medical group of 52 clinicians who make more than 75,000 home visits a year in private residences, retirement communities, apartments and assisted living facilities in North Carolina. This is an idea that’s bound to spread, along with some routine medical procedures being handled online.

6. Encourage the building of more lifelong housing.
Rogue Valley, Oregon, has a “lifelong housing” certification program whereby home builders and sellers can have their homes certified as such. The checklist of desirable housing features includes a no-step entry, a first floor full bath, etc. The certification levels are noted in MLS listings so homebuyers seeking age-friendly/multi-generational housing can more easily find appropriate housing and housing creators will hopefully be more encouraged to create age-friendly housing, says AARP.

7. Build a park and they will come.
A vacant field in Wichita, Kansas, was turned into a grandparents park — an outdoor space that children and grandparent (caregivers) could enjoy together. http://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/info-2014/grandparents-park-wichita-kansas.html

8. Help keep people active.
Brownsville, Texas, has a very poor, overweight population with high diabetes rates. One in four residents is age 50 or older. The city hosts several “CycloBias” a year in which streets are closed off to cars so that people can walk, bicycle and participate in health-targeted activities.

Preventing cognitive decline in the younger generation

Millennials Have the Power To Prevent Their Own Cognitive Decline. Here’s How.

Millennials Have the Power To Prevent Their Own Cognitive Decline. Here's How.

The 18-to-34 set is the first generation to have information at their fingertips that can help prevent memory loss conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. It starts with your diet. (Photo: Getty Images) 

Alzheimer’s is not a disease that strikes suddenly. Research shows that like diabetes and heart disease, it is a slow decline toward a devastating end.

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Being outdoors and traveling with dementia

This post comes from the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry. It’s an international collaborative formed to launch a new era of Alzheimer’s prevention research. Go ahead an check out their website when you’re done reading!

As the weather warms up, our thoughts naturally turn to outdoor activities and travel. These activities can be challenging for someone with Alzheimer’s, but they can also provide powerful ways to enrich their lives and brighten their spirits and yours. As an Alzheimer’s caregiver, though, you’ll need to plan carefully for each outing or journey.
Going Out
Getting outside can be a good activity both for someone with Alzheimer’s and for their caregiver. Some activities can be enjoyed close to home, such as taking care of (or just watering) plants in the garden or yard. If you and your person with Alzheimer’s are comfortable with it, you can also plan trips to a botanical garden, museum or art exhibit, or to the pool (at a quiet time) or park. You’ll want to plan outings for the time of day when the person is at his or her best. And, be sure to keep outings from becoming too long, since you’ll want to be careful that the person with Alzheimer’s doesn’t become tired or confused.
Travel
Travel presents special problems for someone with Alzheimer’s because it naturally takes them out of their home routines. To test whether travel is a good idea or not, you might plan a “staycation” first by spending the night at a hotel in your town or city and eating three meals out. If this experience causes the person with Alzheimer’s distress, travel may not be a good idea.
When you do travel, if you can, go with another friend or family member, and be sure to have help at the airport or train station. Bring personal items or keepsakes that you know will comfort the person with Alzheimer’s, and also be sure to have copies of important phone numbers, documents and medical records, just in case. Also, be prepared for your person to wander in the airport or train station if given the opportunity. You may want to dress him or her distinctively and to include an ID bracelet as part of the wardrobe. It’s often helpful meet with a doctor beforehand to discuss medications that may calm someone who becomes distressed.
When you arrive at your destination, try to maintain a routine as close to your home rhythm as possible: schedule meals, sleep and bathroom breaks at the same time as at home, for example. At night, be sure to have a light on in the bathroom and a clear path to get there. Leave plenty of time for rest, and don’t plan too many activities. Finally, be prepared to cut your visit short if the situation turns out to be too much for the person with Alzheimer’s.
Resources:
Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
National Institute on Aging:
Alzheimer’s Association:
Upcoming Webinar:
Dementia Dialogues: Planning Successful Travel
Just in time for summer travel, learn tactics to make your trips as successful as possible.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 3-4 pm Eastern

Træner sig til bedre hukommelse

Mennesker med demens træner sig til bedre hukommelse

Skrevet af Ritzau den 12. maj 2015 

Træning hjælper Alzheimerpatienter til at huske og koncentrere sig. Alzheimerforeningen: Giv alle tilbuddet.

Som de første i verden har en gruppe danskere med Alzheimer bevist, at fysisk træning styrker de intellektuelle evner og samtidig øger livskvaliteten.

Når kroppen sættes i bevægelse, støttes hukommelsen og koncentrationsevnen, ligesom motionen har en gavnlig indvirkning på den uro, som mange patienter med Alzheimer lider af.

“Vi kan se, at patienter, der træner fysisk, opnår en effekt på flere områder. De fungerer bedre i deres hverdag, og i bedste fald kan motionen have en bremsende effekt på sygdommen,” siger forskningsleder, professor Steen Hasselbalch, Nationalt Videnscenter for Demens til Ritzau.

I alt har 200 patienter ramt i lettere grad af den alvorlige demenssygdom siden 2012 deltaget i projektet. Halvdelen trænede gennem 16 uger i fællesskab med andre og under overværelse af fysioterapeuter. Den anden gruppe fik ingen træning.

Det primære mål var at styrke evnen til at huske og koncentrere sig, hvilket lykkedes for to ud af tre patienter. Det var den gruppe, som mødte op til 80 procent af de tre ugentlige træninger, og som trænede med en så høj intensitet, at de blev forpustede.

“De oplevede en effekt på deres mentale tempo, opmærksomhed og koncentration,” siger Steen Hasselbach.

Endnu er det for tidligt at fastslå, hvorfor motion indvirker positivt på hjernen. Men det kan muligvis skyldes, at musklerne under træning udskiller stoffer, der menes at have en beskyttende og stimulerende effekt på neuronerne.

Men forklaringen kan også være så enkel, at patienterne sover bedre og i det hele taget føler et større velvære, når de træner, og dermed får lettere ved at klare dagligdagen.

I Alzheimerforeningen opfordrer direktør Nis Peter Nissen Folketinget til at pålægge kommunerne at tilbyde alle med Alzheimer fysisk træning.

Det vil ikke alene gavne patienter og pårørende, men også spare indlæggelser og plejehjemspladser.

Training for better memory

People with dementia train for better memory

Written by Ritzau May 12, 2015

Training helps Alzheimer’s patients to remember and concentrate. Alzheimer’s Association: Give all the offer.
As the first in the world, a group of Danes with Alzheimer proven that physical exercise strengthens the intellectual ability and increase the quality of life.

When the body starts to move, support memory and concentration ability, like exercise has a beneficial effect on the unrest that many patients with Alzheimer suffer.

“We can see that patients who exercise physically achieve an effect in several areas. They function better in their daily lives, and, at best, exercise can have a delaying effect on the disease,” says research leader Professor Steen Hasselbalch of the National Dementia Research Center.

A total of 200 patients affected by dementia since 2012 participated in the project. Half trained through 16 weeks in a community with others and in the presence of physiotherapists. The other group received no training.

The primary goal was to strengthen the ability to remember and concentrate, which was achieved in two out of three patients. It was achieved in the group who showed up to 80 percent of the three weekly training sessions and trained with such a high intensity that they were out of breath.

“They saw an effect on their mental speed, attention, and concentration,” says Steen Hasselbach.

It is still too early to determine why exercise has a positive effect on the brain. But it may be due to the fact that muscles secrete substances that are believed to have a protective and stimulating effect on the neurons during exercise.

But the explanation can also be simple so that patients sleep better and in general feel a greater comfort when they train, and thus find it easier to cope with everyday life.

In the Danish Alzheimer’s Association, President Nis Peter Nissen urges parliament to require municipalities to offer physical exercise to everyone with Alzheimer’s disease.

This will not only benefit patients and relatives, but also save admissions and nursing home places.