Designing technology at age 90

This is an awesome National Public Radio story about a 90 year old woman who is using her wisdom and talents to develop technologies for aging adults!

Beskind says as she gets older and faces new problems in the world, she’s thankful she’s a designer. “It makes aging more tolerable, more enjoyable,” she says. “I enjoy the age I’m in. I think it’s one of the best chapters of my life.”

Barbara Beskind, 90, is a designer at IDEO who works with engineers on products that improve the quality of life for older people.

At 90, She’s Designing Tech For Aging Boomers

JANUARY 19, 2015 2:32 PM ET You can also listen to the NPR story on this article: 
In Silicon Valley’s youth-obsessed culture, 40-year-olds get plastic surgery to fit in. But IDEO, the firm that famously developed the first mouse for Apple, has a 90-year-old designer on staff.

Barbara Beskind says her age is an advantage.

“Everybody who ages is going to be their own problem-solver,” she says. And designers are problem-solvers. Beskind speaks while sitting on a couch at the open office space of IDEO in San Francisco. She commutes to the office once a week from a community for older adults where falling is a problem.

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Crowd-sourcing age-friendly locations

AGE-CAP (AGE-FRIENDLY COMMUNITIES ASSESSMENT APP)

 
The Intelligent Assistive Technology and Systems Lab (IATSL) at the University of Toronto (Department of Occupational Science and Therapy) has developed a smart phone app to create a crowd-sourced database of age-friendly locations, called Age-CAP. They are a multi-disciplinary group of researchers (engineering, computer science, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and gerontology) who aim to develop zero-effort technologies (technologies that require zero effort from the “user”) that are adaptive, flexible, and intelligent.
You can read more about their work (and participate in a research study in the Toronto area) on their website.

Age-CAP is a cross-platform smart phone application which aims to create a crowd-sourced database of age-friendly locations. It consists of survey-style forms which allow users to quickly rate the age-friendliness of a location or service. The criteria for rating was developed using the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-friendly Cities guidelines (which I also worked on during my internship with the WHO in Copenhagen), and age-friendly community initiatives in other North American cities.

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Redesigning dementia care

This is a re-post from Crisis Prevention Intervention. Amy Schoenemann gives some great insight into design considerations for care!

Spotlight on Design for Dementia Care: An Interview With PDC Midwest’s Amy Schoenemann

By Terry Vittone | Posted on 06.04.2014

Spotlight on Design for Dementia Care: An Interview With PDC Midwest’s Amy Schoenemann

CPI recently had a chance to catch up with Amy Schoenemann, Director of Design Development and Project Architect for PDC Midwest, a Wisconsin-based architect-led design-build firm that specializes in senior living.

Throughout the last 18 years, PDC has been commissioned by regional and national senior care owner-operators to provide nearly 490 senior care projects in 27 states, and they are on the forefront of the trend in memory care facilities toward designing environments that engage and support residents.

Firms like PDC Midwest are of special interest to CPI’s Dementia Care Specialists, because we believe strongly that physical environments are critical components of successful memory care programs, where the combination of specialized care and environment create an optimum level of function, safety, and quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s/dementia.
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Alzheimer’s disease death rate by state

A look at the most common causes of death by state

Article By 

Two months ago, I wrote about the fun and the pitfalls of viral maps, a feature that included 88 simple maps of my own creation. Since then I’ve written up a bunch of short items on some of those maps, walking through how they can both illustrate great information and hide important details. At one point, I said I was done with these. Well, I wasn’t. Here’s another, on death. Enjoy!

The data used to create the table below are from a 2008 CDC report that’s based on numbers from 2005. Ideally, we’d have more up-to-date information, but their page on mortality tables indicates that there’s nothing more recent on state-by-state causes of death.

Blatt_Death_1

Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Map by Ben Blatt/Slate.

Does your workplace allow for caregiving?

A fitting article from Crisis Prevention, where they focus on training and consulting in behavior management and dementia care: Workplace Flexibility | CPI. This article is about a (thankfully) growing trend in workplaces allowing more flexibility for people who are caring for family members.

Why is this important?

According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), caregivers not only contribute from their own personal expenses for care, but caregiving also affects the economy through the paid workforce (L. Feinberg, SC Reinhard, A Hourser, and R Choula, “Valuing the Invaluable:  2011 Update. The growing contributions and costs of family caregiving,” Washington, DC, AARP Public Policy Institute 2011):

  • 58% of caregivers are currently employed either full-time or part-time, balancing work with their caregiving role
  • 69% of caregivers report making work accommodations because of caregiving, including arriving late/leaving early, taking time off, cutting back on work hours, changing jobs, or stopping work entirely
  • Caregivers who live with their loved one are most likely to adjust their paid employment or leave the workforce
  • Not only may they lose foregone earnings and Social Security benefits, but they also can lose job security and career mobility, and employment benefits such as health insurance and retirement savings

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