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


Danish legislation on GPS and dementia

This article comes to us from Stella Care. Stella Care is a Danish company that solves social problems by using and further developing proven technology, so it can be used for purposes other than originally intended. They specialize in offering small GPS trackers suitable for people with dementia. The article by Stella Care is originally in Danish (you can access it by clicking on the title, below), and I have translated and edited the article into English. 

Legislation on GPS for people with dementia (and Stella Cares role)

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What’s it like to be an unemployed dementia specialist?

Shortly said, it’s incredibly frustrating.

By 2015, there are very few people who have not hear of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. Many people have also had personal experience with a friend, family member, or community member who has developed dementia. Many people are also aware that there are more and more people being diagnosed with dementia, and that there is a growing demand for quality care and services. Most governments specifically announce an increased need for qualified professionals in the area of dementia.

In a time when there is a growing demand for dementia specialists, it is both confusing and counteractive to be unemployed.

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Smartphone app to help remember family members

Samsung app helps people with Alzheimer’s remember their families

Storskala-implementering af velfærdsteknologi

KL lancerer nyt redskab til storskala-implementering af velfærdsteknologi

KL lancerer nyt redskab til storskala-implementering af velfærdsteknologi

Det kommunale landskab vidner om, at der er mange kommuner, der har svært ved at tage skridtet fra afprøvning af teknologi i mindre skala til at implementere teknologien i stor skala. Derfor har Center for Velfærdsteknologi udviklet et nyt redskab. Foto: moe

En ny velfærdsteknologisk parathedsmåling skal hjælpe kommunerne med at gå fra pilotprojekt til storskala-implementering af vasketoiletter, forflytningsteknologi, spiserobotter og bedre brug af hjælpemidler.

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More Older Adults Are Becoming Inventors

This is a re-post from The New York Times.

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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Technologies help with dementia

Digital Journal has written an op-ed article citing one of my research articles!! You can access my 2012 article, “The future of assistive technology for dementia” as an open-source article through the journal Gerontechnology. You can also read the original op-ed by digitaljournal.com.

Op-Ed: Technology helps families cope with challenges of dementia

By Kimberly Reynolds     Feb 17, 2014 in Technology

The challenges of dementia and other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease are difficult on the patient, family and caregivers alike. Technology eases the burden.

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Technology: Idify for reminiscence

Idify is a Danish company that has developed a reminiscence platform to be used by people with dementia. They hope to bring their product to the American market as well. You can check out their website for more information, give it a test run, or to purchase the service.

Jeg har også skrivet om Idify på dansk, du kan læse mit indlæg her.

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Webpage design and aging

Since I started this blog, I have been frustrated with the small font. So, today, I have had enough! I decided to learn to code in order to increase the font size so that more people can read the site. The font is a little small for me, too, and I’m only 33 so I don’t think it’s due to age-related vision changes. Well, coding did not go so well and I didn’t want to pay to upgrade my site as I am not making money off of it or promoting a business. In the end, I decided to go with another design theme that already has larger font.

Great, so now I have larger font and hopefully everyone can read my posts, at least better than before. But, with the new theme, I have to manually change the colors of hyperlinks. This means, that if I don’t want to go and change the color of the text each time I put a link to another website or post (and I don’t), it’s a little tricker for people to know that it is even a link! I try to put some leading text, like “read more here,” but I must say I am frustrated that WordPress.com can’t accommodate readers of all ages and ability levels without the author paying for it (and I’m not even sure you can after you buy their premium package).

In further trying to make my site accessible for anyone who would want to visit, I used a few web sites that have some good information worth sharing with all of you. I had also made a blog post on Errorless Learning and design of technologies for aging adults. This was part of the work for the start-up I was involved in for the past year. That post doesn’t necessarily fit in with the Dementia Adventure theme, but I will likely be posting it here anyway, at least to get the information out to the public.

In the meantime, please take a look at the handful of websites I link below. I hope you get some inspiration for updating your website as well!

4 Easy Steps to Make Your Site More Usable to Older People

National Institute on Aging:  Making your website senior friendly 

Designing for Seniors 

Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland:  Universal usability web design guidelines for the elderly (age 65 and older)

Designing for Senior Citizens

Wiser Usability

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative:

Web accessibility and older people:  meeting the needs of ageing web users

Developing websites for older people:  how web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 applies

 You can also find some great information on Slideshare.


The Future of Robot Caregivers

I came across this opinion piece on The New York Times, you can read the original article here. I think that Louise Aronson brings up a really good point when there are discussions of the ethics of using robots as caregivers, and the effect on future generations:

As Jerald Winakur, a San Antonio internist and geriatrician, put it, “Just because we digitally savvy parents toss an iPad at our kids to keep them busy and out of our hair, is this the example we want to set when we, ourselves, need care and kindness?”

It’s a point I hadn’t thought of before, and I think she brings up an even better point as she is weighing the effect of not pursuing the use of robots as caregivers:

In an ideal world, it would be: Each of us would have at least one kind and fully capable human caregiver to meet our physical and emotional needs as we age. But most of us do not live in an ideal world, and a reliable robot may be better than an unreliable or abusive person, or than no one at all.

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Technology and Independence

Tech Advances Will Give Aging Baby Boomers More Independence

A notable trend is medication reminder functions increasingly found in mobile apps as a value-added feature that is free of charge. Medication reminders used to be marketed as a subscription service, but health-focused smartphone apps are integrating the reminder function with other health and wellness features, such as Personal Health Record, symptom checker and daily activity tracker.

By Harry Wang  You can read the original article here.
10/01/14 7:14 AM PT

The U.S. is facing a retirement wave. Seventy-six million Baby Boomers are beginning to hit the 65-year-old mark. By 2025, the number of people between 65 and 85 will account for 16.6 percent of the total population, compared with an estimated 12.5 percent in 2013, an increase of 18 million. In the U.S., the elderly prefer aging in their own home, but living at home has potential risks.

Connectivity and technology advances are enabling more sophisticated devices and tools — including personal emergency response systems, medication management, home safety and activity sensors, and GPS and location-assistance solutions — to help consumers and caretakers manage risks at home.
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New test center for welfare technology in Copenhagen

New test center for welfare technology in Copenhagen

Nyt testcenter for velfærdsteknologi i København

Copenhagen Municipality inaugurated Wednesday a new test center to develop welfare technology for the elderly.

17/12/14 Contact ANDERS EGEDAL : AEP@kl.dk

Copenhagen Municipality inaugurated Wednesday a new test center for welfare technology . The center will develop new technologies for the benefit of the elderly and health care. Living Lab Strandvejen is the name of the new test center for welfare technology, health and care Mayor of Copenhagen Ninna Thomsen (SF ) inaugurates today. At the test center, companies, researchers, older relatives and employees jointly develop new technologies to benefit older people both at home and abroad. “I have an ambition that Copenhagen citizens must have the best technologies, whether it ‘s about being able to achieve the most efficient training, get in the shower on your own or take in and remember the daily chores themselves.”

“With the center, we must develop unique solutions while being incubator for export successes in cooperation with companies, researchers and the elderly themselves,” says Ninna Thomsen.

Elders can cycle around the world – in Copenhagen

The new test center can be the first in the world to produce a series of SmartTouch exercise machines where users by means of an electronic bracelet can get the machines to adapt their training level. In connection with the inauguration, it will also be possible to see a test apartment in 3D format which will be ready for use this summer. At the same time there is the possibility for a walk in the dome – cycle engine, which via Google Street View provides older sense of realistic bike tours around the world.

Living Lab Strandvejen is the capital’s largest test center and the City of Copenhagen is investing 12 million kroner (about $2 million) in the project in the coming years.

Nyt testcenter for velfærdsteknologi i København

Nyt testcenter for velfærdsteknologi i København

Nyt testcenter for velfærdsteknologi i København

Københavns Kommune indvier onsdag et nyt testcenter, der skal udvikle velfærdsteknologi til ældre.

Københavns Kommune indvier onsdag et nyt testcenter for velfærdsteknologi. Centeret skal udvikle nye teknologier til gavn for ældre- og sundhedsområdet.

Living Lab Strandvejen er navnet på det nye testcenter for velfærdsteknologi, som sundheds- og omsorgsborgmester i København Ninna Thomsen (SF) i dag indvier.

På testcenteret skal virksomheder, forskere, ældre, pårørende og medarbejdere i fællesskab udvikle nye teknologier, som skal gavne ældre i både ind- og udland.

“Jeg har en ambition om, at københavnerne skal have de bedste teknologier, uanset om det handler om at kunne opnå den mest effektive træning, komme i bad på egen hånd eller overskue og huske de daglige gøremål selv.”

“Med centeret skal vi udvikle unikke løsninger og samtidig være rugekasse for eksportsucceser i samarbejde med virksomheder, forskere og de ældre selv,” siger Ninna Thomsen.  

Ældre kan cykle verden rundt – i København

Det nye testcenter kan som det første i verden fremvise en serie af Smart Touch-træningsmaskiner, hvor brugerne ved hjælp af et elektronisk armbånd kan få maskinerne til at tilpasse sig deres træningsniveau.

I forbindelse med indvielsen vil det også være muligt at se en testlejlighed i 3D-format, som skal stå klar til brug til sommer. Samtidig er der mulighed for en tur i kuppel-cykelmaskinen, som via Google Street View giver ældre følelsen af realistiske cykelture over hele verden.

Living Lab Strandvejen bliver hovedstadens største testcenter og Københavns Kommune investerer 12 millioner kroner i projektet de kommende år.

Computer and Internet use in the US

This is a post from Telekin, a great company that started making computers specifically for older adults. If you want to find out more about them, their computers, and to purchase a Telekin, check out their website here.

Senior Computer and Internet Use

The Pew Research Center just released new data on internet and computer usage among older adults. In short, the numbers show that more seniors are adopting technologies, but still at a much slower pace than the rest of adult Americans.

The key overall statistic is that now 59% of Americans age 65 or older go online. In last year’s report that same number was 53%, which was the first time more than half of seniors went online. This increase in seniors logging on demonstrates the steady, if rather slow, trend for more and more older adults adopting new technologies. As I’ve written about before, the benefits of technology for seniors are numerous, so it is encouraging to see that more are actually capitalizing on those benefits.

Here are some of the other key findings:

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