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Contributed by Karen Weeks of Elder Wellness

For many seniors, aging in place is the difference between happiness and depression. Older adults who have to leave their homes and move into a senior living community frequently have trouble adjusting to life in a setting where they can no longer make their own decisions or have the discretion to come and go as they please. It can be an emotionally wrenching change in lifestyle and some seniors never adjust. Unless they’re physically or mentally unable to care for themselves, most seniors want to stay in their own homes.

Moving can do more harm than good and leave an elderly person who’s used to being independent and self-reliant feeling depressed and abandoned. Other aspects of their health may suffer as well. Communications technology allows family members to monitor their older relative’s condition and state of mind remotely and from a distance, making it possible for more seniors than ever to age in place. It’s particularly valuable for those with limited mobility or seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

Daily interaction

Isolation and loneliness, a crippling problem for many older individuals, can be overcome through any number of technological options. Today, seniors have access to easy-to-use touch-screen computers and can learn to communicate with friends and family members through an application like Skype or FaceTime. Those who are uncomfortable with computers can still communicate via email with a MailBug machine or tablet. A Jitterbug Plus or TracFone can be an easier, less expensive option for seniors who find it difficult to use a smartphone.

Health monitoring

Telehealth uses an array of telecommunications options that help loved ones keep a close watch on an elderly relative’s health and monitor their medications. A senior with a condition that needs to be closely managed can keep in touch with health care providers through Telehealth. Medication reminders can be sent and blood pressure, heart and pulse rates monitored. In many cases, Telehealth offers such a robust menu of services that visits to the doctor’s office are minimized, further reducing the need for direct assistance or intervention.

Fitness fun

One of the benefits seniors gain from assisted living is the opportunity to stay fit mentally and physically with others who have similar needs. Wii Fit Plus offers an array of virtual games that help elderly individuals work muscles and stay limber at home. Seniors who live alone sometimes need a means of exercising their mental faculties. Brain Fitness Program improves memory, communication, and hearing with special mental challenges that keep elderly individuals sharp and mentally aware.

Vision assistance

Visual acuity diminishes as people age. Seniors with marked vision loss have a number of assistive resources that can help them read, a serious matter for people who need to take multiple medications every day. Screen magnifiers help seniors with low-vision capabilities read computer screens. Those with extreme vision loss can benefit from screen reader devices, which use software programs and a speech synthesizer or Braille display.

Substance abuse

If your relative has suffered with a substance abuse problem, there may be emotional and physical distance between you. It can be difficult to mend fences after many years of distrust, but try to put yourself in the other’s shoes. Try to understand their struggles and the nature of their problem. Technology can allow you to open the lines of communication if you’re not ready to reconnect in person.

Technology has improved our lives in countless ways. For older adults and their families, technology can make it possible to maintain close contact even if you’re separated by many miles. It’s a blessing for seniors who are determined to age in place and remain happy at home.

 

PRC has announced a 50% off discount for the iOS communication app LAMP Words for Life.

In celebration of World Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd, this discount will be valid from April 1st through April 4th only.  With a regular price of $299.99, the 50% discount will bring the cost of this app down to $149.99 for significant savings.

LAMP Words for Life was designed for those with Autism who have difficulty verbalizing their thoughts and needs.  The letters L A M P stand for Language Aquisition through Motor Planning.  LAMP was designed so that symbols and words never change location on the screen, making it easier to remember their location through muscle memory.  And with three levels, LAMP can accommodate a range of communication abilities.

If you are in the market for the LAMP app, be sure to make your purchase of this iOS app in the iTunes store during the four-day sale starting April 1, 2018!

 

Disability Etiquette

Resource contributed by Natalie Kelly from Forever Curious

Is there a correct way to talk to or about someone with a disability?

Yes, there is!  Or at least there is a way that is most respectful and considerate to those with disabilities.

Brush up on your disability etiquette skills by reading the tips and suggestions provided by The United Spinal Association.  A couple of the tips include asking before you help and putting the person first.  Read more about these topics and many more at the following link: Disability Etiquette

 

erin swann, assistive technology specialist, speaking during a broadcast of al jazeera english's show, the stream

Yesterday afternoon, Erin Swann, an Assistive Technology Specialist for MDTAP, participated in a live broadcast of Al Jazeera English’s show, The Stream.

The topic of conversation for this episode was accessibility and assistive technology for people with disabilities.

Erin described some of the services that MDTAP provides and informed the International audience about the existence of other Tech Act Programs similar to MDTAP in every US State and Territory.

Other guests on the show included Haben Girma, Maryangel Garcia-Ramos, and Corinne Weible. View the full discussion in the video below!

 

 

Contributed by Rene Schecker, Volunteer Manager with the Metropolitan Washington Ear

Metropolitan Washington Ear is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization providing free news and information services for blind, visually-impaired, and physically disabled residents of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. We strive to substitute hearing for seeing, improving the lives of people with little or no vision by enabling them to be well-informed, fully-productive members of their families, their communities, and the working world. Our services reduce isolation and depression and help people maintain their dignity and independence.

In addition to national and international news, our listeners rely on the immense amount of local information we provide, including: weekly food and shopping ads, TV listings, election guides, movie and live theatre schedules (including Audio Described performances), community newsletters, notices of meetings and events, and public service announcements of particular interest to the blind, visually-impaired, and physically disabled community.

Services are completely free and include: 

  • 24/7 radio broadcast using radios pre-tuned to our station and a subcarrier channel from WETA-FM.
  • 24/7 telephone dial-in news and information service accessed by using a touch-tone telephone that allows the caller to skip and scan newspapers, magazines, and other information just as a sighted person does when reading a publication. 
  • Personal look-up service every evening.
  • Audio-Description of live stage performances in nine theaters in the DC metropolitan area.

We will happily provide services to anyone who requests it and provides certification that they are unable to effectively read ordinary print because of visual or physical limitations.  Learn more at Metropolitan Washington Ear.

 

Contributed by Jenny Thompson with BestMattressReviews

Do you or a loved one have Alzheimer’s Disease? Learn more about the potential sleep problems that people with Alzheimer’s Disease experience and strategies for improving them: Alzheimer’s and Sleep

 

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