Archive for October, 2010

November is National Family Caregivers Month

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Every year since 1997, the President of the United States has declared November to be National Family Caregivers Month, recognizing the more 65 million people in this country who take responsibility for caring for relatives. According to the National Family Caregivers Organization, the sponsoring organization, the focus of the month is on:

  • Raising awareness of family caregiver issues
  • Celebrating the efforts of family caregivers
  • Educating family caregivers about self-identification
  • Increasing support for family caregivers

Many LifeStation consoles are purchased by family caregivers for loved ones. When users includes caregivers on their personalized emergency contact list, as is nearly always the case, LifeStation’s Care Specialists notify the caregivers whenever the user requests help. LifeStation makes sure caregivers stay in the loop.


Seniors volunteer to help nursing students

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

We like the idea of this program at Carroll College in Helena, Montana where nursing students are learning how to interact with patients by working with seniors in the community. The students meet with their “Healthy Partners” several times to check eye and respiratory health and assess their homes to make sure that there are no tripping hazards.

Original story on web site.

Pickleball making a racquet in senior communities

Monday, October 18th, 2010

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story about Pickleball, a new game that’s rapidly gaining popularity in senior communities. Played on an outdoor court that’s a fraction of the size of a tennis court, the game combines elements of tennis, ping pong, and badminton. Games are fast moving, but short–about 15 minutes each–and the smaller court reduces the amount of movement necessary which should cut down on injuries.

Some have complained that Pickleball games are too noisy, but other counter that it’s just a different noise. Pickleball games were measured at 60 decibels compared to tennis (58 decibels). However, because of the smaller court, the ball is hit more frequently and it produces a different sound. This may be what detractors object to. Despite the complaints, the game is catching on.

Robot Teddy Bears Help Seniors

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

To deal with an aging population, Japan has been working towards having robots help take care of the growing numbers of seniors. Early efforts haven’t been very successful because older people are apparently put off by somewhat human-looking machines with robotic voices. That’s why Fujitsu, the large Japanese technology company, has taken a different approach. The company has developed a robotic teddy bear that understands with whom it’s interacting and communicates through a series of gestures. A voice synthesizer uses the voice of a little boy.

More details and a video are available on

Treatment via telemedicine may reduce depression in homebound seniors

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Remote technology may be able to significantly improve the lives of homebound seniors. Depression among seniors who need home healthcare is much higher than it is among other elderly people living at home, but results from a new study indicate that treatment through telemedicine may be able to significantly reduce depression levels. Telemedicine is the transfer of medical information and the treatment of conditions through interactive audiovisual communications such as video conferencing.

The pilot study by researchers at Rhode Island Hospital and other organizations worked with 19 homebound seniors initially diagnosed with major depression. Upon follow-up after the remote treatment, the average depression level scores were “mild”.

10 sites for seniors and caregivers

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

More and more seniors these days are choosing to “age in place,” living in their own home for as long as possible. The Internet can be an invaluable resource to make this happen. Most seniors and nearly all of their younger loved ones have a computer and online access. In fact, over a quarter of all seniors are using social networking sites such as Facebook, according to a recent Pew Internet study.

Sometimes finding the useful information among the morass of websites can be difficult without a guide, so we gathered up a list of sites that provide directories of topics of interest to seniors and their caregivers:


Early Surgery After Hip Fractures Reduces Risk of Death, Study Finds

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

On Monday, we told you about a new study that had found that exercise could significantly reduce the likelihood of broken bones among older women. On a related note, another new study looked at the effect on mortality of early surgery after a hip fracture compared to delaying the surgery. The study found that:

surgery before 24 to 72 hours reduced the risk of death and may reduce the risk of postoperative pneumonia and pressure sores.

The study is published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Exercise linked to lower fracture rate in senior women

Monday, October 4th, 2010

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed two groups of women over seven years and found that the group that participated in controlled leg strength, impact and balance exercises experience fewer fracture than the control group. The group that exercised also had no hip fractures, unlike the control group. Read more.