#PROAGING: Technology Can Encourage Socialization & Longevity

Perhaps the greatest gift of life is the ability to share many its aspects with others. We have communication skills and empathies that can enliven mundane tasks and reinforce the greater joys and tragedies of the human experience. As social beings, we seek out these shared experiences from our earliest infancy to our later golden years. For many aging citizens, though, physical limitations and technological impositions can reduce opportunities for socialization, which in turn has been shown to decrease both life quality and life expectancy.

Most aging Americans want to live in their own homes as they age, but that desire also increases the likelihood of growing isolation and falling life quality. How might recent technological innovations keep seniors connected to their peers and their younger family members?


| Category Advocacy, Aging, Boomers, Civics, Communications, Community, Grandparents, Healthcare, Independent Living, Major Gifts, News and Current Affairs, Newsletter, Nonprofit, Resource, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Social Media, Social Networks, Technology, Technology for Aging, Technology for Nonprofits | | Comments Off

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#PROAGING: Majority Of Senior Citizens Online & Many More Using E-Readers

The Pew Internet and American Life ProjectThe fine folks at the Pew Internet and American Life Project marked a notable milestone in the history of electronic communications this past spring: “53% of American adults ages 65 and older use the internet or email. Though these adults are still less likely than all other age groups to use the internet, the latest data represent the first time that half of seniors are going online.” The crossing of the 50% mark means marketers and fundraisers really need to develop strategies to reach our retirees and senior citizens online. The percentages will only increase, of course, as ever more people who used the internet for work and/or play, and then those who grew up knowing few other means of communication, move toward 65. What else does the latest Pew report show us about Boomers and the internet?


| Category Aging, Boomers, Communications, GI Generation, Grandparents, Independent Living, Internet, iPad/Tablet, Marketing, Report, Resource, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Social Media, Social Media, Technology, Technology for Aging | | 1 Comments

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#ProAging: A Few Gift Ideas For Older Family Members

Graphic from blog, Scraps of my Geek Life: Holiday Gift GuideEarlier today we posted a story concerning’s drive, ‘Grandparents Gone Wired.’ In the process of working up that story we came across this brief list of gift ideas for some of those same grandparents: A Grandparents’ Tech Gift Guide. The blogger who is developing the list is Michele McGraw of northern Virginia, and her site, ‘Scraps of My Geek Life’, is one of the cuter and more engaging tech blogs we’ve come across.

The list for grandparents seems to be growing, and she also has Tech Gift Guides for Moms, young teens, and Bloggers (I’d like the iPhone 4S, please). All of these lists include her brief comments/reviews and she solicits reviews from her readers. Well worth a look, and it’s refreshing to see a site savvy to technology in its various guises with a fun and family-focused aura.

| Category Aging, Blogs, Fitness, Grandparents, Health, Media Review, Resource, Reviews, Seniors Life, Technology, Technology for Aging | | Comments Off

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#ProAging: Spending Time With Grandparents This Holiday

Looking for a way to spend time with your (grand)parents this holiday season, whether you are seated in the same room or across the continent? The folks at are launching a new program for this holiday season: ‘Grandparents Gone Wired‘. The program is designed to encourage (grand)children to spend time with their elder family members by helping their (grand)parents get settled into a Facebook account or by setting up video chat via Skype.

The program has the added benefit of encouraging a little face-to-face-in-the-same-space time during the holiday season as you negotiate the accounts and tinker with the hardware together. Registration via email or mobile phone is all it takes, and DoSomething promises to start sharing ideas and stories beginning today (the program runs through the 30th). Participants with the best advice enjoy the opportunity to win a new iPad, iTunes Gift Cards, and even a $500 academic scholarship.

Though the pitch is clearly thrown toward teens and their grandparents, the program could be just as helpful for adults wanting to connect technologically with their parents. I have registered and will report on the first few notices. True, the use of social-networking platforms by older Americans has exploded in the last couple of years, but everyone can use some help honing skills or learning new tricks.

We’ll share some of our ideas and experiences at DoSomething, and we hope you do too. And we hope you will share them here as well. We’ll certainly share them over the next couple of weeks.



| Category Aging, Boomers, Communications, Grandparents, Independent Living, Internet, Nonprofit, Resource, Seniors Life, Site Administration, Technology, Technology for Aging | | Comments Off

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#ProAging: Telestroke/Telemedicine Tests Show Excellent Cost & Health Benefits

In a wonderful synthesis of health care needs, patient choice, cost effectiveness, and beneficial outcomes, a recent report from The Mayo Clinic‘s ‘Telestroke’ program demonstrates the payoff of the pilot program. Telestroke provides the communications means for rural doctors and hospitals to have online connections with neurological and brain specialists in urban research hospitals. The technology saves vital minutes (if not critical hours) by bringing the specialist virtually to the on-side doctor and patient, rather than trying to move the patient to the requisite hospital.

The technology involves more than simple network communication for referral or consultation. According to the Mayo Clinic’s site, “Doctors communicate using digital video cameras, Internet telecommunications, robots, smart phones and other technology. Having a prompt neurological evaluation increases the possibility that you may receive clot-dissolving therapies (thrombolytics) or other clot-retrieving treatments in time to reduce disability resulting from stroke.”

And the first tests offer the statistics of success.


| Category Adult Kids, Aging, Assisted Living, Boomers, Communications, GI Generation, Grandparents, Healthcare, Independent Living, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Silent Generation, Technology for Aging | | Comments Off

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#ProAging: Touchscreen Ease Available For Those Who Don’t Want An iPad

The Telkin's Interface (Photo from

Click to enlarge

The iPad has inspired many older Americans to expand not only their computing skills, but also their short-term memories and their social(-media) circles. Nevertheless, the iPad was not created with our oldest citizens in mind. The screen is not especially large, for example.

The computer company Telikin in Chalfont, PA is developing a desktop machine for the GI and Silent Generations. Humans interact via the large touchscreen, and the software interface includes large clear buttons that give users easy access to email, Facebook, calendars, and other applications, like local weather, that seniors might find handy. But apparently the computer is even finding adherents from among younger generations who simply want an easy way to interact with some of the staples of the online universe.


| Category Aging, Apple, Boomers, Campaigns, Civics, Communications, Community, E-Mail, GI Generation, Grandparents, Hardware Review, iDevice, Internet, iPad/Tablet, Marketing, Reviews, Seniors Life, Social Media, Software Review, Technology, Technology for Aging | | Comments Off

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#Aging: A Good Read On Changing Retirement Opportunities For This Rainy Day

As the Eastern seaboard tries to find somewhere to put all this rain, besides on top of all the rain Irene left us, you might be looking for a good policy read to while away the dark and stormy night. Researchers Richard W. Johnson, Barbara A. Butrica, and Corina Mommaerts of the Urban Institute of have recently published the white paper, “Work and Retirement Patterns for the G.I. Generation, Silent Generation, and Early Boomers: Thirty Years of Change.”

The study was done with a grant from the U.S. Social Security  Administration (SSA) funded as part of the Retirement Research Consortium (RRC) at Boston College. The paper/PDF can be downloaded from The Policy Archive.


| Category Aging, Assisted Living, Communications, Community, Grandparents, Independent Living, News and Current Affairs, Publications, Report, Research, Resource, Retirement Living, Seniors Life | | Comments Off

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#Aging: Social Networks Bring The World To Seniors

Elderly Woman With A LaptopThe phenomenal growth of social network sites over the last decade or so is beyond repute. But for most of those years the growth came from those of Generation X (late 20s through 40s) and Millennials (born after about 1975) – both of whose members helped build as well as use the technologies of the internet, mobile devices and social networks.

But in recent years, the biggest movers in terms of usage are from the so-called ‘GI-Generation’ – those over 73. According to a recent report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project,

The fastest rate of growth was seen among the oldest generation of internet users, as the  percentage of adults age 74 and older who use social network sites quadrupled from 4% in December  2008 to 16% in May 2010. Use of these services for all online adults in this time period increased from  35% to 61% over that same time period. (p.16; the entire report can be read here.)

What are they doing with their online time?


| Category Aging, Assisted Living, Blogs, Communications, Community, Facebook, Grandparents, Health, iDevice, Independent Living, iPad/Tablet, Nursing Home, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Social Media, Technology, Twitter, Web and Print | | Comments Off

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#Aging: $450 Billion in Unpaid Care Another Likely Drag On Economy

A Family Arranging Its Medical BudgetWithout getting into the biological, religious, sociological… arguments of ‘why’, the fact is all human societies encourage, expect, even need families to support each other in ways that might appear contrary to self-interest. Parents want to keep their kids in school into their early 20s, for example, even though their counterparts a century often sent their children to work by their early teens – thus bringing much needed income to the family unit.

Eileen Connelly of The Associated Press reports that the economic burden nowadays lies much more at the latter stages of life than at the early stages. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), some $450 billion in ‘free’ health care is being given by family members of the chronically ill and/or elderly. The numbers have bloomed by some 20% since the Stock Market/Banking self-destruction of 2007. How might the trend develop over the next few years?


| Category Aging, Assisted Living, Community, Grandparents, Health, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Newspaper Article, Politics, Retirement Living, Seniors Life | | Comments Off

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#Aging: Bill Thomas – Elderhood Rising: The Dawn of a New World Age (Video)

As a followup to an article written by Dr. Ronch, Interim Dean at the Erickson School for Management of Aging Services (and an MKCREATIVE client) — where he discusses the paucity of Gerontologists in the USA — I thought it useful to post a link to a compelling video presentation made by another Erickson School faculty member, William Thomas, MD, at TEDx San Francisco recently.

In the early 1990’s, Dr. Thomas and his wife Judith Meyers-Thomas developed the Eden Alternative. Dr. Thomas’ groundbreaking work in person-directed care also led him to imagine a new approach to long-term care that became known as the Green House.

In the video, Dr. Thomas argues that a new lifestage might well evolve out of the growing number of baby boomers in our ranks so that the human lifecycle may soon come to be defined as “Childhood”, “Adulthood” and “Elderhood.”

Thomas suggests that the obsession with “Adulthood” is misplaced and that our elders are “disappeared” into retirement communities simply because they don’t fit the model of existence that has been defined for the “rest of us”. One could also argue that relocation is foisted upon many seniors because they are perceived as having nothing “new” to contribute to society, they are “unproductive”, and consume goods to a lesser degree than other members of the community. This argument is false, argues Thomas (as does this blogger).

Thomas suggests that the Baby Boomers will redefine aging in the same way, and to the same extent, that they redefined adolescence and youthful rebellion.

Watch this amusingly presented, but ultimately, sobering talk by the self-appointed ambassador of “Elderhood.”


| Category Adult Kids, Aging, Assisted Living, Communications, Community, Grandparents, Independent Living, Nursing Home, Retirement Living, Reviews, Seniors Life, Storytelling | | Comments Off

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Aging: Study Reveals Being Homebound is Linked to Alzheimer’s

PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer's disease

Image via Wikipedia

Steve Gurney (ProAging Information Network) reports on a new study that looks at the incidence of Alzheimer’s in “housebound” seniors. The study suggests that being housebound nearly doubles the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The new study, published online April 15 in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, looks at something known as “life space.”

“[Life space] is actually a measure that has come into vogue with gerontologists lately,” said lead investigator Bryan D. James, a postdoctoral fellow at Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago. “Mostly it’s been a measurement of mobility, figuring out whether people are getting around their environment, how much they’re seeing that’s different from their couch or bedroom or living room.”

“The research doesn’t prove that being confined to the house causes dementia, and other factors could explain the association. Still, the findings raise questions about the possible cost of isolation,” said James.

Read the full article here.

| Category Adult Kids, Aging, Assisted Living, Grandparents, Health, Healthcare, Independent Living, Nursing Home, Report, Resource, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Study, Wellness | | Comments Off

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Communications: A Beginners Guide to the Social Networking Services


Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Leading Age (formerly the American Association for Homes & Services for the Aging) has published a useful guide on their website: it’s a quick look at what social networking is, why you should use it to connect to others and share resources, what the various services do for organizations/individuals, and why one would prefer one service over another. It’s a quick read and will help young and old alike know the difference between a “Tweet” and a “Twit.”


| Category Adult Kids, Advertising, Aging, Assisted Living, Branding, Communications, Direct Mail, Facebook, Geo-Location, Grandparents, Independent Living, Marketing, Nonprofit, Nursing Home, Permission Marketing, Public Relations, Research, Resource, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Social Media, Twitter | | Comments Off

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Aging: Baby Boomers – A New Way to Grow Old

Merrill Lynch & Co.

Image via Wikipedia

Baby boomers won’t grow old the old-fashioned way, experts say.

It looks like the baby boomers, who used to urge each other to “do your own thing,” will do precisely that when it comes to retirement, write Tom Valeo and Sylvia Davis at

Some will imitate their parents and drop out of the work force as early as possible to begin a life of leisure, continuing a trend that began more than a century ago.

More than 80% of boomers, however, plan to work beyond the age of 65, according to the Merrill Lynch New Retirement Survey. Most will do so to supplement their Social Security checks, since at least one-quarter of boomer households have failed to save enough for retirement, according to the Congressional Budget Office. “They appear likely to depend entirely on government benefits in retirement,” the CBO report states.


| Category Adult Kids, Aging, Assisted Living, Grandparents, Independent Living, Nursing Home, Report, Resource, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Study | | Comments Off

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Aging: The Business & Strategy of Seniors Housing & Care (Classes)

The Erickson School, at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, is hosting an entrepreneurial seniors housing and care executive education course at the UMBC Technology Center, May 17-20.

Led by Mark Erickson, and featuring a diverse lineup of instructors, Business and Strategy provides 3 1/2 days of intensive education on strategy, positioning and trends, and the unique nature of the seniors housing and care sector.


| Category Adult Kids, Aging, Assisted Living, Community, Conference/Congress, Education: General, Grandparents, Independent Living, Nonprofit, Nursing Home, Resource, Retirement Living, Seminar, Seniors Life | | Comments Off

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Aging: The Graying of Chicago

Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago...

Image via Wikipedia

This article slipped through the cracks but we’re sure glad we spotted a reference to it on the Senior Housing News’ website: it’s a Crain’s Special Report asking whether an aging population affects a city’s economic future.

It is a great question and Crain’s Chicago Business ran an in-depth story (Feb 7) examining how Chicago’s senior population will impact business opportunities for the next 20-30 years.  The article, according to Senior Housing News, is “a great example of how cities may want to look at the future profile of their city.”

| Category Adult Kids, Assisted Living, Grandparents, Independent Living, Nursing Home, Report, Resource, Retirement Living, Seniors Life | | Comments Off

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Aging: Playtime helps bind generations

A new study has confirmed an old adage: A family that plays together stays together. Researchers from Concordia University and Wilfrid Laurier University examined the ways grandparents can maintain close ties with their adult grandchildren. True to the old maxim, recreation emerged as the glue sealing intergenerational bonds.

Here’s a link to an article about the study and to the study itself.

| Category Adult Kids, Aging, Assisted Living, Grandparents, Independent Living, Nursing Home, Resource, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Study | | Comments Off

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