#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: Olympics & Social Media Suggest Shrinking Digital Divide

The Social Olympics in LondonNBC might have gotten some bad press for giving away results before showing them tape-delayed in the lucrative hours of prime time. These Olympics have both been the ‘first Social Olympics’ and the first to struggle to understand what such instantaneous communication can mean to corporate and sporting interests. And, as it turns out, most of the griping is coming from the world of social networks. According to the Pew Research Center, 76% of Americans find the NBC communications conglomerate’s coverage excellent or good.

What are the numbers when age is taken into consideration?


| Category Advocacy, Aging, Boomers, Civics, Communications, Grants and Funding, Independent Living, Internet, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Nonprofit, Politics, Report, Seniors Life, Site Administration, Social Media, Social Media, Social Networks, Technology, Technology for Aging | | 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: Republican Budget Realigns Medicare But Ignores Long-Term Care

The macro-economics of aging over the next 40 years do not look great: the first Baby Boomers reached the age of Social-Security eligibility 15 months ago, but the crest of this so-called ‘Silver Tsunami’ will not come until about 2030. It will not recede for another couple of decades. The issue is not the number of people so much as the economy’s ability/preparation to deal with the number. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, “The baseline 2010 Retirement Readiness Rating™ finds that nearly one-half (47.2 percent) of the oldest cohort (Early Baby Boomers) are simulated to be “at risk” of not having sufficient retirement resources to pay for “basic” retirement expenditures and uninsured health care costs. The percentage “at risk” drops for the Late Boomers (to 43.7 percent) but then increases slightly for Generation Xers to 44.5 percent.”

The combination of retiring Boomers with lengthening life expectancies with a general political trend to cut taxes for all while reducing services only to the poor has meant that the costs of long-term care are growing, while the will to adjust expectations or fund federal programs is shrinking. The FY2013 budget proposed by Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) earlier this month has not much quelled fears of how Medicare will deal with the spread between long-living retired  Boomers and the costs they will impose on an already stressed healthcare ‘system’.


| Category Affordable Housing, Aging, Assisted Living, Boomers, Community, Independent Living, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Newspaper Article, Nonprofit, Opinion, Politics, Retirement Living, Senior Housing, Study, Technology for Aging | | Comments Off

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#PROAGING: Technology Improves Exercise of Body And Brain

Exergaming improves physical and mental fitness - Photo from TheAtlantic.comLast week we introduced an AARP report encouraging the development of ‘Technology for All,’ namely, technology that includes the interests, expectations, and needs of Baby Boomers. Here is an example of how technology makes a common exercise machine that much more interesting and beneficial: a computer screen offering a virtual tour for a stationary biker.

Hans Villarica of presented a report found in The American Journal of Preventative Medicine that brings computer screens and visual stimuli to recumbent bikers in elder-care homes. The experiment was to encourage exercise among residents on incumbent bikes – some used bikes with screens that monitored their effort and presented a ‘tour’ while others simply rode the bikes for the same amount of time.


| Category Aging, Assisted Living, Boomers, Fitness, GI Generation, Health, Healthcare, Independent Living, News and Current Affairs, Newspaper Article, Nursing Home, Resource, Retirement Living, Reviews, Seniors Life, Software Review, Study, Technology, Technology for Aging, Wellness | | Comments Off

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#PROAGING: AARP Explores Benefits & Challenges of ‘Technology For All’

With much fanfare, the first babyboomers moved into the official era of retirement last year as they celebrated 65 years of life. They were the first ripples of a ‘Silver Tsunami’ of Boomer retirees who will bring changes to entertainment, to Social Security, medical services, to retirement life. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) released a report calling on entrepreneurs, developers, and service providers to take on the challenges of bringing the myriad technologies (some of which were built by the Boomers) to everyone – including those over 50 who want to use those technologies but might need them modified. Is your organization developing its strategy for the near future?


| Category Aging, Boomers, Community, GI Generation, Health, Independent Living, Internet, Marketing, Marketing Skills, Report, Resource, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Social Media, Social Media, Technology, Technology for Aging | | 1 Comments

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#ProAging: CES Highlights Tech For Boomers On-The-Move

The Consumer Electronics Show for 2012 just wound up

This past 10 through 13 January saw the annual International Consumer Electronics Show present some of the up-and-coming technologies for the next year(s). The CES “is owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $186 billion U.S. consumer technology industry.” Most of the news pertains to the latest smartphone or smart TV, but for the past three years the CES has also supported the ‘Silver Summit.’ This exhibition-within-an-exhibition focusses on technology for older citizens. It also awards ‘Silver Choice Awards,’ a couple of which we wanted to relay to our readers – along with video access to a round-table on the future of technology for retiring Baby Boomers.


| Category Aging, Apple, Boomers, Community, Design, Events, Health, iDevice, Independent Living, iPad Apps, iPad/Tablet, iPhone Apps, Marketing, Nonprofit, Reviews, Seniors Life, Software Review, Strategic Marketing, Technology, Technology for Aging | | 3 Comments

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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: Celebrating The Senior Games As Winter Approaches

Doctors, teachers, and athletes encourage us all to get more exercise. For many of us, our springtime means the energy to start a program to get fit and overcome the initial discomforts. As we enter our summer months, the foundation of better health has been set, and we begin to push some of our boundaries. The shortening days of fall might dissuade some of us, but the weather remains warm enough to keep us moving. Besides, winter could prove a notable setback, so we better give an extra push now.

But what about the seasons of our lives? Are we building a solid foundation in our earlier decades to encourage an active and engaged senior life? Many seniors are even competing in an Olympic-style festival that can inspire us all.


| Category Aging, Boomers, Events, Fitness, Health, Independent Living, Nonprofit, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Silent Generation, Storytelling, Video Interview | | Comments Off

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#ProAging: SM Savvy Encourages Cross-Generational Connection

With Thanksgiving a mere 36+ hours away (30 of which might be spent in a ticket line or sitting on a runway or hoping the traffic finally gets moving), we are all thinking about re-connecting to family and old friends. That we do so via social networking platforms has become the assumption among the Millennials and the Gen-Xers, whether in the holiday season or not. The social networking demands of these generations encourage them to keep up with the latest technologies as well – not a bad thing for the economy.

What happens to the previous-generation phones and laptops as younger Americans buy the latest-and-greatest? One thing that happens to them is they become ‘hand-me-ups’.


| Category Boomers, GI Generation, Independent Living, Internet, Interview, Media Review, Nonprofit, Report, Resource, Retirement Living, Reviews, Site Administration, Social Media, Technology, Technology for Aging, Web and Print | | Comments Off

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#ProAging: AARP Busts Some Social Security Myths

As we enter ‘crazy time’ in the electoral calendar (a calendar that now runs from the Friday after the last election to the day of the next one), we will hear ever more about the desperate need to balance the federal budget and pay down the national debt. Few will strongly argue against these budget-balancing ambitions. The arguments are over just how to do that.

Social Security card arguing against privatizationSocial Security payouts make up some 20% of the federal budget, tied with national defense and one percentage point behind Medicare/Medicaid. Yet Social Security is usually singled out as one of the three federal line items that must be trimmed (Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and … um … oops.). The American Association of Retired Persons challenges five of the most commonly-stated myths about the state of Social Security, even in the midst of the economic malaise we continue to struggle with.

Myth Number One? Not surprisingly: Social Security is going bankrupt. According to AARP, that scary claim is untrue no matter how you divvy up the dollars. “Even in the unlikely event that nothing changes and the program’s entire surplus runs out in 2036, as projected, checks would keep coming. Payroll taxes at current rates would cover 77 percent of all the future benefits promised. That’s true for young and old alike, and includes inflation adjustments.”

Read the other four myths and the facts that refute them at AARP’s site. Then you can make an informed decision about how to vote in 2012, and how to plan for your retirement after that.


| Category Aging, Banking & Finance, Boomers, Civics, Community, eNewsletter, Healthcare, Independent Living, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Nonprofit, Politics, Resource, Retirement Living, Seniors Life | | 1 Comments

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#ProAging: Bringing Ballots To Nursing Homes Via The iPad

When the people of Oregon needed to replace Congressional Representative David Wu this week, the state Board of Elections used the opportunity to develop means to get ballots to older citizens in nursing homes. The traditional means to do so were to send absentee ballots out, but such ballots waste a great deal of payer, any way – and many do not get returned anyway. As we have noted on this blog, the iPad is a convenient and stimulative way  for retired Americans to access information. And now it is being used as a way for retired Boomers and those of the GI Generation to cast their votes.


| Category Aging, Civics, Events, GI Generation, Hardware Review, iDevice, Independent Living, Internet, iPad Apps, iPad/Tablet, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Newspaper Article, Nonprofit, Nursing Home, Politics, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Silent Generation, Site Administration, Software Review, Technology, Technology for Aging | | Comments Off

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#ProAging: Which US Cities Offer The Best Lifestyle To Their Older Citizens?

Dave Letterman offers only a “Top 10″ list, but Bankers Life and Casualty has just published its Top 50 “Best US Cities For Seniors 2011″ and the list contains a few surprises – though, admittedly, not so many laughs.

The list was drawn up with an effort to establish some stable criteria that were, in turn, weighted to reflect the importance of each issue with older Americans. For example, healthcare opportunities are weighted to 10 at the top of the scale, whereas housing was weighted at 5, because many kinds of housing arrangements can be made for many kinds of seniors, whereas healthcare is a priority for all older people.

The good side about a weighted standard is that readers can judge for themselves if a certain concern outweighs other issues. For example, the city noted as having the lowest crime and the safest urban environment for seniors is Nassau-Suffolk County, New York (Long Island), yet the area did not quite crack the top 10. But if security/low crime is most important for you, you now know where to retire.


| Category Affordable Housing, Aging, Boomers, Community, Environment, Health, Healthcare, Healthcare, Independent Living, Marketing, Report, Resource, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Wellness | | 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: Guidance For Older Americans Looking For Work

The unemployment rate of 9.1% seems pretty bad psychologically, especially for Americans that can remember the myth of unemployment rates of 2-3% a decade or so ago. But the unemployment rate flattens out some really horrific numbers: For African-American men between 20-30, the rate is about 18%, for example. And all these numbers get somewhat massaged by redefining who is not ‘really’ looking for a job.

The unemployment rate for Americans over 50 has more than tripled during the Great Recession, leading some analysts to define the ‘grey wall’ or ‘grey ceiling’ stopping opportunities for advancement, much less re-employment. Via the AARP website, Chris Gardner offers some sage advice for older workers needing to get back to work. Older workers, he argues, have most everything employers need, but those older workers might not have the networks to get them back in the game.


| Category Advice, Aging, Blogs, Communications, Independent Living, Internet, Marketing, Report, Resource, Social Media | | Comments Off

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#ProAging: Social Security Recipients Enjoy COLA For First Time In Two Years

Header of a Social Security CheckSocial Security has built into its law and budgets a ‘Cost of Living Adjustment‘ (COLA) tied to inflation and/or rising prices. Those prices have, if anything, fallen during The Great Recession, so recipients have not seen a COLA since 2009. But the Social Security Administration published its formula this week to account for a 3.6% increase for most people who receive their checks, beginning in January 2012.

The adjustment can not come soon enough for many seniors. As reported in The Associated Press, though inflation did not move over the last two or three years, incomes that retirees depended upon to supplement their Social Security benefits collapsed over those same years. What does the equation come out to for seniors?


| Category Aging, Banking & Finance, Boomers, Civics, Community, Healthcare, Healthcare, Independent Living, News and Current Affairs, Newspaper Article, Report, Retirement Living, Seniors Life | | Comments Off

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#ProAging: iPad Technology Can Draw Out Memories And Skills For Elderly

One stereotype of the elderly and long retired is that they fear new technology. Yet many of the GI Generation and Silent Generation were, in fact, the ones who started the phenomenal research and development in the middle of the twentieth century that give us our hybrid cars and smart phones today. A recent report from the McClatchy-Tribune Information Services demonstrates how the caregivers of these generations are discovering how quickly and happily their clients and patients are responding to the latest mobile technology, the iPad.


| Category Aging, Apple, Assisted Living, Communications, GI Generation, Health, Healthcare, iDevice, Independent Living, iPad Apps, iPhone Apps, Newspaper Article, Nonprofit, Nursing Home, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Silent Generation, Technology, Technology for Aging, Wellness | | 3 Comments

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#ProAging: Study Shows Americans Optimistic and Unprepared For Heath In Retirement (Part 2 of 2)

Last Thursday we shared a report conducted by National Public Radio (NPR), who has been presenting the findings of their in-depth survey concerning how recent retirees and soon-to-be retirees (those over 50) view retirement. The report was conducted by NPR, the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. The takeaway of the survey shows that those close to retirement are strikingly optimistic about what their retirements will entail in terms of economic and social stability (which we discussed last week), as well as about their good health and longevity (to which we turn today). Retirement for those already well into it has lost much of its romantic sheen – a distinction between the two demographics stressed in the report.


| Category Aging, Audio Interview, Boomers, Community, Diet, Fitness, Health, Healthcare, Independent Living, Internet, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Politics, Report, Seniors Life, Wellness | | Comments Off

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#ProAging: Study Shows Americans Optimistic and Unprepared For Retirement (Part 1 of 2)

Snapshot of NPR/Harvard Health Survey about perceptions of happiness in retirement

Click to enlarge

Over the last few days, National Public Radio (NPR) has been presenting the findings of an in-depth survey and study of how recent retirees and soon-to-be retirees (those over 50) view retirement. The report was conducted by NPR, the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

The findings show a general optimism about retirement, though that general optimism is dampened by the credit crisis of the last three years. Yet that optimism is strongest among those who have not yet actually retired. Among the retirees themselves, optimism has been checked by the harsh realities of decimated IRAs, a credit crunch, and unexpected health issues.

What seems to be the state of retirement in the new millennium? The issue may be not that the state of retirement is so bad, but that expectations are strikingly high.


| Category Aging, Audio Interview, Communications, Community, Health, Healthcare, Independent Living, News and Current Affairs, Public Media, Report, Resource, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Wellness | | 1 Comments

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#ProAging: Small Ailments, Left Unchecked, Can Lead To Big Concerns

Most (post-)industrial western societies tend to see aging as a decline from the creativity and energy of young adulthood. The experiences and wisdom of longer life tend to be downplayed against the physical changes wrought by age. But older people tend to know better: they want the young to appreciate that the teens and early twenties are the difficult years, whereas the engaged peace of being over 50 is really where the action is.

That said, those moving beyond 50 can not – and do not – deny changes in the body that must be dealt with: quicker fatigue, joint and tooth aches, changes in eyesight and/or hearing… The AARP’s website is reporting a new study at that links the ongoing and unresolved physical discomforts help increase the likelihood of the onset of dementia as well.


| Category Aging, Assisted Living, Blogs, Fitness, Health, Healthcare, Independent Living, Resource, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Study, Wellness | | 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: We May Have To/Want To Work Longer. Will We Live Longer?

Golden or just a Goose Egg?

For many, the Stock Market Crash of 2008 wiped out most of their retirement savings. For some, working longer past the traditional retirement age is a key to ongoing engagement, community involvement, and mental health.  For most, working beyond 65 (or whatever the retirement age is in your country) is an economic expectation, for better and/or worse.

Nevertheless, older people continuing in the work force provides at least two striking challenges to the larger economy, which already faces a number of challenges in this Great Realignment.


| Category Aging, Blogs, Civics, Community, Diet, Fitness, Health, Healthcare, Independent Living, News and Current Affairs, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Wellness | | 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: Advancements In Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Can Lead To Advancements In Treatment

PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer's disease

Image via Wikipedia

Dr. Kejal Kantarci, a radiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and her team of chemists and brain surgeons have recently published findings of their work that might be the clue to screening those likely to develop some form of dementia – as much as twenty years before visible signs appear.

The report came out this week in the e-journal, and can only be accessed through a subscription. Truth be told, such an article would be well beyond the understanding of this blogger, and perhaps some of our readers.

Fortunately, Dr. Kantarci has been discussing her team’s findings with numerous outlets, including


| Category Aging, Communications, Health, Healthcare, Independent Living, Interview, Newspaper Article, Publications, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Video Interview | | Comments Off

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#Aging: GE & Intel Combine Forces To Improve Independent Living For Seniors

CareInnovations LogoThought GE & Intel announced in 2009 a partnership to develop technologies for retiring Baby Boomers to enhance their independence, they announced the finalized plans for the organization this week. According to a GE press release, the final legal steps are being taken to create the joint venture by the end of this year. The symbiotic opportunities of these two high-tech companies is stressed by the announcement: “GE and Intel share a common vision to use technology to bring more effective healthcare into millions of homes and to improve the lives of seniors and people with chronic conditions. With the dramatic increase of people living with chronic conditions, and a global aging population, there is a need to find new models of healthcare delivery and extend care to the home and other residential settings.”

What are some of the technological avenues that the new “Care Innovations” company will be developing?


| Category Automobiles, Communications, Health, Healthcare, Independent Living, Press Release, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Technology, Wellness | | Comments Off

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