My beloved mother-in-law made her departure from this world last week. Despite all of my writing about aging and illness, I couldn’t write about her when it was happening. At 74 and vivacious to the end, she seemed far too young for something this final. Even today, a week later, pressing the send button on this will require every ounce of courage I can muster. (more…)
Archive for April, 2012
Every morning Aunt Betsy sends me an email, the topic of which is lead by an update of the weather. “It’s sunny today, but very cold. I’m going to play bridge at 2 o’clock with so-and-so and will have to dress warmly…” “Good morning. It snowed last night. I will have to call Earl and have him come shovel the walkway today…” First, I’d like to give Aunt Betsy big props for using modern technology to communicate with me. (more…)
Cutting-edge technologies for caregivers
Imagine having a robot around the house that can lift a frail elder if they fall when you are not around. Now visualize automated dresser drawers that can literally talk and guide a dementia patient through the complex—and often stressful—act of getting dressed in the morning. You are seeing what could very well be the future of caregiving.
Diane F. Mahoney, PhD, Professor of Geriatric Nursing Research at MGH Institute and her team were among the first to study wireless monitoring technologies for caregiving. Frustrated with “alert-type” bracelets (also known as PERS devices) that patients frequently fail to activate, she became interested in high-tech devices that not only monitor patients in the home, but can provide an assist to the harried caregiver. Mahoney’s research is at the bleeding edge of caregiving technology. I spoke with her recently to find out what’s coming next.
Q: Robots in the home? What sparked this concept?
A: I got the idea when I heard that people are falling and not getting up, and they are not pushing the alert button on their alert bracelet or calling for an ambulance. I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if we had some kind of personal lifting device for elders? (more…)