By Rohmteen Mokhtari and Meredith Raymond, Administration for Community Living (ACL) Office of External Affairs
“As National Preparedness Month comes to a close, we are reminded of the importance of making emergency planning efforts inclusive of people of all ages and abilities as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. ACL interviewed two disability community leaders working to ensure that people with disabilities are included in emergency preparedness efforts.
“Curt Decker is the Executive Director of the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), a membership organization representing Protection and Advocacy Systems and the Client Assistance Programs for individuals with disabilities. Christy Dunaway is the Chair of Emergency Preparedness Sub-Committee of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL). NCIL is a membership organization representing individuals with disabilities, Centers for Independent Living (CILs), Statewide Independent Living Councils and other organizations. NCIL and NDRN both have had Memoranda of Understanding with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (ODIC).
“What does an inclusive approach to emergency preparedness look like to you?”
You can download this planning guide by clicking here or on the above graphic.
“General advice about major disasters says each of us will very likely need to take care of ourselves for the first 24 to 72 hours. The former chair of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Disability Access and Review Committee said ‘Every one of us should be prepared to take some responsibility for our own safety regardless of our circumstances.’
“To that end, the NFPA has created the Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities which provides assistance to people with disabilities, their employers, building owners and managers, and others as they develop emergency evacuation plans that integrate the needs of people with disabilities. This guidance can be used in all buildings, whether old or new.”
There’s a Webinar about this Planning Guide on October 13; register here.
by Amanda Zantal-Wiener
“In my family, memory is an asset.
“It’s not that we’re senile. It’s just that our minds move too quickly. We’re so busy jumping ahead to whatever’s next that we forget what we were doing in the first place.
“So if we want to remember anything, we have to write it down. We are a to-do list family.
“To-do lists have quite the history. They date back at least to the 1700s, as you’ll see below, and have been the subject of glee, contention, and productivity advice alike ever since. And while they’ve evolved significantly over the years, they still stand to serve a pretty similar purpose: To plan what we need to do.”
Group of men discussing the benefits of the Apple iPhone 7 and its operating system.
Behold more startup efforts to help with care. You must admire this. The energy and entrepreneurial enthusiasm driving new entrants is astounding. And if at first, an idea does not take hold, note the founder of that one may appear in a new variant. You know that doctors can now bill for end-of-life conversations. And no surprise, a tool emerges that helps doctors with these conversations. One adds to the lengthy nationwide list of ‘telephone reassurance’ service providers. And there is even a directory. The offerings below are selected from recent press releases, startup finalists, and conversations. Note that the alphabetically-listed material is all drawn from the content provided by the companies:
Caregoals. “Caregoals gives you the confidence to have conversations that are relevant and meaningful to your patient’s life and care preferences. Measure, track and gain insight from patient data over time and predict future challenges that may face your patient. Caregoals provides you with the information to confidently initiate difficult conversations and give your patient a roadmap for successful outcomes.” Learn more at Caregoals.
CareZapp. “More than just an app, this holistic platform enhances in-home caregiving, allowing patients to communicate with, not only their doctors, but their families and other similar patients to provide social support. It also has a resource listing of local service providers, and can alert a patients’ contacts when the system recognizes they may need assistance or reminders.” Learn more at CareZapp.
Iamfine. “As the leading telephone reassurance service provider in the industry, Iamfine sees this growth as validation of an elder care market need and an optimistic sign for the future of aging in place services. The Iamfine service provides an easy way for people who are living alone to check in every day, letting their loved ones know they are all right. No technology is required other than a telephone. Each day, the service makes a call to the person living alone. By simply answering the phone and pressing “1”, the loved one informs members of a customizable “care circle” that things are fine. If no one answers, calls are repeated throughout the day, and care circle members are notified that someone may need to check on the loved one.” Learn more at Iamfine.
Sen.se ThermoPeanut. “Sen.se, an early pioneer of the Internet of Things industry, today announced the availability of ThermoPeanut™, an affordable, intuitive smart sensor that can monitor temperature in-and-around the home to provide alerts and trigger automated interventions in response to heat fluctuations. Already known for its Mother smart home platform, ThermoPeanut is the first product in a line of smart sensors called SensePeanut™ that are designed to drastically simplify various connected capabilities. Priced at just $29, each SensePeanut has its own set function, task or habit it can monitor allowing anyone with a smartphone or tablet to take advantage of the connected life revolution.” Learn more at ThermoPeanut.
Vitalitix. “Following a new phenomenon called ‘crowd-caring,’ the Vitalitix social-responsibility platform provides three-way communication between seniors, caregivers and community “social angels” as well as volunteers from existing networks. The idea is to reduce loneliness, improve safety and allow more freedom at home and out. The senior can access the app, now in beta, through any wearable device or smartphone.” Learn more at Vitalitix.
Five hearing tech announcements that could benefit older adults
Hearing technology advances — the hearing aid industry considers changing. It’s a positive when you see disruption of industries that have too tight a lock on the consumer, whether it is in categories of health insurance, telecom carriers or hearing aids. You spend time with people everywhere you go – those with significant hearing loss but no hearing aids; they have hearing aids, but hate to wear them.
According to a recent NY Times article, two-thirds of adults over 70 have hearing loss that warrants hearing aids, but only 15-30% of those wear them – and at $5000 a pair, no wonder.
In recent years, personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) that are not classified as hearing aids and thus do not require the audiologist role, though the FDA may change that. Just asking, if the device is called a ‘Wearable,’ does Silicon Valley find it more worthy of funding? But anyway.
In July, Consumer Reports published an explanatory guide that should be required reading for organizations that serve older adults. It would seem to be the wild west of innovation. Here is a sampling of five recent product announcements:
- ReSound. The firm “introduced a new model to the award-winning ReSound LiNX2™ family: the world’s only mini behind-the-ear (BTE) model to feature Made for iPhone. In addition, the mini BTE also features telecoil capabilities. ReSound LiNX2 is the world’s first internet-connected hearing aid, connecting to the internet to locate misplaced hearing aids. This new model enhances the award-winning ReSound Smart Hearing portfolio, giving users even more choices to meet individual preferences and hearing loss needs.” Learn more at Resound.
- Oticon. “Technological limitations of current hearing aids have led to the use of tunnel directionality: Speech coming from the front is clear, whereas the rest of the sound environment is suppressed. This results in a limited, narrowed and artificial listening experience. With new, groundbreaking technology, Oticon Opn™ is fast and precise enough to analyse and follow the soundscape and differentiate between sounds. Even in complex listening environments, this allows Oticon Opn™ to constantly open up and balance individual sounds to deliver a rich and meaningful soundscape, empowering the brain to choose on which sounds to focus.” Learn more at Oticon.
- Eargo. Silicon Valley based startup that “offers an entry-level rechargeable hearing aid (FDA class I medical device) that it sells directly to consumers. Eargo is a near-invisible in-the-canal device offering four volume settings. Developed by a French ENT, it features patented silicone “flexi-fibers” that enable the device to sit comfortably deep in the ear canal while letting air and natural sound flow freely to the eardrum. At $1,980 per pair, the Eargo hearing aids are more expensive than many of the new off-the shelf “hearables” (classified as personal sound amplification products, or PSAPs, by the FDA), but less expensive than the higher end hearing aids fitted by audiologists.” Learn more at HearingTracker.com.
- Cochlear. “Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH), the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, announces today it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its newest innovative hearing loss solution, Kanso. The Kanso Sound Processor provides a distinct new way for cochlear implant users to hear. Unlike most hearing aids and current cochlear implant sound processors that are worn on the ear, Kanso is a small, off-the-ear hearing device that provides a more discreet hearing solution and delivers the same hearing experience as a behind-the-ear sound processor.” Learn more at Cochlear.
- iHearMedical. “iHear® Medical announced today the launch of the world’s first online hearing solutions platform. The company begins taking orders today for its flagship invisible iHEARHD® hearing aid, and the iHearTest™, which recently received landmark FDA approval as the first and only home hearing screener. Delivery of iHear products starts July 15, 2016. The company also plans to launch the iHEARMAX™, a mini behind-the-ear hearing device, on August 15, 2016. iHear’s products are currently being offered in the U.S., with plans to introduce them in China and other markets in 2017.” Learn more at iHearMedical.
Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth.Click here to read the September 23 newsletter.
Highlighted in this newsletter are:
- The Governor’s food security plan – Setting the Table: A Blueprint for a Hunger-free PA
- The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger has launched What A Waste University (WAWU). WAWU is a center for learning – dedicated to education about Nutrition, Waste and Sustainability
- Information about a Human Diversity and Cultural Competency Online Course.
- Events – PA Link to Aging and Disability Resources.
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Aging, in partnership with WITF, is entering its third season of an exciting initiative called MindMatters: a series of stimulating lectures presented by academics and experts on subjects ranging from history and current events, to politics and culture, to gardening and healthy living.
With a savings of over $75,000 annually, MindMatters offers professional programming at no cost to senior community centers across the commonwealth. MindMatters is designed to be viewed in a group setting and encourages senior center attendance, social interaction and stimulating discussions between center participants and presenters.
“Studies have shown that when given the opportunity to participate in life-long learning or self-management programs in a senior community center, older adults are given the tools needed to better manage their life,” said Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne. “By providing enrichment in a social, community setting, improvements in overall mental, physical, social, spiritual, emotional and economic well-being can be measured.”
Prior to MindMatters, senior community centers would pay for individuals to travel and present on various topics in person. The cost and logistics of delivering this type of programming made it difficult or sometimes impossible for centers to provide it for their participants. Now, senior centers can choose from over 30 lectures on topics of interest that appeal to their participants.
Some of the MindMatters topics include:
- Betsy Ross: The Making of the Myth
- Exercise is Medicine
- Famous Pennsylvania Politicians of the 20th Century
- Food Glorious Food: Satisfaction Without Guilt
- Gardening and Planting
- Optical Illusions: A Look at How the Human Eye Works
- Quilts: Crafting an American Icon
“Providing on-demand access to this resource expands the opportunity for senior centers to participate and enables older Pennsylvanians throughout the commonwealth to be engaged, physically, mentally, and emotionally in their community,” said Secretary Osborne.
To learn more about GO-TIME, visit https://www.governor.pa.gov/go-time/.
“close relationships are good for our health and well-being” | results from the longest-running study on happiness
“The one thing you need for a happier, healthier life | the answer might be more simple than you expect”
“When it comes to happiness, many have tried to find the key to it. Is it money, a successful career, fame? Is there one thing that happy people have that unhappy people don’t? According to The Harvard Study of Adult Development, there is.
“Harvard Medical School professor and researcher Robert J. Waldinger spoke at the TEDxBeaconStreet conference recently and delivered the findings from a more than 75-year-old ongoing study on the cause of happiness. (You can watch his talk below.) Waldinger is the fourth person to run the study, according to The Washington Post.
“In it, researchers selected a group of of 724 men from the Boston area — 268 sophomores from Harvard College and 456 teenagers from the inner city — and followed them as they aged. The men grew to become lawyers, bricklayers, doctors and even a future President of the United States — John F. Kennedy.”
Click on the graphic above or here to read this NextAvenue.org article in its entirety.
One of our Lebanon County Link partners, sends this reminder: Today is National Falls Prevention Day and this toolkit offers helpful materials and resources.