Category Archives: Technology

“Medicare Issuing New ID Cards in 2018 | Removing Social Security numbers to prevent identity theft” – AARP

social-security-medicare-health-insuranceMedicare ID cards will remove Social Security numbers in 2018. – Getty Images

“Medicare is preparing to stop using Social Security numbers for identification next year and will send new cards to patients with Medicare ID numbers. The move is required by a law enacted two years ago to discourage identity theft.

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently updated its web page to help health care providers prepare for the change. The agency plans to begin mailing the new cards with Medicare beneficiary identifiers (MBIs) in April 2018. During a transition period through 2019, providers can use the MBIs or health insurance claim numbers (which are based on Social Security numbers) on transactions such as billing and claims.

“The 2015 law, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, requires CMS to remove Social Security numbers from Medicare cards by April 2019.

“‘We’re now figuring out the best way to mail the cards,’ the agency advised providers. ‘We’ll keep you posted about critical information so you can be ready to ask your Medicare patients at the time of service if they have a new card with an MBI.’”

Read the article in its entirety at aarp.org.

Disability Helper | explore a helpful Website

Here’s a website that can be quite helpful for persons with a disability or caretakers of a someone with a disability.

disability helper

“DisabilityHelpers.net is a place for those with friends or family members who are disabled to get together and share ideas, suggestions and learnings about the challenges and joys of life. Having someone in your life with different abilities offers a unique perspective on things that may seem mundane to others, and we hope that through this collaborative effort we are able to help others see the beauty in the everyday in a new way.

“Many social barriers have already been removed from those with disability, but there is much work yet to be done to allow everyone to be as independent as possible to live, learn and love within their community. Our goal is to provide information for caretakers of those with a disability about healthy living, school, safety, transitions, finding support and independent living.”

And here (thank you, Linda J. for sharing) are some really useful links you may find useful:

 

“How to make a home much more friendly to seniors using wheelchairs or walkers” – California Healthline

Home caregiver comforting senior man in wheelchairThe housing industry has failed to accommodate an aging population, experts say. (iStock)

by Judith Graham

“When Dan Bawden teaches contractors and builders about aging-in-place, he has them get into a wheelchair. See what it’s like to try to do things from this perspective, he tells them.

“That’s when previously unappreciated obstacles snap into focus.

“Bathroom doorways are too narrow to get through. Hallways don’t allow enough room to turn around. Light switches are too high and electrical outlets too low to reach easily. Cabinets beneath a kitchen sink prevent someone from rolling up close and doing the dishes.

“It’s an ‘aha moment’ for most of his students, who’ve never actually experienced these kinds of limitations or realized so keenly how home design can interfere with — or promote — an individual’s functioning.

“About 2 million older adults in the U.S. use wheelchairs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau; another 7 million use canes, crutches or walkers.

“That number is set to swell with the aging population … ”

Continue reading this article at California Healthline, click here.

“AARP charts Tech Adoption among older adults — what does it mean?” – Aging In Place Technology Watch

2016-technology

What’s happening with older adults and tech adoption?  Not much. Let’s take a look at the AARP 2016 Technology Trends Among Mid-Life and Older Americans. Hint, the report focused most of its analysis on boomers and below. So that leaves the rest of us to look more closely at what they found about older ages, since it seems that this is the most recent set of material on this topic.  From Page 10: ‘Adults age 70+ are the least likely to have adopted any device.’  And on Page 12: only 29% of those aged 70+ own a smartphone – and of non-owners in that age group, only 4% plan to buy one in the coming (2017) year.”

Continue reading the article at Aging In Place Technology Watch.

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission: PUC encourages consumer awareness of the Lifeline program; now available for voice & internet services.

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today encouraged consumers across the state to understand the resources available through the Lifeline program, which is used by nearly 500,000 Pennsylvanians. Lifeline has now been expanded to include broadband internet service for low-income households, in addition to, or in combination with, landline or wireless voice telephone service.

“Lifeline is intended to help make communications more affordable and more accessible for low-income households, helping them stay connected to information about jobs, family, health care, schools and emergency services,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “It is essential that consumers understand the expanded options now available – including a variety of voice and internet services – and also make note of federal efforts to streamline the list of eligible assistance programs used to qualify for Lifeline.”

In an effort to increase awareness about the Lifeline program, the PUC developed a new informational brochure, “Stay Connected with the Lifeline Telephone Assistance Program.” Copies of the brochure can be obtained by calling the PUC at 1-800-692-7380 or downloading the information from the PUC website. Consumers also are encouraged to reach out to their local telephone, wireless or internet companies, to see if they qualify for Lifeline and other available programs for limited-income telephone customers.

Additionally, all five Commissioners have reached out to the CEOs of Pennsylvania telecommunications companies, requesting their assistance in educating consumers about federal changes to the Lifeline program and enhanced opportunities for low-income households to connect to voice and internet service. Responses from those companies have been published on the PUC website, including information about outreach and education plans; any focused efforts to reach current subscribers about program and eligibility changes; and details regarding any additional discounts or promotional programs.

Effective Dec. 1, 2016, consumers have several communications choices under the Lifeline program:

  • Landline or wireless internet service only;
  • A combination of landline or wireless telephone and internet service; or
  • Landline or wireless telephone only (Lifeline support for voice-only telephone service will be phased out by the end of 2021).

Federal rules limit Lifeline participation to one discount per household, so it is important for consumers to carefully evaluate their options when applying for service. Lifeline provides a monthly $9.25 per household discount on telephone or internet service, from either landline or wireless providers. The discount appears in the form of a reduction to consumers’ monthly bills.

Lifeline services are available to consumers who are enrolled in the following eligible assistance programs: Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veteran’s Pension or Survivor’s Pension benefits, Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Additionally, Lifeline is available to households whose income is at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines (currently $32,805 for a family of four).

Additional information about Lifeline and other communications assistance programs, along with contact information for various telephone companies that participate in the Lifeline program, is available on the PUC website.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.pa.gov. Follow the PUC on Twitter – @PA_PUC for all things utility.  “Like” Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Facebook for easy access to information on utility issues.

 

 

“Caring for your aging family member? Our voice-initiated concierge makes it a whole lot easier!”

Here comes help for caregivers!

mrv_banner_2v2Graphic is from the AskMarvee Website -Marvee simplifies and notifies. Sometimes it’s just difficult to do or see what used to be easy. Routine tasks are now a breeze utilizing the one thing most people can easily use… their voice! Verbal commands allow the Marvee user to ask loved ones to call them, send along an I’m OK or hear a digest of the latest family news (just to name a few services). And what a relief for family caregivers to have increased awareness!” Marvee is a care companion and Alexa Skill for the Amazon Echo.

According to Aging In Place Technology Watch: “Tech announcements spew forth, fast and furiously – but most do not help older adults.  Stay tuned and hopeful if you can, to the hundreds of announcements that will pour forth in the coming weeks from The Consumer Technology Association’s CES 2017 – hopefully a number of them focused on or at least interested in the care and/or services related to an aging population – and yes, according to the CDC, if one lives to age 65, life expectancy is unchanged. In the meantime, let’s reflect on 2016, which saw the rise in awareness of future caregiver shortages, shortages in family time, but not shortages in investor money.”

Read more at Aging In Place Technology Watch.

PUC encourages consumer awareness of the Lifeline program; now available for voice & internet services.

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today encouraged consumers across the state to understand the resources available through the Lifeline program, which is used by nearly 500,000 Pennsylvanians. Lifeline has now been expanded to include broadband internet service for low-income households, in addition to, or in combination with, landline or wireless voice telephone service.

“Lifeline is intended to help make communications more affordable and more accessible for low-income households, helping them stay connected to information about jobs, family, health care, schools and emergency services,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “It is essential that consumers understand the expanded options now available – including a variety of voice and internet services – and also make note of federal efforts to streamline the list of eligible assistance programs used to qualify for Lifeline.”

In an effort to increase awareness about the Lifeline program, the PUC developed a new informational brochure, “Stay Connected with the Lifeline Telephone Assistance Program.” Copies of the brochure can be obtained by calling the PUC at 1-800-692-7380 or downloading the information from the PUC website. Consumers also are encouraged to Continue reading →

The most interesting reading … a website that shares “what it’s really like to get old” topics!

time-goes-by

Seniors who’ve not yet discovered the “most interesting” reading we’ve found, might want to check out this exceptional Website authored by Ronni Bennett.

Time Goes By | What it’s really like to get old is exceptional in the breadth of topics that are highlighted. You just want to click through on the news snippets.

The topics in the graphic above are from the October 29 post.

From the wonderfully entertaining “Please re-elect Gerald” election ad that “features the wife of Gerald Daugherty who is running for Travis County Commissioner in Texas” to the quite serious pieces on Aleppo and the seniors and drugs “problems such as interactions between drugs, difficulty following directions, problems communicating with health-care providers, and problems getting all the information patients need,” the selections are relevant and topical.

For the past several years we’ve envisioned, as Ronni has (“I want this so bad I can taste it”), this technological advance. Here it is, the finger phone.

finger-phoneThe Website is so exhilarating; it’s got video and audio links and real-life scenarios that seniors will relate to. Take a look at Time Goes By.

 

“Five technologies to help care for older adults” – Aging In Place Technology Watch

senior-techGroup 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.

SOURCE: Aging In Place Technology Watch.com

“The Future of Medicine: PredicTED by OZY”

future-of-medicineClick on the graphic for a two-minute “what-if.”