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Guest Blog:Technology in mobility, a smarter outlook!

In a world where technology seems to pervade every aspect of our lives, we take a look at how technology can make a positive contribution to care and making the lives of your loved ones easier and more dignified in later life.

Many people will be familiar with the term ‘Aids To Daily Living’.  This simply describes a category of products that do exactly what the term implies. Usually associated with smaller products that help in the home or the garden, these products are at the forefront in the push for technological breakthroughs as manufacturers look for the next big seller!

This relentless drive has meant that the Living Aids sector has grown massively from just a few lines of products in the early eighties, to quite literally thousands of product lines and growing today.

Examples of some Daily Living Aids include easy grip cutlery; can and bottle openers, long handled tools, the list is almost endless and there are new innovations being developed daily.

Technology has pushed the advancement of lightweight materials including new plastics, metals alloys and electronic components that have revolutionised many products. A good example of this is the walking stick, formerly made of cane in a one-size-fits-all configuration; the walking stick now has many types, materials, colours and setting options. Many of the enhancements have been borrowed from the world of high end sport, F1, military and even space!

Further evidence of this technological boundary breaking has been in the field of medical prosthetics where both mechanical engineering and state of the art electronics mean that disabled people are now receiving much greater movement options as bio and electronic systems become ever more intertwined.

The care sector has always been hungry for new technology, as most readers will be aware it is the smaller sometimes mundane tasks that affect our loved ones and that require specialist products that can help. The search for these products can be challenging but the internet can be a valuable resource to locate Daily Living Aids that can be most useful.

It is usually a good idea to start with the problem when looking for new products, i.e. ‘problems reaching high shelves’ – searches like this will often bring up some product based results and technology based answers. Another good resource is forums where new technology is discussed and you can canvas the experience of other product users.

A greater range of Daily Living Aids products can mean more independence as more tasks become available through the tools available. It can make a big difference to self-esteem as the person can continue to feel they can perform ordinary tasks, albeit with a little help in the right direction, and sometimes a little push to get them to adopt something new!

As with all technology, it will continue and this will mean that in the future we can look through to even more discoveries that can contribute to increased mobility and independent living of our loved ones; this can only be a good thing and is a great example of using technology in a positive way, for the benefit of all.

This post was written on behalf of Andrew Atkinson. Andrew is a director of mobility products specialists MobilitySmart and has written many articles on providing health and mobility tips .

 

 

 

By |2020-02-26T09:25:12-05:00February 26th, 2020|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog:Technology in mobility, a smarter outlook!

Guest Blog: Auto Safety Tech Innovations That Will Excite Boomer Drivers

 

As automotive technology has improved, increasingly more consumers are seeking out that technology during the car shopping process. Every year, the rate at which technology changes personal transportation accelerates. As a matter of fact, NY speeding violations lawyer http://www.zevgoldsteinlaw.com/ quotes General Motors CEO Mary Barra; “We’re going to see more change in the next five to ten years than we’ve seen in the last 50.”

 

For baby boomers, who are hoping to stay on the road for as long as possible, this is more important than ever. The question many consumers find themselves asking, however, is what technologies will make their way into the mainstream market and which ones will remain in the realm of science fiction. In the very near future, there are 25 advanced car technologies that we expect to see making their way into showrooms.

  1. Intelligent Brake Lights are being developed that indicate whether a driver is stopping quickly or simply decreasing acceleration.
  2. Smart Windshields will use augmented reality to help display key information about what’s happening on the road.
  3. Night Vision Enhancements make it easier for seniors and others with night vision troubles to see when they’re out on the road at night, removing obstacles that might create an earlier curfew for seniors.
  4. Automated Parking Systems make parking easy. Simply put the car into parking mode and it will slide itself into the parking space—perfect for those who have started to see their motor skills deteriorating.
  5. Lane Departure Warning Systems don’t just help distracted drivers who might have wandered out of their designated lane. They’re also designed to help elderly drivers who may struggle to keep their car inside the lane when they’re driving.
  6. Crash Notification and Avoidance Technologies recognize the conditions that can lead to an accident, from someone running into the road to a car slamming on its brakes ahead. Some of them are designed to notify drivers so that they can react. Others may even slam on the brakes or have another reaction to help avoid the collision.
  7. Blind Spot Detection and Back-Over Prevention Systems note any time there’s something behind the car or in a blind spot, making it easier to avoid accidents.
  8. Fatigue Warning Systems analyze driver behavior and notify them when they are becoming fatigued, letting drivers know when it’s time to pull over for a while.
  9. Forward Collision Warning with Auto Brake notices when accidents are going to happen and puts on the brakes to avoid them.
  10. Self-Driving Cars were the technology of the future just a few short years ago. Now, however, they’re becoming a very real possibility, removing the responsibility of driving the car from the senior’s shoulders.
  11. Driver Override Systems recognize when drivers are accelerating faster than the driver intended, such as when the gas pedal is slammed instead of the brake. The unsafe response is then overridden.
  12. Biometric Vehicle Access offers an even greater level of safety and protection, pulling together the safety systems needed by an individual driver based on biometric scans.
  13. Comprehensive Vehicle Tracking lets you know where your car is at any moment. It’s a fantastic resource for children who might worry about their elderly parents wandering off.
  14. Active Window Displays bring GPS and other apps straight to the windshield, removing the need to look away in order to effectively use those apps.
  15. Remote Vehicle Shutdown allows a car to be shut down from a distance—especially effective in conjunction with the GPS tracking that will let adult children know if their parents are out of the geographic area where they should be traveling. This feature is one of 10 advanced car technologies predicted by Forbes contributor Karl Brauer by 2020.
  16. Active Health Monitoring is something nearly everyone is now familiar with. Active health monitoring in a vehicle allows drivers to know when their health isn’t adequate to safe driving.
  17. Reconfigurable Body Panels change the shape of the car, making it possible to use a single vehicle for many purposes.
  18. Tablet Transforming Steering Wheels use gesture control, similar to what’s used on a tablet screen, to make cars easier to maneuver—even for those with joint problems.
  19. High-Tech Car Seats with Stress Gauges help drivers stay calm behind the wheel, shifting responses to help create a safer driving experience.
  20. Dashboard Safety Integration provides safety information on the dashboard, where it’s easy to view while driving.
  21. Augmented Reality provides warning messages and other key information on the windshield, making it easier to see obstacles and other concerns.
  22. Hydrogen-Powered Fuel Cell Cars combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce the power for fuel cells that run the car—truly the car of the future.
  23. Rotating Motorized Lounge Chairs provide an increased level of comfort for drivers who might otherwise have trouble in the car.
  24. Eye-Tracking Holographic Dashboard technology uses gestures and eye movements to allow apps to be accessed without needing to touch the screen.
  25. Autopilot systems, like self-driving car technology, provide drivers with the safe travel they need without reducing their independence.

These new technologies have helped make traveling by car safer than it ever has been before. This is particularly true for older drivers who may need additional assistance behind the wheel. This offers a significant improvement in quality of life for aging baby boomers who may no longer feel safe behind the wheel. New technology, however, prepares the way for them to drive longer.

 

 

 

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By |2020-02-23T17:20:41-05:00February 25th, 2020|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Auto Safety Tech Innovations That Will Excite Boomer Drivers

Navigating Role Changes in the Grandparented Family

Needs of the child

An essential consideration in assigning terms of endearment is what is ultimately in the best interest of your child. I asked myself which was more important – that JJ have us as grandparents? or that he have a forever Mom and Dad? In our case, this was a simpler choice because JJ had plenty of other grandparents, Saunties, and Bruncles, but only one set of reliable parents who were part of his life. While we kept his original birth certificate, the county issued a new one that named us as his parents as if he had been born to us. One of our other adopted children suggested when JJ goes to school, it is more important that he and everyone else knows who his Mom and Dad are. Seemingly simple choices now can become of great importance later in his life.

Involvement of the birth parents

There are many situations in which grandparents care for their grandchildren, even formally adopting them, but the natural parents are still part of the child’s life. In cases like these, it is probably best to keep everyone’s titles the same in order to have less confusion for the child. However, if the birth parents are incarcerated, deceased, have ongoing substance abuse problems, have moved far away, do not ever see the child, or pose a danger or threat to the family, consider what is in the child’s best interest.

Wishes of the child or children

One Grandmother recently told me that when they adopted her grandson at a young age, her husband wanted to continue to be called Grandpa. However, as soon as their boy started to talk, he began to call Grandpa his Daddy, and soon after, Grandpa gave up and embraced his role as Dad along with the new name. What do your children want to call you? What do you want to be called? If they name you Mom or Dad, it is usually because this is how they see you. It is a term of great endearment that fills a need in their life. Names are important because they express relationships to us and others. Strongly weigh what your children prefer to call you and negotiate mutually respectful names for your unique family ties.

Wishes of the relatives

While other relatives cannot determine what your adopted grandchild will call you, relatives will also have some concerns about their changing relationships within this unique family system. Ask relatives what they would like to be called. Grandparents who continue to be part of your child’s life may have unique or cultural names that they prefer to be called so that the child recognizes them as special. Honor those wishes as much as you can. Even small choices as these can strengthen the family ties and provide your little one with the security he deserves.

So, in the land of Saunties and Bruncles there are many unfamiliar twists and turns. The list of difficult choices and tunnels off the rabbit hole on this strange journey will continue on. But, as you take one step at a time, you can successfully navigate your changing role in this new, wonderful family.

By |2020-02-23T17:18:50-05:00February 23rd, 2020|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Navigating Role Changes in the Grandparented Family

Seizures

Doctor - Taking Notes

Background

Once thought to be mainly a disorder of children, recurrent seizures or epilepsy is thought to be present in about 7% of older adults (Spitz, 2005) and is usually related to one of the common comorbidities found in older adults (Bergey, 2004; Rowan & Tuchman, 2003). Epilepsy affects up to 3 million Americans of all ages (Velez & Selwa, 2003). Davidson & Davidson (2012) summarized findings of most studies on epilepsy in older adults with these main points:
Seizures can be caused by a variety of conditions in older persons, but “the most common cause of new-onset epilepsy in an elderly person is arteriosclerosis and the associated cerebrovascular disease” (Spitz, 2005, p. 1), accounting for 40–50% of seizures in this age group (Rowan & Tuchman, 2003). Seizures are associated with stroke in 5–14% of survivors (Spitz, 2005; Velez & Selwa, 2003). Other common causes of epilepsy in the elderly include Alzheimer’s disease and brain tumor.
There are three major classifications of epilepsies, although there are many additional types. Generalized types are more common in young people and associated with grand mal or tonic-clonic seizures. A number of cases have an un¬determined origin and may be associated with certain situations such as high fever, exposure to toxins, or rare metabolic events. In older adults, localized (partial or focal) epilepsies are more common, particularly complex partial seizures (Luggen, 2009). In contrast to young adults, Rowan and Tuchman (2003) cite other differences in seizures in the elderly: low frequency of seizure activity, easier to control, high potential for injury, a prolonged postictal period, and better tolerance with newer antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Additionally, older adults may have coexisting medical problems and take many medications to treat these problems.

Risk Factors/Warning Signs

Risk factors for seizures in older adults include cerebrovascular disease (especially stroke), age, and head trauma. The most obvious signs and symptoms of epilepsy are seizures, although changes in behavior, cognition, and level of consciousness may be other signs. Also, note that exposure to toxins can cause seizures that are not epilepsy. Complex partial seizures in older adults may include symptoms such as “confusion, memory loss, dizziness, and shortness of breath” (Davidson & Davidson, 2012, p. 16). Automatism (repetitive movements), facial twitching with following confusion, and coughing are also signs of the more-common complex partial seizure (Luggen, 2009).

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made by careful description of the seizure event, a thorough history, and physical. Eyewitness accounts of the seizure incident can be quite helpful, although many community-dwelling older adults go undiagnosed because their seizures are never witnessed. In addition, complete blood work, neuroimaging, chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG), and electroencephalogram (EEG) help determine the cause and type of seizure (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence {NICE}, 2012).

Treatment

Treatment for epilepsy is aimed at the causal factor. The standard treatment for recurrent seizures is antiepilepsy drugs (AEDs). The rule of thumb, “start low and go slow,” for medication dosing in older adults particularly applies to AEDs. The elderly tend to have more side effects, adverse drug interactions, and problems with toxicity levels than younger people.
Research has suggested that older adults may have better results with fewer side effects with the newer AEDs than the traditional ones, though about 10% of nursing home residents are still medicated with the first-generation AEDs (Mauk, 2004). The most common older medications used to treat seizures include barbiturates (such as phenobarbital), benzodiazepines (such as diazepam/Valium), hydantoins (such as phenytoin/Dilantin), and valproates (such as valproic acid/Depakene) (Deglin & Vallerand, 2005; Resnick, 2008).
Several newer drugs are also used, depending on the type of seizure. Second-generation AEDs, including gabapentin (Neurontin), lamotrigine (Lamictal), oxcarbazepine (Trileptal), levetiracetam (Keppra), pregabalin (Lyrica), tiagabine (Gabitril), and topiramate (Topamax), are generally recommended over the older AEDs; however, older AEDS such as phenytoin (Dilantin), valproate (Depakote), and carbamazepine (Tegretol) are the most commonly prescribed treatment options (Resnick, 2008). Each of these medications has specific precautions for use in patients with certain types of medical problems or for those taking certain other medications. Regarding side effects in older patients, watch for potential stomach, kidney, neurological (especially poor balance or incoordination), and liver problems. Additionally, some newer extended-release AEDs are thought to be better tolerated and have a lower incidence of systemic side effects (such as tremors) (Uthman, 2004).

Adapted from Mauk, K. L., Hanson, P., & Hain, D. (2014). Review of the management of common illnesses, diseases, or health conditions. In K. L. Mauk’s (Ed.) Gerontological Nursing: Competencies for Care.Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Used with permission.

 

By |2020-02-02T15:56:35-05:00February 20th, 2020|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Seizures