Category: Aging In Place

5 New Year Resolutions for a Happy and Healthy 2018

2017 is close to coming to an end and it feels like 2016 was just yesterday. To some, it may just seem like another year, but to others, it’s an opportunity for a fresh start. With January 1st closing in, take these final days of December to reflect on your 2017. What did you achieve? What could you have done better? Are you happy with your health? Did you spend enough time with your loved ones? With so much to consider, setting reasonable New Years Resolutions can be quite difficult. If you want your 2018 to be the year of better health, better relationships, and better well-being then consider these New Year Resolutions:

Increase Physical Activity

Staying active is key to feeling young and aging healthily. This doesn’t mean all your free time should be spent in the gym, but rather a light exercise for a brief period every day. There are tons of exercise programs out there specifically designed for seniors such as yoga, water aerobics, and circuit classes. At the bare minimum, we recommend taking a 10-minute walk every day. Walking is one of the best ways for seniors to stay fit. It’s proven to strengthen muscles, help with osteoporosis, improve circulation, and assist in weight loss.

Reach Out To An Old Friend

It’s normal to lose a couple friends as we get older. But it’s never too late to revive a past friendship. In the past, it may have been much more difficult to keep in touch, but thanks to advances in technology rekindling old friendships couldn’t be easier. Set New Year resolutions to reach out to a couple old friends and set a date to hang out and catch up. Chances are, they’ll be thrilled to hear from you!

Spend More Time With Your Grandchildren

They say you don’t know what happiness is until you’ve had grandchildren. And they’re right! How can you not light up when you see their adorable faces? Unfortunately, some people don’t have the ability to drive up the street to see their bundles of joy. Thankfully, Independa is an incredible solution that can bring you closer to your family anytime, anywhere! If you don’t want to miss out on their special moments and golden years, Independa can keep you connected.

Work Out Your Brain

Muscle mass isn’t the only thing we lose over time. Just like working out at the gym, our brains need exercise too. Researchers believe that consistent mental exercise is vital to a healthy memory and strong cognitive thinking. This year, strengthen your mind by learning an instrument, take a cooking class, register for an online course, do puzzles, or anything that can sharpen your thinking skills.

Speak Up

We left this for last because this is incredibly important. A  study found that 10 percent of adults 55 to 85 years of age experience anxiety in the same prevalence among other age groups. This can be characterized by feelings of loneliness, worry, irritability, trouble sleeping, tiredness, and loss of appetite. This poses a risk particularly for seniors as they’ve experienced hard loss, suffer more pain due to chronic diseases, and side effects from medication. If you are experiencing these symptoms for more than two weeks we recommend speaking up to your friends, family, and physician.

2018 is going to be a tough year. There will be many up and many downs but all we can do is focus on becoming a better version of our past selves. If you want to grow and thrive this year we recommend starting with the New Year resolutions mentioned above. Have any other helpful New Year Resolution suggestions? Be sure to let us know on our Facebook page.

Improper dosage of Medication: Taking too Much vs Not Taking Enough

If you have elderly parents or grandparents, you will have to take care of a number of things. One of the main things is the medications the elderly use, when they have to take it, the dosage and the kind. Since they are getting old, seniors usually tend to forget the medications and the dosages they have to take which can lead to serious consequences. The improper dosage of the medication may aggravate their medical conditions, something you definitely do not want.

4 Free & Low-Cost Ideas to Improve Care for Your Aging Parents

Your aging parents’ care can quickly become costly. From expensive medical specialists and prescriptions that may not be covered by their insurance, to wages lost from needing to take time off work or driving back and forth between two homes, caregiving carries a steep price.

Is there anything the adult children of older parents can do to improve care for their parents in a cost efficient, less disruptive way?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes! Here are a few free or low-cost ways you can care for your aging parents:

1) Get Grandkids & Grandparents Together

Aging in a Disaster-Sticken Nepal

By: Richard D. Della Penna, MD
Chief Medical Officer at Independa, Inc.

I am currently in Nepal, an economically poor but culturally-rich country still badly wounded by last April’s devastating 7.8 earthquake. Six months later, hundreds of thousands of displaced people remain without proper basic housing. If that were not enough, Nepal is now struggling with another disaster; a border blockade from India, resulting in progressively worsening shortages of gasoline, life-saving medicines, non-perishable food staples and many other items. Nepal’s people live with a chronic shortage of electricity as well which further compounds the problem.

There is a silver lining: these terrible hardships are bringing out the best in people, especially as two major Hindu festivals approach:

  1. Dashera, which marks the victory of good over evil
  2. Tihar, a joyous time of thanks for past blessings and prayers for continued blessings in the new year

The exuberance and joy associated with the festivals is subdued in comparison to usual times but remains strong.

I am currently staying with a large family in the heart of Kathmandu. It is a joined family, whose members span three generations. Aama, an 83-year woman with multiple chronic conditions and significant self-care limitations lives in her home with the families of five of her six sons. This includes five daughters-in-law and nine grandchildren whose ages range from 6 months to 22 years. As Aama’s need for physical assistance increased over time, her family provided it, allowing her to remain as independent as possible and central to family life.

In the days leading up to Dashera and Tihar, Aama is consulted on just about everything, from the menu and it’s traditional dishes to reminding her eldest daughter-in-law of the ritual items needed. She has played a key role in the rituals.

I continually compare and contrast aging in Nepal with aging in America. While there are exceptions, key observations about aging in Nepal include:

  • Family ties are strong and go well beyond the nuclear family
  • Elders are valued and respected across generations
  • Aging is not a process to be resisted or feared
  • Elders are not an out group disconnected from mainstream society
  • The concept of being a family caregiver is non-existent – people do what comes naturally
  • Senior living settings are almost non-existent
  • Aging and age related conditions are not medicalized but rather seen as a phase of life and a period of changing roles

  • How can smart environments and machine learning help seniors remain independent?

    By 2050, the number of Americans over the age of 85 is expected to triple, and demand for long-term care may well outstrip supply. To meet the looming need for senior health care, researchers are working to develop innovative technology solutions that can help maintain a high quality of life for aging individuals.

    A program at Washington State University is using machine learning to help seniors live in their choice of environment for longer and with a greater degree of independence.

    Technology responds to seniors’ needs

    WSU’s Center for Advanced Studies in Adaptive Systems is working on technology that will use machine learning — a form of artificial intelligence — to monitor an individual’s activities, determine what is happening and how it compares to typical behavior, and respond as needed.

    The “Smart Home in a Box” includes about 30 sensors that can detect factors like movement, temperature and doors opening or closing. The system is currently being tested in 40 homes in the Seattle and Spokane areas.

    Aging in a preferred environment

    IndependaTV™ is an innovative technology that allows seniors to age in their choice of environment. With a simple-to-use interface, IndependaTV™ is the first technology that provides video chat, medication reminders, and messaging on a familiar television platform.

    With user-friendly software known as Angela, IndependaTV™ assists seniors as they use their simple TV remote to watch favorite shows, communicate and receive medication and appointment reminders. The system also interfaces with a variety of wireless health-monitoring devices, and loved ones can check in through a convenient PC or mobile dashboard.

    Promoting seniors’ quality of life

    With the need for long-term care expected to skyrocket in the coming decades, seniors and their families increasingly will look to technological solutions that promote independence. IndependaTV™ provides a number of tools that work as a turnkey solution for helping seniors age in place, either at home or in a senior living community.



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    • Our guests use the video chat and photo and message sharing features of Independa to stay connected with their families. In fact this week we admitted a guest who has a daughter in Georgia and another in Italy. I spoke with the daughter about how to share photos and messages and to make video calls from her Independa device, and later went to see the guest about how it was going. She said to me “Kelly this video chat is so cool! I don’t care how long I have to be in here now because I can see my daughters!” It’s just amazing to see one of our guests be able to connect with a loved one all the way from Italy!

      Kelly Miles, Director of Rec Therapy
    • You don’t need to keep calling me now to remind me, my TV just told me to take my medication!

      93 Year Old Independa User
    • I love that Dad can get digital photos now. He didn’t want a Facebook account so the only time he would see any photos was when we came over to visit and we’d show him on our iPhone. Now he gets them himself on the TV all the time, and when people come to visit him he proudly shows them his photo album on the TV.

      USA Properties
    • I’ve been using video chat and it has opened up my world – my family who live close by still visit once a week, but now I get to see them every day. I also get to see the rest of the family who live interstate and can’t come to visit. I also video chat with old friends who I haven’t seen for years. It has made such a big difference to my life, I don’t feel isolated anymore. I highly recommend this to other people; it really does change your life.

      USA Properties
    • I live in California, my 80 year-old dad lives in Texas and my 21 year-old daughter lives in Colorado. My daughter spends all her time on social media using her smart phone, whereas my dad spends all his time watching TV, he doesn’t understand social media and doesn’t have a smart phone. Independa is great because not only does it bring us closer despite the geographical distance between us, it bridges the gap between the generations because it uses the technology they are most comfortable with.

      USA Properties
    • We use the video chat feature in the resident’s TV to get the entire circle of care together at once; we will have the nurse and the physical therapist in the room with the resident, and we will then video call their family. That way everyone who is involved in their care gets the same message at the same time and can ask questions while we are present so there is no confusion. One time when we were working with a deaf resident, we were able to arrange for her daughter to sign via video chat and translate what we were saying and the questions her mother had; it made such a huge difference.

      Wellbridge at Brighton
    • My dad was on the Honor Flight to DC today. An amazing trip for a veteran. I was able to meet him at the Korean War Memorial. He is a Korean War veteran. I was able to send pictures of the entire experience to my mom at home throughout the day. Mom was thrilled, and when my dad gets home he has all the pictures from his trip on his TV and can even play a slideshow. Amazing!!! Thank you!

      Kendal At Home
    • Video chat on the TV is great! I was using FaceTime on my iPad to see the grandkids and I thought that was the greatest thing, but seeing them all on the big TV is truly incredible, it’s like they are in the room with me. I love it!

      USA Properties
    • When Lillian broke her hip a week before her Grandson’s wedding, she and the family were broken hearted because they thought she would have to miss this very special day. Thankfully, she had chosen Wellbridge of Brighton for her short-term rehab. “I’m going to my Grandson’s wedding” she proudly told the staff as she received the video call through her TV and was instantly ‘seated’ in the front row for the ceremony!

      Wellbridge of Brighton
    • I travel a lot for work. I used to worry myself sick about not being able to be there if Mom needed me. She says the smartphone I got her is too small, too complicated, and hard to see, but she loves using Independa. Now she can see all her shows and we can video chat so I can make sure she’s taking her medicine. It’s such a relief to check in anytime and know she’s OK.

      Laura P.