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Infographic: Transform TVs into a Care Support & Connectivity Platform


75% of older adults have two or more chronic conditions, and $300 billion is the annual cost of non-adherence. Isn’t there a better way we can care for aging Americans?

Yes. Since people age 65+ watch more than 51 hours of TV each week, let’s take advantage of this familiar device to better care for older adults.

Learn more facts about aging adults in the infographic below:

Considering the fact that 99% of adults age 65+ own at least one TV, it’s clear to see that we need to take advantage of the technology people already own and know how to use to help older adults thrive in place.

Easy to use Independa technology can be used by organizations, aging Americans, and their loved ones to do just that:

  • Organizations can bring the comfort of home to their community, increase staff efficiency, and improve operations by adding Independa to their community. Download the Independa for organizations brochure here to learn more.
  • Aging Americans can now effortlessly stay connected with their family and friends, enjoy greater independence, and participate in treasured family activities with Independa. Download the Independa for home brochure here to learn more.
  • Family and friends can care, even when they can’t be there, with Independa’s easy to use video chat, medication reminders, automatic check-ins, and additional remote care services. Download the Independa for home brochure here to learn more.




  • How to Prevent Memory Loss in Older Adults


    Memory loss is one of the most common mental health issues affecting older adults and their independence. Lack of independence can consequently result in depression, stress, and social isolation. Maintaining the mind and its health is an extremely important aspect of senior care, particularly when it comes to memory. Here are a few ways aging Americans can fight against memory loss.

    Puzzles and Word Games

    Puzzles and games are a great way to keep the brain active. Consistently challenging the mind is a key component in mental health, especially when it comes to aging. Crossword puzzles and Sudoku are the most recommended options for memory stimulation, though countless brain games are available with a quick internet search.

    Learning a New Skill

    Studies are now showing that learning new skills such as picking up a new hobby greatly improve memory in older adults. Of course, one can’t learn a new skill every day, so supplementing crocheting lessons with daily crosswords can make a great recipe for memory retention.

    A Healthy and Balanced Diet

    The food you eat also impacts your mental wellbeing. A good diet is necessary for the mind to stay sharp and for memory to improve. Of course, along with consuming a healthy, nutritious diet, aging Americans should exercise to keep the blood flowing to the brain. Staying fit and eating well are the best ways to combat nearly any mental health problem that occurs as a result of age.

    Organizing Your Life

    A scattered, disorganized life sets anyone up for forgetfulness. Clear out unneeded items and store possessions with the intention of making an older adult’s life easier. Let their home be a place where it is difficult to forget where they keep a specific item. You may also want to suggest a day planner of appointments and events to keep track of daily life.

    Part-Time Jobs

    Working during retirement is rising in popularity for its numerous positive benefits. Older adults who work are happier and healthier as a result of social interaction, mental stimulation, and physical activity. All these aspects of employment work toward memory retention as our aging loved ones learn the new skills of their job and talk to new people. An extra bit of income also never hurts.

    Quality Sleep

    The average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep. Anyone who has gotten less than that on a regular basis can testify that it causes memory loss. Keeping daily life on schedule when you are tired is difficult for people of all ages and therefore can impact people who are aging as well. When older Americans do not get enough quality sleep, their mental well-being, memory included, is sure to suffer. If they are experiencing insomnia, it is important that you find the cause and eliminate it whether it means buying a new mattress or speaking to a doctor about sleep medication.

    Memory loss is often accepted as a normal part of aging. However living with memory loss is preventable with the right activities and alterations. Diet and sleep can be tricky to tackle but buying a crossword puzzle book is not. Get the older adult in your life mentally active whether it is through trivia games, Sudoku, or even finding a part time job. Don’t accept life with memory loss, find a way to fight it.

    This guest post was written by Jim Vogel. Jim Vogel and his wife, Caroline, created ElderAction.org after they began caring for their ailing parents. Through that rewarding and sometimes difficult process they’ve learned a lot about senior care and specifically the need for more effective senior mental health and support. Their site offers elder-positive resources and other helpful information on aging. In his spare time, Jim loves fishing, reading, and spending time with his kids.

    Image via Pixabay by stevepb





    “Ageist”: 3 Negative Stereotypes About Aging BUSTED


    Who do we picture when you think of a senior? Do we imagine someone with gray hair, bifocal glasses, outdated clothes, dentures, and a cane or walker? Do we associate this person with diminished mental or physical capabilities, simply because of their age?  If so, this is called “ageism”, and we’re here to show a few examples of why it should stop.

    There are a host of negative stereotypes about aging ranging from health and mobility to the ability to understand technology. These stereotypes are perpetuated by the media, and unfortunately by society at large — yes, that means many of us, and often inadvertently. While many older adults develop certain conditions associated with aging, these conditions do not represent all older Americans. Discover how these three active adults are shattering stereotypes of aging:

    Ageist Stereotype #1: Health

    Imagine a 25 year old man standing next to a 65 year old man. Which would you say is healthier?

    Many people wouldn’t hesitate to answer that the 25 year old is healthier than his 65 year old counterpart. But how do you define health? There are plenty of young adults who suffer from chronic health conditions such as obesity, and older adults who are the perfect picture of health. In fact, a 2011 survey by psychcentral.com claims that young people think they’re healthier than they are. Young or old, age is not necessarily an indicator of health.

    Jo Pavey is an excellent example of an older adult who is in better health than her younger counterparts. She became the oldest-ever European female athletics champion when she won the gold medal in the European 10,000 meter run at age 40. Coming in at 32:22.39, Pavey made headlines in 2014 upon her incredible win which came only 10 days after she won the Commonwealth bronze medal in Glasgow. Pavey beat a 24 year old athlete – 16 years her junior – during the 10,000 meter race, shattering the stereotype that someone older can’t compete effectively against younger participants.

    Getty (Photographer). (2014, August 12). Jo Pavey [digital image]. Retrieved from http://i3.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article4041991.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/Jo-Pavey.jpg.

    Ageist Stereotype #2: Mobility

    Let’s revisit that mental image of an older American: did you picture someone with a cane, walker or wheelchair?

    The truth is that more than 2/3rds of aging adults do not use walking aids. For the 1/3rd who do, a better perspective to take is how the walking aid empowers the person to be more mobile, not that they are confined or limited to using the aid.

    Harriette Thompson, however, is one active American who completely destroys the myth of older adults with limited mobility. Thompson was 92 when she earned the title of “oldest woman to run a competitive 26 miles and 385 yards” last year during the San Diego “Rock n Roll” marathon. A two-time cancer survivor, Thompson is accustomed to beating the odds. She further defied stereotypes about aging when she first decided to take up running at age 76, at which point she began running marathons every year – she has skipped one marathon, though, since she was undergoing cancer treatment at the time. Thompson demonstrates that older age represents a new chapter of life.

    Paul Nestor/Competitor Group via AP (Photographer). (2015, May 31). Hariette Thompson [digital image]. Retrieved from http://sports.yahoo.com/news/92-old-seeks-become-oldest-woman-finish-marathon-071230572–spt.html.

    Ageist Stereotype #3: Relationships

    The stereotype that all seniors have been married for decades or are widowed after many years together, has existed for centuries. However, in the modern age of the Internet, this stereotype about older adults’ romantic relationships is falling apart. While many older Americans are just as in love with their spouses as they were on their wedding day 30, 40, or 50+ years ago, a great deal of those aged 65 plus are single and ready to mingle! Websites such as seniorpeoplemeet.com, ourtime.com, and datingforseniors.com are a testament to the fact that we all enjoy love in our silver and golden years. In fact, 6% of Americans between 55-64 years use dating websites or apps – only 4% less than people aged 18-24 years old according to U.S. News.

    For Bruce and Bernadetta Bateman, however, love was found the “old-fashioned” way: offline. They married at 76 and 73 years old after meeting at the Lakewood Village retirement community in Florida. Bruce fell for Bernadetta first, although Bernadetta didn’t see Bruce as a potential love interest until after Bruce sent her a condolence note when Bernadetta’s pet passed away. The Batemans were betrothed in January 2012 and married only two months later. It just goes to show that there is no age limit when it comes to falling in love!

    US News & World Report (Author). (2015, May 1). Bruce and Bernadetta [digital image]. Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com/cmsmedia/2a/58/74bbfcc2459392c18bb33e8afeeb/150501-brucebernadetta-submitted.jpg.





    Critical Questions to Ask When Evaluating a Senior Living Community


    You’ve researched several senior living communities in your city online, booked a few appointments to see them in person, and coordinated the carpooling situation with your parent(s). Well done! It’s a lot to accomplish, especially when you have so much going on in your life. But what questions should you ask when you arrive to determine if it’s the right place for your aging parent(s)?

    To help you make the right decision for Mom and Dad, we created this list of 7 critical questions you need to ask the senior living staff at the communities you are evaluating. Depending on the type of senior living community – assisted living, independent living, 55+ retirement community – some of these questions may or may not be applicable.

    We’ve created a checklist version of this guide and included it at the bottom of this post. Feel free to print this complimentary checklist and take it with you to answer the questions on-site:

    INDEPENDENCE

    1. How dependent or independent are the residents at your senior living community?
    2. What restrictions do residents have when it comes to their apartments (e.g. is painting or redecorating allowed, forbidden, or permitted within certain limits)?
    3. Are there frequent shuttles to shopping, movies, or restaurants in the area?
    4. Are the apartments and living areas open concept, or more hotel-like?

    LONELINESS

  • How frequently do your other residents’ families and friends come to visit?
  • Is your senior living community partnered with any other organizations (e.g. kids groups) who come entertain and spend time with residents?
  • How much time do caregivers spend with residents on a one-on-one basis outside of caregiving tasks?
  • What amenities are available that bring residents together? Pool, gym, gardens, game rooms?
  • Designing Tomorrow’s Ageless Communities


    Technology isn’t important; how you use it, is.

    Coined by Joseph Coughlin of AgeLab, an “ageless community” is “designed to be exciting for everyone across the lifespan”. Coughlin outlines the following four guiding principles senior-facing agencies must adopt in order to make their communities ageless:

    1. Activities- both necessary (e.g. health centers) and desirable (e.g. cafes)
    2. Intensity- an engaging sense of community
    3. Density- of housing and services available
    4. Accessibility- of information, transportation and communication

    Who Needs Ageless Communities?

    While the term “ageless community” has been emerging in our industry’s consciousness, the truth is that the desire for ageless communities has always existed; this is simply a new term to describe the concept of a fun, convenient and liveable place where people want to spend their time.

    Creating an ageless community is absolutely vital to success for Assisted and Independent Living facilities, CCRCs, active adult communities and other senior-facing agencies. Simply put, the current generation of retirees have spent their entire lives having the world redesigned around their needs, and expect nothing less in their older age.

    Consider this: 58% of Baby Boomers expect their financial security to be about the same, better, or much better than their parents’ generation1, and 55% expect to have sufficient income for both basic living and travel and leisure activities in retirement2, despite having minimal nest eggs.

    Looking beyond the Boomer-specific generation, living somewhere fun and filled with Coughlin’s four principles of activities, intensity, density and accessibility is what every person wants, regardless of age or generation. Living in this type of environment meets basic human desires to feel a sense of purpose, and give meaning to one’s life.

    How to Create an Ageless Community using Purpose-Driven Technology

    How does an ageless community relate to technology? Industries across the board tirelessly seek out new, innovative technologies to make business operations more productive, offer amenities to make their clients’ lives better, and increase revenue. Adopting a new technology isn’t a silver bullet solution, though: it must be the right solution, at the right time and with the correct implementation in order to make a valuable difference. Without purpose-driven technology, you will lose the value of your initial investment in unused tech, but market share as well to the senior living centers who are doing it right.

    You can implement purpose-driven technologies today to create an ageless community and meet consumer demands while increasing your bottom line.

    But how can you identify which technological solutions are purpose-driven? Ask the following questions:

    • Does it provide a variety of necessary and desirable activities?
    • Does it facilitate an engaging sense of community?
    • Is the technology within easy reach of your community members?
    • Is it familiar to them with little to no learning curve?
    • Does it offer on-demand services?

    Ageless Communities in the Digital Age





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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.