PARO therapy robot tested, cleared by NHS for — hygiene

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/PARO.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]PARO, the therapeutic robot seal developed in Japan by Professor Takanori Shibata for socialization use with geriatric dementia patients, is moving closer to being approved for use in the UK. It passed a cleaning and hygiene test conducted over nine months by Dr. Kathy Martyn, principal lecturer in the University’s School of Health Sciences, on a 10-bed dementia ward run by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The findings were that PARO was safe within the hospital setting for an acute care dementia unit.

TTA Editors have been covering PARO since 2010 (!) and despite the qualms in certain quarters [TTA 22 June 2010 ], unsurprisingly (to this Editor) the research has shown that it lowers stress and anxiety, promotes social interaction, facilitates emotional expression, and improves mood and speech fluency. Digital Health News (Picture from Toronto Star)

Can technology be a help in reducing loneliness?

Those who are older, disabled, new mothers and those who work from home often experience something in common–a feeling of isolation, of being in a vacuum. This Guardian article discusses how online networks targeting special interests can relieve that feeling: Mumsnet for new mothers, Scope for the disabled. For older people, Mindings (UK) can connect them to their own private network with text messaging, reminders, calendaring and photo sharing; it has been piloted by NHS Midlands and East as well as Suffolk County Council for dementia sufferers.

This Editor tried the artificial intelligence software powered chatbot Mitsuku recommended in the article, and found it monumentally silly after a minute of ‘dialogue’, kind of like a person you’ve met at a cocktail party with whom you find some common ground, only to find out that you’ve met a parrot, and not the Monty Python Dead Parrot.

One-on-one relationships that don’t need apps is in a related Guardian article where their writers take up Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s invitation for people to invite their elderly friends and neighbors into their homes for a chat and a cup of tea. (more…)

Looking back over Telehealth & Telecare Aware’s predictions for 2014, part II

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/magic-8-ball.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Editor Charles has treated you to a look back on his 2014 predictions, daring Editor Donna to look back on hers. Were they ‘Decidedly so’, ‘Yes’, ‘Reply hazy, try again’ or ‘My sources say no’? Read on…

On New Year’s Day 2014, it looked like “the year of reckoning for the ‘better mousetraps’”? But the reckoning wasn’t quite as dramatic as this Editor thought.

We are whipping past the 2012-13 Peak of Inflated Expectations in health tech, diving into the Trough of Disillusionment in 2014.

There surely were companies which turned up ‘Insolvent with a great idea’ in Joe Hage’s (LinkedIn’s huge Medical Devices Group) terms, but it was more a year of Big Ideas Going Sideways than Crash and Burns.

Some formerly Great Ideas may have a future, just not the one originally envisioned. (more…)

Panasonic enters telehealth, debuts On4Today

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Panasonic-on4today.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]Panasonic’s new Health and Wellness Solutions group has tossed their cap into the socialization ring with tablet-based On4Today. The Wi-Fi connected tablet is targeted to senior housing communities to assist residents, especially those with cognitive impairment, in staying connected and managing their daily activities. Launched this week at the LeadingAge annual meeting of non-profit housing and long-term care providers in Nashville (IAHSA internationally), the tablet features a calendar, provides reminders, receives messages and lets the user view photos, videos and video chat. It does not, at present, do any clinical monitoring. This Editor received a preview at the Aging 2.0/New York meeting in New York earlier this month showcasing Jewish Home Lifecare and Panasonic. (more…)

A change of guard at GrandCare Systems

This Editor has often referred to her former competitor GrandCare Systems as one of the ‘grizzled pioneers’ on the Conestoga Wagons of Telecare–even more grizzled than QuietCare (circa 2003-4) since their ur-system dates back to 1995-6, when it kept track of founder and CEO Charlie Hillman’s mother Clara. In the years since, the closely-held company has broadened its original telecare and activity monitoring tech into telehealth, socialization and home automation/monitoring into the most fully featured system in telecare/telehealth for older adults. Without making huge splashes, being beholden to VCs or moving from bucolic West Bend, Wisconsin, the company has grown through multiple alliances, the most unusual being home automation association CEDIA. GrandCare has a residential base of customers but has also developed a solid footing in senior communities both in assisted and independent living. Earlier this year, they reached into UK to partner with Saga [TTA 24 Jan10 Jan] and received the CE Mark for approval of its telehealth features for EU distribution.

The news is that they have a new CEO–Daniel Maynard, who is joining from (more…)

Designing housing for the cognitively impaired–where’s the telecare?

Steve Moran’s Senior Housing Forum is hosting a lively discussion on designing communities for what this Editor would term the cognitively impaired, euphemistically called ‘memory care’ here in the States, then often bluntly categorized as dementia care. This concentrates on one CEO’s journey in designing a new memory care community, The Cottages at Cedar Run (Wisconsin) and how he utilized ideas developed in the US (Eden Alternative, Green Houses — Bill Thomas’ work, TTA 30 July) as well as the Dutch Dementia Village [TA 22 Dec 12] The architect’s video still strikes this Editor as full of nice touches (the courtyard a la the Dutch, but not as spacious or a center of activity; the padded window seats) but still institutional feeling (the cottages have a nice look but need more individualization to aid resident identification; how a resident/family can personalize the cottage); all in the right direction. The comments expand upon many points, but what is really missing here is the integration of technology(more…)

Tablets as ‘socializers’ for older adults

Long-time reader and now guest contributor John Boden of ElderIssues LLC and developer of the LifeLedger, reasons that if young children can use tablets fairly meaningfully, so can older adults at home or in senior communities. This is adapted from one of his series of ‘Caregiver Tips’ available via opt-in at caregivertips@elderissues.com.

Socialize With Technology: Tablets and iPads

If babies can use iPads, so can the very old.

Tablets and iPads are everywhere – EXCEPT – with nursing home patients.

This must be the season for me to have “aha!” moments. Last month it was while reading “Still Alice” and this month it was while visiting a nursing home where Sue told me she liked playing Scrabble but it was hard to find people to play with.

I am sure it is hard in a nursing home where you have to find another patient (more…)