SMPL Technology https://smpltec.com Ease Caregiver Stress Tue, 26 Oct 2021 14:51:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 92253620 Activities & games seniors can enjoy with their family https://smpltec.com/activities-games-seniors-can-enjoy-with-their-family-2 https://smpltec.com/activities-games-seniors-can-enjoy-with-their-family-2#respond Wed, 27 Oct 2021 14:00:24 +0000 https://smpltec.com/light-as-an-alzheimers-treatment-copy

As we enter the winter holiday season, it’s the perfect time to think about fun and games. Specifically, about games and activities, you can play as a family, including your elder loved ones. Lego – The evergreen classic. There is nothing like spilling a whole mess of Lego pieces onto the dining room table and […]]]>

As we enter the winter holiday season, it’s the perfect time to think about fun and games. Specifically, about games and activities, you can play as a family, including your elder loved ones.

Lego – The evergreen classic. There is nothing like spilling a whole mess of Lego pieces onto the dining room table and letting everyone contribute to one massive build. You can stick to the “directions” or just let everyone’s imagination go wild. Seniors with arthritis or other dexterity issues may need some assistance, but in most cases, they’ll still love being brought into the group.

Board Games – While the old classics like Monopoly and Chutes & Ladders are still out there; the last 20 years have seen an explosion of new and innovative sorts of board games. These games have a wide range of complexity, so in general, you want to steer towards the ones labeled “easy” or “moderate” and with shorter game times (<30 minutes are best). You can pair up seniors with children as teams, or just find a cooperative game – like Forbidden Island or Pandemic – and let everyone work together. As game nights grow more common, you can introduce more games, and more complex games, based on the reaction of the group.

You Don’t Know Jack – This hit video game is available on just about any device or platform available today, and can be played on just about any TV you have. Each installment of the game includes a selection of different party & trivia games for groups to enjoy. Best of all, every player can use their own smartphone or tablet as their personal controller. The games are mostly riffs on classic party games like Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit & Charades, so they’re generally easy to learn. By giving your senior loved ones their own controller (this is an excellent use for old smartphones which may be lying around the home. They don’t need active cell service for this, just wi-fi access) you allow the entire family to play together and strengthen their bonds in the process.

Cookie decorating – While it may not be great for our waistlines, there’s an undeniable joy that comes from adding colorful decorations to sweet treats. It’s a messy – but quite safe – sort of fun that can bring the oldest and youngest members of the family together. While some members of the family prepare doughs & bake off the results, you can sit the group at a table with cookie cutters, colored icings, sprinkles & any sort of edible decorations you can get your hands on. And the finished products can make a wonderful gift for friends of your elder loved ones.

Whichever activities you choose, try to be considerate of the needs of the seniors you’re trying to engage. Think about whatever impairments or disabilities they have and select activities that work around those issues. Don’t force every game or activity to be uber-competitive or judged. Seniors don’t want to be condescended to, but they also don’t want to feel like they are being taken advantage of, either.

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Michael J Fox: The Paparazzi Forced Me to Reveal Parkinson’s Diagnosis https://smpltec.com/michael-j-fox-the-paparazzi-forced-me-to-reveal-parkinsons-diagnosis https://smpltec.com/michael-j-fox-the-paparazzi-forced-me-to-reveal-parkinsons-diagnosis#respond Tue, 26 Oct 2021 14:41:56 +0000 https://smpltec.com/self-care-for-caregivers-copy

Michael J Fox is arguably the most famous Parkinson’s disease sufferer and advocate in the USA. But he originally didn’t want to reveal his diagnosis back in the 90s From Vanity Fair: “The actor spoke with Entertainment Tonight about the “great opportunity” his illness presented in terms of educating the public and raising money to […]]]>

Michael J Fox is arguably the most famous Parkinson’s disease sufferer and advocate in the USA. But he originally didn’t want to reveal his diagnosis back in the 90s

From Vanity Fair:

“The actor spoke with Entertainment Tonight about the “great opportunity” his illness presented in terms of educating the public and raising money to find a cure, and how that disclosure almost didn’t happen. “It was seven or eight years after I had been diagnosed … [and] the paparazzi and stuff, they would stand outside my apartment and heckle at me, like, ‘What’s the matter with you?’” Fox recounted. “I said, ‘I can’t be making my neighbors deal with this,’ so I came out, and it was great. It was a great thing.” Fox was first diagnosed with the longterm degenerative nervous system disorder in 1991, but didn’t come forward publicly with his illness until 1998. He continued, “It was a great surprise to me that people responded the way they responded. They responded with interest, in the desire to find an answer to the disease, and then I saw that as a great opportunity. I didn’t get put in this position to squander it.”

Fox has since founded his eponymous charitable foundation dedicated to researching the disease, which has raised more than $1B in the decades since.

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Self-Care for Caregivers https://smpltec.com/self-care-for-caregivers-2-2 https://smpltec.com/self-care-for-caregivers-2-2#respond Fri, 22 Oct 2021 14:00:29 +0000 https://smpltec.com/self-care-for-caregivers-2-copy

We talk a lot about caring for our loved ones, but we don’t talk enough about caring for ourselves as caregivers.  If you are reading this, then chances are you know how…exhausting it can be caring for a loved one who has medical issues. Maybe exhausting isn’t the right word. Maybe, as a friend of […]]]>

We talk a lot about caring for our loved ones, but we don’t talk enough about caring for ourselves as caregivers. 

If you are reading this, then chances are you know how…exhausting it can be caring for a loved one who has medical issues. Maybe exhausting isn’t the right word. Maybe, as a friend of mine put it, Omni-tired would be better. Any way you describe it, the emotional weight of caregiving can be titanic. So it’s important for caregivers to spend a little time every week caring for themselves, too. Some basic tips:

Routines are your friend – I know it sounds simple, almost too simple to be true. But making routines, and keeping to them as much as possible, really will help reduce stress levels. Sit down and plot out your day, your week and your month. A simple calendar program like Google Calendar or Outlook is great for this. You want as much of your day as possible to be muscle memory; you don’t have to think about it you just act. Eventually this will free up mental bandwidth for other tasks, and reduce overall stress. 

Your medical & nutritional needs are important too – A caregiver who spends a lot of time in doctors offices, imaging centers or hospitals with their loved one will all too often begin to neglect their own health. Some of that is simple exhaustion, but there are also a myriad of psychological forces which nudge caregivers away from considering their own healthcare. Schedule regular check-ups with your general practitioner, get your annual boosters and immunizations, maybe even consider seeing a therapist of psychologist. After all if you fall seriously ill or have a breakdown, that will negatively affect your loved one, too. 

Sometimes, a distraction is your best friend – When caring for an adult loved one, it’s important to refrain from treating them like children or babies. But sometimes, you just need a little ‘you’ time. It’s important to have a slate of entertainment options at hand which you can use to keep your charge occupied for short periods while you do other things. That could be a puzzle, a movie/TV show, a selection of music, even a phone call to another relative. You can’t think of these distraction activities as “bad”; they’re a necessary tool and you need to be able to use it on occasion with a clear conscience. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Another ‘suggestion’ that’s incredibly difficult for some people to accept, but it’s necessary. Find someone – another sibling, a spouse, your children, even an able-bodied neighbor – who can take up caregiving duties even for a few hours. Even if you have to hire a home aide to come in once every week or two. For your own physical, mental and emotional well-being, you need time to yourself. To care for your home, go to your medical appointments, to spend time with your friends. 

Many caregivers feel crushing guilt taking any sort of “me time”, but you have to fight that impulse. A caregiver who doesn’t devote any time to caring for themselves will soon find themselves in need of their own caregiver. 

Brought to you by smpltec.com, Technology for Seniors News.

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Light As An Alzheimer’s Treatment https://smpltec.com/light-as-an-alzheimers-treatment-2 https://smpltec.com/light-as-an-alzheimers-treatment-2#respond Thu, 21 Oct 2021 14:21:59 +0000 https://smpltec.com/light-as-an-alzheimers-treatment-copy

We recently blogged about light therapy, but this isn’t quite what we were thinking of. A team of scientists at the UK’s University of Southampton are using UV light instead to create images of neurons without the need for huge, high-energy emitters. “Dr. Bill Brocklesby, of the Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics, says: “The […]]]>

We recently blogged about light therapy, but this isn’t quite what we were thinking of.

A team of scientists at the UK’s University of Southampton are using UV light instead to create images of neurons without the need for huge, high-energy emitters.

“Dr. Bill Brocklesby, of the Zepler Institute for Photonics and Nanoelectronics, says: “The ability to take detailed images of delicate biological structures like neurons without causing damage is very exciting”

The UV emitters used by UoS are able to produce high-resolution images on par with those previously only available using much less accessible equipment. This means – potentially – that the sorts of imaging needed to really study Alzheimer’s-afflicted cells will be much more accessible to scientists and doctors around the world. As always, it’s still early, but it’s a promising study.

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Could Advances Made Developing a Covid-19 Vaccine Lead to an Arthritis Vaccine? https://smpltec.com/could-advances-made-developing-a-covid-19-vaccine-lead-to-an-arthritis-vaccine https://smpltec.com/could-advances-made-developing-a-covid-19-vaccine-lead-to-an-arthritis-vaccine#respond Mon, 18 Oct 2021 14:00:29 +0000 https://smpltec.com/living-a-better-life-with-chronic-arthritis-copy

As someone who tries to look on the bright side of life, one of the good things to come from the Covid-19 pandemic has been the quantum advances in the field of vaccines, particularly mRNA vaccines. The technology developed and propagated to fight the pandemic is already being applied to diseases like malaria, influenza and […]]]>

As someone who tries to look on the bright side of life, one of the good things to come from the Covid-19 pandemic has been the quantum advances in the field of vaccines, particularly mRNA vaccines. The technology developed and propagated to fight the pandemic is already being applied to diseases like malaria, influenza and tuberculosis. But could this also bring about a vaccine for….rheumatoid arthritis? A new report appearing in Medical News Today shows that it’s a possibility.

“The authors of the recent study focused on a specific protein — 14-3-3 zeta — and its role in arthritis….

They found that the vaccination with the 14-3-3 zeta protein reduced joint inflammation and the severity of arthritis. It also helped preserve bone quality.

Dr. Chakravarti was excited by the study results, even though it was not what the team had initially expected to find.”

I particularly love scientific discoveries that occur when the researchers aren’t looking for them. Either way, we’re a long way away from any putative RA vaccine, but anything to help curtail that disease will be welcomed by the entire world.

 

 

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Living a Better Life with Chronic Arthritis https://smpltec.com/living-a-better-life-with-chronic-arthritis https://smpltec.com/living-a-better-life-with-chronic-arthritis#respond Fri, 15 Oct 2021 14:00:00 +0000 http://smpltec.com/?p=7974 Arthritis smpltec

Having arthritis or similar chronic conditions doesn’t mean you have to give up on living life. There are some simple tools you can employ to relieve the pain & discomfort associated with these conditions, without prescription drugs or unknown supplements. At-home physical therapy – Creaky Joints has a great rundown of exercises for the hands […]]]>
Arthritis smpltec

Having arthritis or similar chronic conditions doesn’t mean you have to give up on living life. There are some simple tools you can employ to relieve the pain & discomfort associated with these conditions, without prescription drugs or unknown supplements.

At-home physical therapyCreaky Joints has a great rundown of exercises for the hands you can do at home with no special equipment. These simple activities can help alleviate pain, improve flexibility, and potentially stave off any further degradation.

Learn which tools can help – As they say, the right tool for the right job. There are a plethora of tools available now which can help ease stress on arthritic joints. From jar & bottle cap openers in the kitchen to grab sticks in the yard to seat belt aides for the car. Even small devices can often yield significant results when used correctly and consistently. Almost any tool which lets you avoid bending, stretching, or making a fist can help alleviate arthritis pain.

Listen to your body – Anyone with arthritis knows that certain activities simply hurt more than others. Identify those painful activities and take steps to avoid them. If your hips hurt, get up and stretch every hour or so. Maybe use your elbow or shoulder to open a door rather than your hand and wrist. Try changing the lead leg you use when going up or downstairs. There are a plethora of small changes you can make to help keep your body healthy.

Ask for help – Maybe the hardest step to take, but the most important. Whether this means going to a rheumatologist, or asking your loved ones for help making your home “arthritis-friendly,” or just asking them to help you with regular tasks. Sometimes, a little help can go a long way.

 

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Does A Gene that Seems to Prevent Age-Related Cognitive Decline Be a Predictor for Alzheimer’s? https://smpltec.com/does-a-gene-that-seems-to-prevent-age-related-cognitive-decline-be-a-predictor-for-alzheimers https://smpltec.com/does-a-gene-that-seems-to-prevent-age-related-cognitive-decline-be-a-predictor-for-alzheimers#respond Tue, 12 Oct 2021 18:46:08 +0000 https://smpltec.com/helping-seniors-use-computers-safely-comfortably-copy

A new article appearing in The Scientist seems to tackle this seeming paradox; can a gene both be a protection against cognitive decline while also being the leading indicator that one will develop Alzheimer’s later in life? The study finds that a protein we all have – Apolipoprotein E (APOE) – can sometimes be created […]]]>

A new article appearing in The Scientist seems to tackle this seeming paradox; can a gene both be a protection against cognitive decline while also being the leading indicator that one will develop Alzheimer’s later in life? The study finds that a protein we all have – Apolipoprotein E (APOE) – can sometimes be created in a variant form: APOE ε4.

“The findings suggest that “something about the possession of an [APOE ε4] allele . . . is providing some positive impacts on your cognitive function,” Schott tells Science. He also notes in a press release that how APOE ε4 increases the risk of Alzheimer’s remains a mystery. “Understanding why [APOE ε4] might result in better memory may also help us to understand why it also leads to increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease,” he says.

So we don’t yet know why this seeming contradiction exists, but the contradiction is real and not just statistical noise.

Brought to you by smpltec.com, Technology for Seniors News.

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Helping Seniors Use Computers Safely & Comfortably https://smpltec.com/helping-seniors-use-computers-safely-comfortably-2 https://smpltec.com/helping-seniors-use-computers-safely-comfortably-2#respond Fri, 08 Oct 2021 14:00:49 +0000 https://smpltec.com/helping-seniors-use-computers-safely-comfortably-copy

Computer use is a fact of life in today’s world. But for someone who grew up in an analog world, the switch to digital can be disorienting. You can help make your senior loved ones’ time on the computer a much more enjoyable – and less frustrating – experience.  Keep their computers updated. Make sure […]]]>

Computer use is a fact of life in today’s world. But for someone who grew up in an analog world, the switch to digital can be disorienting. You can help make your senior loved ones’ time on the computer a much more enjoyable – and less frustrating – experience. 

  • Keep their computers updated. Make sure their operating system and virus protection programs have been updated recently. Many seniors either delay or altogether disable updates, but these are essential security measures.
  • Password security. Set up a spreadsheet or text file where they can record all passwords and login credentials. Even better: get them a password manager program (like 1Password) to handle their passwords for them
  • Make computer use comfortable. Sometimes, the greatest difficulties when using a computer are physical. Mice can be tough to use when your hands are arthritic. Keyboards aren’t always readable by those with visual impairments. Even sitting at a computer for long periods can be painful. But, devices like vertical mice, large type & high-contrast keyboards and ergonomic chairs can make using the computer less of a physical chore. 
  • Make flashcards for common commands or chores. Those of us who grew up with computers take for granted how difficult they can be for anyone else. Sit down one day while doing your basic computer tasks – web browsing, bills, email – and think about how many basic commands you may use in those tasks. Even simple things like right-clicking, copy-pasting, or holding shift to highlight text may be entirely unknown to your senior loved ones. Taking a few minutes to write down and explain some of the basic commands can make their computer time much less frustrating.

When helping your loved one with their computer, remember to be patient. This is often a new and daunting activity for seniors, and many technically proficient people tend to be a bit too brusque when trying to teach others about tech. Teach, don’t lecture.

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Social Media Creates a Pill Bottle for Parkinson’s Patients https://smpltec.com/social-media-creates-a-pill-bottle-for-parkinsons-patients-3 https://smpltec.com/social-media-creates-a-pill-bottle-for-parkinsons-patients-3#respond Wed, 06 Oct 2021 14:00:07 +0000 https://smpltec.com/?p=9708

I absolutely love this story. From The Verge, an example of social media helping the world. Jimmy Choi suffers from young-onset Parkinson’s disease. Even as he posts about his life regularly on social media, he has difficulties with day-to-day activities. “One of his daily struggles comes in the shape of the pills he takes to […]]]>

I absolutely love this story. From The Verge, an example of social media helping the world.

Jimmy Choi suffers from young-onset Parkinson’s disease. Even as he posts about his life regularly on social media, he has difficulties with day-to-day activities.

“One of his daily struggles comes in the shape of the pills he takes to manage his tremors. They’re very tiny, making them difficult to grasp with trembling hands. In late December, he posted a video showing his struggle to grab a pill from a container. That video set off a domino effect, inspiring designers, engineers, and hobbyists across TikTok to craft a better pill bottle for people with tremors or other motor disorders.”

Those “designers, engineers, and hobbyists” quickly came up with a design for a Parkinson’s-friendly pill bottle. That design was iterated, improved upon, and refined by dozens of experts & enthusiasts across the world. The end result is a digital file that allows the special pill bottle to be manufactured by most 3D printers. This crowdsourcing of a solution will help the lives of people with Parkinson’s and other conditions, and make the world just a little bit of a better place.

Brought to you by smpltec.com, Technology for Seniors News.

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Dementia-Proofing The Home https://smpltec.com/dementia-proofing-the-home-2 https://smpltec.com/dementia-proofing-the-home-2#respond Tue, 05 Oct 2021 16:25:44 +0000 https://smpltec.com/dementia-proofing-the-home-copy

Eventually, most of our elder loved ones will get to a point at which they can no longer live independently. In many cases, we caregivers will offer to take that loved one into our home. The transition can be difficult emotionally, even before you consider what it’s like to live with someone who is in […]]]>

Eventually, most of our elder loved ones will get to a point at which they can no longer live independently. In many cases, we caregivers will offer to take that loved one into our home. The transition can be difficult emotionally, even before you consider what it’s like to live with someone who is in the early stages of cognitive decline. But, there are some steps you can take to help keep your elder loved one safe without turning your home into a prison. 

  • Door Alarms. Wandering is the #1 fear of many caregivers. The thought of a loved one walking off and ending up in a dangerous situation keeps many people up at night. But something as simple as a door alarm on an exterior door – paired with a properly installed chain or slide lock – can do wonders for preventing wandering incidents. Whatever you select, do not put a lock on an exit door which the care recipient cannot open. That is a massive hazard and may even violate fire codes in many areas. 
  • Interior door locks. The dangers inside the home are often as bad as that outside. Garages, basements, and workshops can all contain a variety of hazards for someone in the early stages of cognitive impairment. Putting a lock on those sorts of rooms – either a standard key lock, a digital passcode lock, or a “confounding” lock – can help keep your loved one out of danger. Additionally, as some seniors age, they begin to lose some respect for social norms. Which is to say, they get nosy and intrusive, including not respecting others’ personal time and belongings. A robust lock on the bedroom, while you are out, can help stave off some of the worst intrusions. 
  • Stove Guardian. Carelessness and lack-of-focus can seem harmless, but it can also manifest in dangerous ways. These include leaving the burner on the stove or cooktop after they leave the room. There are a variety of devices available now which will either turn the oven off if a movement has not been detected, or if the fire alarm goes off
  • Medication reminder. Failure to take medicine properly – either under- or over-dosing – can lead to tragic consequences. But, these situations can be prevented with some fairly basic items. A sturdy, 2-week capacity pill dispenser, a whiteboard with spaces to check off when a dose is taken, and a reminder clock like our Reminder Rosie can work in conjunction to help keep your loved on schedule with their medications. 
  • Grab bars & rails. Pretty much anytime your elder loved one has to get up from a sitting or reclining position, there is the danger of a fall. They can’t all be avoided, but the vast majority can be prevented with properly sited & installed grab bars or rails. There are obvious places for them – in the shower, next to the toilet, near the bed – but there are less obvious danger points, too. Is there a big step at the front door? That’s a frequent fall hazard. A solid grab bar just inside the door can be used going both ways and may save a lot of pain. The caregiver should spend a day going about their routine and explicitly thinking about where and how they get up from a seated position if there isn’t already something solid to grab onto, considering having a grab bar installed at that site. 

Caring for an elder loved one can seem overwhelming, but a little bit of planning, preparation, and prevention can go a long way towards making everyone in the home safer and happier. 

Brought to you by smpltec.com, Technology for Seniors News.

 

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