Both my wife, Eva, and I work from home and have a 10 year old girl, Paisley, visiting us this week. My wife and I are purpose driven. Each of us has a dream we wish to achieve that means something to ourselves. For me, that dream is the creation of a society that provides Quality of Life for Everyone specifically targeting seniors, their caregivers, and the stakeholders in the senior’s life. For her, it is the management of a large portfolio of properties both residential and commercial. Each of us, focuses on improving the quality of life for everyone we interact with.
If you think back to when you were ten, you might remember being bored easily. I certainly do. Paisley is no different. She bounces from one thing to another in 5 minute intervals, learning a Christmas song on the piano in 5 minutes, painting a pastoral scene in the next 5, and on and on. Between those 5 minute intervals she asks Eva, “When are you going to play with me?” several times. She is purposeless. There is nothing that captures her heart and mind to the point where she drives herself towards a goal of self fulfillment. I explained to her that she might want to find a goal that she finds appealing and create a few small easily accomplished steps to achieve it. She told me she wants to be a brain surgeon and that she has not graduated from college. Her goal has an obstacle in the way that she alone cannot supersede.
Being old is no walk in the park. Our eyes become less reliable, we cannot always depend on our balance, our legs, or our memory. We can become fearful of many things including being a burden to those around us. This last issue might be the worst of all those things that afflict us when we age. Paisley, has not matured enough to the point where she understands the equation of value. We are there for her. Seniors are mature adults, they understand the equation of life and, for most, have learned to make sure they give more than or equal to what they take. They get the concept of conservation of mass, energy, and value. To many, it is abhorrent that others must spend their time and energy supporting their senior life. What do they have to give back? Seniors, unlike Paizely, often have a desire to accomplish goals that have real value to them. Like Paisley, the obstacles between them and their goal often seem unassailable. But why?
Seniors make up more than 14% of our society. In that 14% are ex CEOs, surgeons, artists, musicians, social activists, philosophers, and writers. They represent a complete composite of society, a demographic of accomplished veterans of life. Yet, they languish in senior communities, perceived as a burden and not as an asset.
How seniors are perceived and to what lengths we are willing to invest in their achievements determines, in a large part, their self value.
We have, in fact, created a society whose most valuable resource, wisdom, is housed in communities whose business is threatened by a litigious onerous society forcing them to focus on profits sometimes at the expense of possibilities, or alone at home awaiting a bus to take them to a senior event where they are entertained.
This is a call to action. It is time to consider our values, to change the accepted practices used to manage age, and our supposed healthcare system. It is time to think of seniors as an invaluable resource that is revered and respected and mined for knowledge. We have come to a point in time where what they have to offer can no longer afford to be discarded. Let us use our vast knowledge of science, AI, and robotics to enable our value up to the moment we die. Let’s put the person back into personal care and value.
These days, technology is everywhere; even babies are using iPads now! Yet many seniors resist using modern technology in their daily lives. Whether it is because of a fear of the unknown or a lack of education, it is possible for your technophobic parent to start taking advantage of the innovations of the internet and technology in general. There are so many ways that seniors can benefit from technology that opening their minds to the possibilities is worth the effort. Some of the areas in which seniors can benefit from technology are:
One of the most important ways technology has improved all of our lives is by giving us the ability to talk to and even see our loved ones, even when they are across the globe. For seniors, staying socially connected in essential for their quality of life and health. Yet many seniors find themselves increasingly isolated as they get older. In-person human connection will obviously never be replaced, but using technology to better connect seniors to others is a wonderful way of keeping them connected to the outside world. Seniors can video-chat their friends and family via services like Skype or FaceTime, stay in the loop via social media platforms like Facebook, and instantly connect with their loved ones via email. The Internet and the devices with which seniors can use it may intimidate them at first, but once they realize how much better connected they can be, they will love it.
It is understandable by the majority of seniors wish to stay at their home as they age. While this is not realistic for all seniors, technology enables certain seniors to stay at home while still remaining safe. Seniors living alone would benefit from Zanthion, which is a medical alert system that uses wearable technology and the Internet of Things (IOT) to detect falls, track behavior like walking, anticipate the future with the use of big data, and allow seniors to instantly get help in the event of an emergency. This allows both seniors and their loved ones to feel at ease with them staying at home for longer.
An additional safety concern for seniors that can be aided by technology is for those who have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Even seniors with Alzheimer’s who live in assisted living facilities or with family have unique safety concerns, namely wandering. In a previous blog, we went over why wandering is such a problem for Alzheimer’s patients, and what tools you can use to help prevent this dangerous behavior. One we went over is GPS technology, which is allowing caregivers the ability to geofence seniors, alerting them when they get outside of a certain boundary. Clearly, taking advantage of this innovative technology offers unique safety benefits that we have not been able to access before.
There is an abundance of ways that seniors can use technology to improve, monitor, and maintain their health. First, staying active is an essential part of everyone’s health but it is especially important for seniors. A great way to provide seniors an outlet for exercise is through technology. For example, some assisted living communities have already starting using Nintendo Wii’s sports games, which use motion control and virtual reality to give users a workout. This way, seniors can participate in moderate physical activity without leaving their living room. Additionally, using a streaming device such as Apple TV or Roku can allow seniors to access YouTube on their TVs, where they can play thousands of free exercise videos. As far as mental exercise goes, technology also has much to offer seniors. Playing trivia, memory, or word games on their smartphone or tablet is a great way for seniors to keep sharp.
Another significant health concern that can be addressed through the use of technology is medication management. As seniors get older, they often have more medication to take while remembering to take it gets harder. There is only so much that pill boxes can do to serve as a reminder to seniors to take their medication. This is where technology comes in! There are many medication management apps for seniors on the market that serve to remind seniors to take their meds, as well as when they need to refill their prescriptions. These types of apps reduce missed medication incidents to ensure seniors stay healthy.
How to Talk to Your Senior Parent About Technology
So now you know the abundance of reasons why seniors should get on board with technology, how exactly do you approach these conversations? For some seniors, they are afraid of embracing technology because they worry that they won’t be able to use it. We often take for granted that certain aspects of technology may seem intuitive to us, but is actually difficult for anyone who lacks any technological experience to learn. For example, double-clicking, tapping on icons, and swiping may all be difficult for seniors to master, particularly if they have arthritis. Some seniors may get frustrated or lose interest if you simply show them how to use the technology. To get them to engage with it, try keeping their interest with these tips.
Make it Relevant to Them
For your senior parent to adopt technology, it is important for them to care about it. While they may not see the point of switching from paper to electronic news, they may be motivated to get on Facebook if it helps them stay connected to their grandchildren. Think about what your parent cares about, and that will be their source of motivation for using technology.
Preteens may be all about getting the latest technology, but chances are, your parent has very little interest in the status associated with having the latest iPhone. Seniors are more interested in tangible, practical benefits. Emphasize the way that technology can be used to improve their day-to-day lives, such as through medication management or step counters. When you make sure they understand the practical benefits of technology, they will be more open to using it.
Keep it Visually Appealing and Simple
Many products for seniors are boring and clunky, making them unappealing to anyone. Look for devices for your senior parent that are both aesthetically pleasing and easy to use to engage their interest. AARP has recently introduced a tablet called the RealPad, a device specifically designed with seniors in mind. With better readability, a simpler interface, and video tutorials, the RealPad can be a great way to introduce your senior parent to technology.
Your senior parent may initially be hesitant to dive into the technology pool, but with your help, they can soon take advantage of all that it has to offer. For more information on this issue, please check out some resources below.
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that is prevalent among seniors; it is estimated that 5.3 million people over the age of 65 have this condition. When a person has Alzheimer’s, their memory and other cognitive functions progressively decline, starting with signs as subtle as forgetting small details to completely forgetting names or faces of loved ones. Understandably, Alzheimer’s disease is difficult for both the person who suffers from it and their families. This condition is made even more difficult by the fact that your loved one may not fully understand how their dementia is impacting them, and may put themselves at risk. One behavior that up to 60 percent of people with dementia demonstrate is wandering.
What Wandering Means
Wandering is a common, but dangerous, behavior of people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. This can happen at any stage of Alzheimer’s, when the patient becomes confused about their whereabouts. As a caregiver, it is important that you look out for indications of wandering, as this behavior can be quite dangerous. Read on for signs to look out for that indicate that your loved one may be wandering.
Signs of Wandering
They have forgotten directions to a place they have been before.
They take longer than usual to return from a regular activity, such as a walk.
They have trouble remembering where rooms are at home, such as their bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen.
Even when they are already home, they try to leave to “go home.”
They seem lost and confused in new environments.
They demonstrate restless behavior, such as pacing or repetitive motions.
They say they are doing something, such as a chore, but nothing is actually done.
They try to “go to work” even though they are not employed.
When your senior loved one wanders, it can be quite frightening. Fortunately, there is hope to address this problem. Technology continues to show promise in ensuring the safety of seniors with Alzheimer’s. One promising technology that is currently being used to track seniors with dementia is geofencing.
The Power of Geofencing
Geofencing is an innovative software that utilizes smartphones to keep track of Alzheimer’s patients. Using GPS technology, geofencing can alert caregivers if their senior loved one with dementia leaves the boundaries put in place. These GPS trackers for dementia patients come in the form of bracelets or other types of sensors. These devices prevent wandering behavior by sending a message to the smartphone of the designated caretaker anytime the Alzheimer’s patient leaves the geofence perimeter. Without this technology, locating a wandering Alzheimer’s patient could take hours, thousands of dollars, and dozens of police officers. Now, with a GPS tracker, locating a wandering individual can be accomplished in minutes, cost virtually nothing, and require only one or two people to help. This revolutionary technology is set to change the negative impact wandering behavior has on seniors with dementia.
However, just because you have the use of this technology, doesn’t mean that you should not take additional precautions to prevent wandering. Sometimes, wandering actually increases with the use of these GPS trackers for Alzheimer’s patients because families will become more lax about the issue. Therefore, to put your loved one in the best position to stop wandering, here are some tips for preventing it.
Implement a Daily Routine. When you do certain activities at the same time every day, including waking up, meal times, and going to sleep, it helps provide structure that is helpful to Alzheimer’s patients. When they have a basic idea of how their day is going to go, they feel less disorientation and confusion, which can lead to wandering.
Reassure Them. When your loved one is disoriented or confused, resist frustration and correcting them. Focus on making them feel safe and validated in their feelings. Reassure them that they are safe to prevent their confusion escalating to wandering.
Mind Basic Needs. Seniors with Alzheimer’s may wander simply because they are hungry, thirsty, or need a toilet and don’t know where they are. You can prevent them for wandering in search of these things by making sure their basic needs are met.
Identify Prime Wandering Times. There are certain times when wandering will be more likely for the individual with dementia. For example, your loved one may tend to wander at night when they get up to use the restroom. Take steps to prevent these scenarios; for example, by limiting liquid intake before bed, and having them use the facilities right beforehand.
Avoid Busy Spots. Places such as grocery stores or shopping complexes can be disorienting to people with Alzheimer’s because they are so busy. This confusion can cause them to wander. Avoid taking them to very busy places, or go only at odd hours when they are less likely to be packed.
Install Night Lights. Installing night lights in your home can light the path of your loved one, making it less likely that they will get confused in the night and wander.
Use Childproofing. Childproofing can prevent your loved one from wandering outside of the home. Use childproof door knobs, and install locks above or below their line of vision to stop them from exiting.
Place Bells Above Doors. Just like you have seen in restaurants or stores, a bell above the door of your home can be set up to ring in the event of your loved one exiting the premises. This can help you be aware of any wandering outside the home.
Install Fencing. In the event that your loved one does leave the home, installing fencing or hedges can help prevent your loved one from wandering further.
Label Rooms. If your loved one with dementia tends to become disoriented in the home, try labelling each room to remind them of its intended purpose.
Don’t Leave Them In the Car. Even if you are just running into the store on a quick errand, in the time you are gone, your loved one may become disoriented and wander off (or take the car entirely). Avoid this problem by never leaving them in the car alone.
Secure their Items. There are certain items that your senior loved one would not choose to leave home without, such as their wallet, keys, purse, or coat. Secure these items in a place they cannot reach to prevent them from wandering out of the home.
Prevent Overstimulation. Seniors with dementia can often become overstimulated by too much noise or movement, which can lead to confusion. Avoid confusing them by limiting the amount of noise in your home.
Know Your Neighbors (and Neighborhood). Talk to your neighbors about your loved one with dementia. Let them know that wandering may be an issue, and if they do see your loved one alone, to call you right away. Additionally, be aware of hazards in your neighborhood, such as streets with heavy traffic, bodies of water, and wooded areas.
Keep Recent Photos. Keeping up-to-date photos of the senior in your care is a good idea in the event that they do wander off. This way, you can give police the most accurate photo of them possible.
Know Where They Would Go. Figuring out where your loved one would be motivated to go is a good way to stay ahead of their wandering. Keep a list of places they might be drawn to, such a former places of employment, church, somewhere they used to live, or their favorite restaurant.
At Zanthion, we understand that caring for your senior loved one comes with unique challenges. You can ease the stress of caretaking with the use of our senior monitoring system. With Zanthion, you can rest assured that you will know what is going on with your senior loved one at any given moment. This peace of mind is invaluable when your senior parent or other relative has Alzheimer’s. Shop our free senior monitoring system here today.
Any good baseball player knows you have to keep your eye on the ball. It is not easy to separate the chaff from the wheat especially when there are so many distractions like Mike Flynn’s Russia connections, Sean Spicer’s allegations of wiretapping, passengers being pulled off United Airlines, government transparency, AI taking over all our jobs, and the Tar Heels winning the Final Four. This article isn’t about the distractions of the present or the distractions of some far flung future like a Global Disaster created by global warming. Today we are discussing you, your parents, your collective health, the death spiral, and what we can do to avoid grandfather dumping here in the United States like what is happening in Japan.
Let’s make sure we are discussing the right topic when it comes to health and clear up a common misconception here in America:
Neither Obamacare nor Trumpcare have anything to do with healthcare. They are both guaranteed payment systems to health professionals based on distributed liability. This does not guarantee quality or expedient healthcare.
In order to adequately numerate 10 things we must do to ensure a happy and healthy future for you and your parents we discuss demographics, economics, and preventative health.
Our economists and politicians are notorious for calculating future expenses based on straight line, linear, representations of demographics, costs, revenue, and labor supply. Unfortunately we live in a chaotic world with exponential growth and decay functions vastly outnumbering linear growth and decay models. The following intractable statistics will drive our economic future regardless of foreign policy, democratization of the world, Russia’s rigging of our elections, or the outcome of the Final Four this year. In fact, global warming and AI are far distant seconds in terms of global impact on productivity than the effect of the demographic shift towards a global population of 1st world countries dominated by seniors.
Japan’s current problem, a population with 26% of their population being over 65 years of age is representative of a problem facing all first world countries. There is a hidden problem in the demographic shift towards an aging population. You can see it in the Reuters chart, while the population of seniors is getting larger, the population of the employable is shrinking. In fact, if you add the under 14 to the over 65 you will find that the numbers are very close to 1 person employed taking care of 1 person not working. It should be obvious to all of us that from an availability of labor standpoint, this is not a sustainable model, and yet, it is the model we are stuck with. The current outcry that AI will eliminate jobs is probably the brightest light we have shining on the future of our labor force and our potential to deal with the rising tide of seniors. AI will free up labor to do those things absolutely required to manage a society of the young and the old.
We all know that one thing leads to another and an aging population is no exception. 75% of all emergency services in the United States serve the current 12% of our senior population. Emergency services picks them up when they have fallen, shows up when they call 1000 times in a single year, and whisk them off to the hospital in emergencies. It is easy to calculate the additional burden on our emergency services if they remain unchanged. The population of seniors will double by 2030 in the United States. Since 75% of all emergency service costs are absorbed by seniors today it means that the budget to service seniors at today’s abysmal standard of an average of 30 minutes to intervention will double the budgetary requirements for emergency care as a portion of city and county governments. More importantly the labor requirement for these positions will more than double with fewer adults in the labor pool.
The perception that everyone reading this article should be getting by now is that every single facet of society will be affected by the coming change in population distribution. The chart above should scare the hell out of you. Our medical costs are determined by a limited entry profession, healthcare, and a government dancing like a marionette to the fears projected by banks and insurance companies. The demand for medical services in the next ten years will more than double. But what about supply. Are there plans to triple graduates from medical institutions? Are the costs of medicine and tests decreasing? On the contrary, the number of medical colleges and medical graduates is increasing linearly while the population of seniors is experiencing exponential growth. We are not even considering that science is making incredible advances and seniors will live longer than current projections.
It is easily recognizable with the current linear increase in the supply of doctors and the exponential increase in the demand of seniors that prices will escalate beyond our wildest dreams based on standard models of supply and demand.
8 Must Do’s To Keep You and Your Parents Happy
Up until now we have painted a pretty dismal picture of the future based on a massive demographic shift towards a senior population. Let’s face it, what we do best is adapt, and adapt we will. The cost of aging is dominantly in the spiral of death. The following chart shows the extraordinary expenses associated to the last years of life in the United States. In the United States we spend 33% of the all expenditures over our lifetime in the last 2 years of existence. Clearly, if we create the cliff of death, a rapid decline from health to death, we live better lives, save our families extraordinary expenses, and decrease the demand on a system whose capacity has been stretched beyond its ability to supply adequate services.
1 Stay healthy
Surprise! Staying incredibly healthy creates the cliff of death so that all those expenses you see from 60 to 90 are mostly avoided except for genetic diseases and the hip and knee replacements. For those wondering, “What is the cliff of death?” It is a sudden and precipitous fall from health to death, something we all hope for. The rest of the must do’s are about how to accomplish this seemingly trivial objective.
2 Eat Well
Since the 1950’s America has been under attack by big business. C&H Sugar, Monsanto and any number of chemical companies have been stocking our shelves with products that have little if not negative nutritional value. Poor science, inacurate analysis, and market driven fear campaigns have further blurred the lines of nutrition. Our food supply, our birthing habits, our nurturing habits, and our infestation habits have all tainted our health over the long term. The biggest impact on our future in terms of health is obesity, largely a result of the efforts of big business to create an enticing and addictive food supply with the use of sugar, salt, and corn syrup. With aging the effects of these additives is exacerbated due to the decrease in production of key proteins responsible for metabolic balance. Key proteins turn out to be the on/off switches for health and our modern lives have destroyed biomes inside and outside of our body. Biomes are ecosystems of organisms living in symbiosis with us. They live in our armpits, our belly buttons, our eyebrows, and our guts. In fact, they cover every square inch of our body. From an evolutionary perspective, they and we have adapted together over millions of years. Destroying necessary organisms by showering to often, taking ibuprofen in excess, or eating substances that destroy those organisms shuts down necessary feedback loops for a healthy existence. Eat organic, eat less, eat often, shower less, get dirty occasionally.
3 Sleep Well
It should come as no surprise that sleep is a key component of a healthy existence. Intuitively we know machines need rest cycles or they overheat and break. All our athletes are told to get a good night sleep before big events. Just how important sleep is, that is new science.
The study, published in Nature Neuroscience, found that beta-amyloid — a protein that has long been suspected of being a catalyst in Alzheimer’s — aggregates in higher concentrations in the brains of people who suffer from consistently poor sleep. As deposits of beta-amyloid grow, the protein further hampers one’s ability to sleep, which feeds into a miserable cycle that may lead to dementia. Lack of Sleep May Lead to Dementia: New Research Finds It Makes Brain Vulnerable. Cal Alumni Association. Retrieved 1 April 2017
As we age there are many forces that can affect our sleep like melatonin production, pain, restless leg syndrome, and many other factors. Because sleep is a critical factor in our health as we age there are 7 easy steps suggested by the Mayo Clinic to ensuring a good night’s sleep.
Stick to a sleep schedule — Don’t take naps. Make sure you get a full night of continuous sleep not two 4 hour sleep periods. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, holidays and days off. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night. There’s a caveat, though. If you don’t fall asleep within about 15 minutes, get up and do something relaxing. Go back to bed when you’re tired. If you agonize over falling asleep, you might find it even tougher to nod off.
Pay attention to what you eat and drink — Don’t go to bed either hungry or stuffed. Your discomfort might keep you up. Also limit how much you drink before bed, to prevent disruptive middle-of-the-night trips to the toilet.Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy at first, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.
Create a bedtime ritual — Do the same things each night to tell your body it’s time to wind down. This might include taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music — preferably with the lights dimmed. Relaxing activities can promote better sleep by easing the transition between wakefulness and drowsiness. Be wary of using the TV or other electronic devices as part of your bedtime ritual. Some research suggests that screen time or other media use before bedtime interferes with sleep.
Get comfortable — Create a room that’s ideal for sleeping. Often, this means cool, dark and quiet. Consider using room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs. Your mattress and pillow can contribute to better sleep, too. Since the features of good bedding are subjective, choose what feels most comfortable to you. If you share your bed, make sure there’s enough room for two. If you have children or pets, try to set limits on how often they sleep with you — or insist on separate sleeping quarters.
Limit daytime naps — Long daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep — especially if you’re struggling with insomnia or poor sleep quality at night. If you choose to nap during the day, limit yourself to about 10 to 30 minutes and make it during the midafternoon. If you work nights, you’ll need to make an exception to the rules about daytime sleeping. In this case, keep your window coverings closed so that sunlight — which adjusts your internal clock — doesn’t interrupt your daytime sleep.
Include physical activity in your daily routine — Regular physical activity can promote better sleep, helping you to fall asleep faster and to enjoy deeper sleep. Timing is important. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you might be too energized to fall asleep. If this seems to be an issue for you, exercise earlier in the day.
Manage stress — When you have too much to do — and too much to think about — your sleep is likely to suffer. To help restore peace, consider healthy ways to manage stress. Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Give yourself permission to take a break when you need one. Share a good laugh with an old friend. Before bed, jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow.
Sleeping too much — Surprisingly, one of the most interesting outcomes of recent research is that too much sleep can have very negative effects on our health. Some of the health risks associated to too much sleep are:
Cognitive impairment, Depression, Increased inflammation, Increased pain, Impaired fertility, Higher risk of obesity, Higher risk of diabetes, Higher risk of heart disease, Higher risk of stroke, Higher all-cause mortality
Of course, we may not know that our parents are not sleeping well, and they may not either. Knowing that sleeping habits are broken goes a long way towards resolving a potential future of dementia, obesity, pain, and anxiety. With systems like the Zanthion Senior Care Platform it is easy to unobtrusively monitor the sleep habits of yourself or your parents and passively introduce the better habits and conditions.
4 Exercise Often and Manage Injury
Similar to what and how often you eat, exercise is part of the biological mandates for good health. Some of the effects of a regular controlled exercise program that includes rest cycles, endurance cycles and power cycles are:
I have exercised nearly everyday for over 40 years and want to state upfront the single most important criteria for an exercise program:
Avoid Injury At All Costs
A suboptimal workout where you cannot possibly get injured is better than an optimal workout where you get injured every once in awhile. Why? Because down time changes behavior and behavior is the key to good health. Never, ever, push yourself beyond the comfort level that indicates a potential injury. Stretch as much as you exercise. Be consistent. Enjoy your workouts. Use a designed training program if you can.
Clearly, something is better than nothing. Knowing that your parents are slowing down and a little more fearful about leaving the home is a great help. Having neighbors who need a partner to walk with is even more helpful. Applications like Zanthion Aging In Place notify children if their parent’s activity behavior has changed and notifies neighbors that might want to enjoy a walk with them.
5 Meditate and Exercise the Mind
Exercising goes a long way towards keeping a sharp mind and mental health, but it is not enough. Science has painted a much more holistic image of mental health over the last couple of years. It has become increasingly obvious that what we eat, what lives on our skin, how much blood we feed our brain, how much rest we get, and how much we exercise our brain with muscle confusion helps determine our mental health into old age. The first step to mental health is meditation. It takes very little time and has tremendous benefits. Some of those benefits are:
Meditation reduces stress.
It improves concentration.
It encourages a healthy lifestyle.
The practice increases self-awareness.
It increases happiness.
Meditation increases acceptance.
It slows aging.
The practice benefits cardiovascular and immune health.
So here is a meditation practice anyone can do by themselves or with their neighbors in the morning and evening for 5 to 10 minutes.
Sit or lie comfortably. You may even want to invest in a meditation chair.
Close your eyes.
Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.
Seniors have some unique challenges in order to stay mentally alert. Seniors are often isolated from society by physical problems that limit their mobility and their ability to read and hear. The loss of mobility, sight, and hearing eliminate reading, socializing, and watching shows. Current technology for cornea implants, stem cell replacement of the cornea, new earbuds designed to limit external sounds and focus communication, are incredible helpful. The most important action we can take to help our parents stay younger is to protect their assets through constant research and effective mental stimulation.
Mental health is ensured through continued participation in society as a valuable asset. This, is in fact, what Zanthion considers to be the most important asset, the ability to bring the seniors to services and services to seniors. Here are 10 easy ways to keep your parents involved in life.
6 Measure & Notify & Predict
Continuous measurement and a constructive feedback loop are at the heart of any effective process. Our health is no different. We all find it difficult not to gain those 2 pounds during the holidays. Measurement, allows us to observe that weight gain and do something about it. Continuous measurement makes it possible to adjust critical defects in a system immediately. Something as simple as a window left open during the winter in Chicago might lead to ta severe cold. A refrigerator door left open might lead to sepsis. Rolling out of bed at night might lead to fearing sleeping causing anxiety and eventually dementia. Falling, just once, might lead to less mobility, a loss of confidence, and eventually heart disease. Life is in a precarious balance.
It used to be that manufacturing floor managers walked the floor listening to machines for possible problems in the line. Today, manufacturing floor manager’s cell phones beep when the RPM of a cycle machine goes below a certain threshold or a piece of metal is out of alignment. This same technology now exists for our seniors in companies like Zanthion. We place sensors throughout the environment and monitor changes in behavior such as gait, distance, temperature, heart rate, oxygen levels, and in and out of bed. We monitor passively only sending notifications when there might be a need for intervention.
If you do not have a system like this there are some easy steps you can take:
Check the refrigerator and it’s contents regularly
Put an air quality sensor in senior homes
Monitor the temperature of rooms at night
Monitor sleep habits using fitbits and take appropriate actions
Monitor walking activity and exercise
Notify people that can make a difference like the senior themselves, neighbors, family, and friends when there is a significant change in activity. If you see a combination of signals such as enduring wounds, loss of appetite, and loss of breath engage the senior in more activity, see a medical professional, and encourage community participation.
7 Work in Teams & Be a Part of Something Bigger
It should come as no surprise to any of us that feeling valued is a major contributor to health and sadly the largest missing healthy component of seniors in America. Seniors are vast stores of knowledge and wisdom relegated to bingo games and history museums. The absolute best way to make a senior, and for that matter anyone, feel like they are part of something bigger is to involve them in decision making about real life important matters like your business, your children, or your understanding of how life works. Equally as important as asking questions is listening attentively to the answers and either implementing them, help them implement them, or bring the seniors into the implementation of an alternative answer. Ask, Listen, Value, and Act.
Seniors are isolated by many factors and neighborhood teams of seniors being active goes a long way towards involving them in something bigger. Neighborhood walks, movie night, bridge, and even 3D computer games. There is a rich world of activities available to our seniors given a little training and incentive to be involved.