Most of our research is designed to help older adults and their families make decisions and choices about topics that impact quality of life as we grow older — choices like which products and services can help older adults live independently for longer, and delay the time at which growing older gets in the way of living life to the full.
In addition, some of our work is designed to help innovators develop products and services that older adults like us will actually want and find useful.
Recent Analysis and Exploration
Quickly Getting Help for a Friend in Need
“Hi, this is Lisa. I’m not sure I can take care of myself right now. Can you bring me some food?” I found that scary sounding message on my voicemail one Saturday morning. It started me on a journey to coordinate care for a close friend. I learned several things that I’ll share with you. I hope that if you are ever faced with a similar situation, my experience will help you.
How a Continuing Care Retirement Community Works
How a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) works is a question that often pops up when our explorer discussions turn to where and how to live as one gets older. This article explains how this model of retirement living works, and discusses their financial model.
Low Vision Aids, Adaptations, Resources
Learn about Low Vision Aids & Adaptations in this detailed overview by Dr Marlena Chu. For people with low vision, these tools can make a big difference to the ability to live independently, and to quality of life.
Low Vision App Overview
Here is an overview of useful Apps for people with Low Vision. It includes Low Vision Apps for the iPhone and for Android devices.
Private Patient Advocates
As our healthcare system becomes more complex and hard to navigate, a new profession has emerged: patient advocacy. Patient advocates are people who work to help patients navigate the healthcare system, and can in principle help save money, and help make sure one gets the best possible treatment when ill. In this article, we asked one of this new breed, Patricia Knight, to help our readers understand better: what is a patient advocate, what do they do, and do you need one?
Adventures of Designing a Universal Toenail Clipper
Recent Ithaca College Occupational Therapy Student Rebecca Helbraun discovers the challenge that toenail cutting poses for older adults; does some research; and invents, designs and prototypes a new solution. She shares her journey here.
Amazon Echo and Alexa for the Elderly
The older adults in our explorer groups have recently become interested in a relatively new product: the Amazon Echo and its artificial intelligence Alexa. Here are their thoughts on topics like: do we want one; why would we want one; what do we use it for; and wouldn’t it be great if it could also do …”.
Best Art Apps for Adult Learners
What are the Best Art Apps to start with on iPads, iPhones, and Android devices? I’ve been teaching people, especially those close to my own age, how to use their iPads, iPhones and Android devices creatively since I fell in love with painting and drawing on my iPad 5 years ago. And this is always the most asked question. In this article I will be discussing different art apps you can use to turn your iPad or android tablet into a canvas or sketchbook and start creating up a storm.
Which Customer Interaction, When?
When the conversation turns to interacting with customers before a product is “finished”, most product developers I’ve talked to are enthusiastic. But they have very different opinions about when to interact with customers, how to interact with them, and for what purpose. I believe there is a way of thinking that helps resolve these questions, depending on the details of the company, and the stage of product development they are at. This article is to share it.
Elder Dignity, Autonomy and the Need for Protection from Abuse
Dignity of the elder must not be disregarded in the name of protection: whether we are dealing with the difficult issues of how to convince dad to give up the car keys, mom’s need for placement in a facility, or fear of money being improperly acquired by a scammer. The question posed is how to maximize the preservation of dignity in the face of true need for protection of the elder? This article addresses the issue as it relates to financial abuse of elders, but the principles are equally applicable in other situations.
Medication Management Systems: Which?
“Good” medication management is widely believed to be desirable, by older adults as well as by clinicians. This article is about what factors make medication management systems useful for a given person, and outlines a series of circumstances for which specific features of these products can be helpful. Think of this as a “how to get started” guide to the topic of medication management systems.
Products for Seniors: Could Do Better
After several years of product evaluations and unmet need explorations with groups of older adults, this is my most striking take-away. “While there is no shortage of problems for which older adults would like solutions, the vast majority of products we have looked at are either hard for elderly people to use, or do poorly the “job” our older adult demographic wants to get done”. This article is about why (in my opinion) this is the case, and about errors to avoid.
Games for Seniors: Pokémon Go
Pokémon Go is a new App (Game) has taken the world by storm. This article suggests it could be a great Game for Seniors, helping to encourage healthy exercise. The article (plus video) explains what Pokemon Go is, and how one plays it.
Older Adult Perspectives on Managing Medications
Learn what older adults themselves think about the challenges of medication management. Listen to discussions about the things our explorers care about; how they approach managing their medications; which products they prefer (the best pill organizers, and most successful pill reminder techniques); and what problems they face.
Sensors, Dementia, Safety: Real World Experiences
Using a handful of simple, non-intrusive sensors, retired engineer Bob Glicksman has been able to learn all sorts of important things about the daily routine of an elderly person, who has cognitive impairment, and for whom he cares. He has been able to make multiple successful interventions to stave off what might have otherwise been serious adverse events. In fact, this simple sensor setup has worked better than he expected, and he shares his experiences, as an example of a real world use case in which a small addition of technology can accomplish a lot.
Cohousing: The Power of Community
Cohousing: The power of community. Thoughts from a cohousing pioneer.
Best Pill Reminder App: Explorer Choice
We set out to pick the best pill reminder app to share with the explorers in our Useful Apps Club. This article describes which features we selected as important and why; summarizes the results of our tests; and shares with you some details about the two Medication Apps we want to recommend, each of which is good for a slightly different life situation.
Pill Reminder Apps we Ruled Out
List of pill reminder apps we evaluated and ruled out as either being too simplistic, or lacking in an important functionality.
Medical Alert Reviews
Individual medical alert reviews, including our independent, objective hands on comparison evaluations.
How to Use the Medisafe App
This Useful Apps Club lesson shows you how to setup and use the Medisafe App to take your medication on time, and more.