Homebrew Solutions, Workarounds, & Ideas

Homebrew Solutions

Reports from older adults, and their friends and families, about ways they have solved challenges that were getting in the way of living life the way they wanted. 

These pieces of content contain real life experiences from makers, inventors, hackers of aging, and regular people dealing with growing older.

 

 

 

Featured Content: Homebrew Solutions, Workarounds, & Ideas

 

DIY Technology Solutions to Things Bothering My Aging Relatives

My relatives and their friends are in their 70's and 80's and 90's now, and I am finding they have some recurring "problems" that get in the way of life being as enjoyable as I think it should be. I have come up with a variety of DIY "Tech Solutions" to these problems that I have implemented for them. I hope they will be useful for you too.


 

 

An Internet Enabled Life

Having used technology all my working life, and now being retired, I notice that many of my peers are missing out on some of the benefits that come with appropriate use of the latest technology.

In this first of a series of articles, I start by just describing my Internet-enabled life. In other parts of the series, we offer essays describing a myriad of ways the Internet can enrich your day. I want to get you “hooked” to the Internet.


 

 

Smarthome safe examples

Kitchen and Night Safety for Father-in-law: Smarthome Experiments

I wanted to deploy some smarthome solutions to help my father-in-law who has some physical and cognitive decline. I started with a kitchen safety solution (stove timer), and a night safety solution (lighting). This article explains what I did and why, and how you can do it too.


 

 

Smart Living Room

Smart Living Room Features for Older Adults

This article covers several smart living room features that author Frank Engelman has found useful for family members or friends — and that focus on challenges of particular relevance to people as they age.

This is part of our Smart Home Features for Older Adults series, in which we share specific recipes and kit lists for individual smart home features — organized on a room by room basis.


 

 

Repurposing Everyday Objects

Active Aging: Rethinking the Use of Everyday Objects

As our bodies change with age, we are often advised by well-meaning health providers, family and friends to relinquish the activities we value and that give our lives meaning. We prefer the process of rethinking and repurposing everyday, affordable objects — so we can keep doing the "things we love".

We discuss and provide examples of how to rethink outdoor activities such as gardening, animal care, and even simple farming. The principles can be adapted to many other hobbies and interests you may.......


 

 

Dealing with a Wandering Loved One with Alzheimer’s

Before my wife passed away from Alzheimer’s, she went through a period of wandering outside the home that I could control with a few simple devices. I want to share what I did, and the solutions I used, in the hope they will be useful for others in the same situation I was in.


 

 

Fire TV Cube with TV

How to Set Up an Amazon Fire TV Cube

Recently, a product called the Amazon Fire TV Cube has become available and I am finding it often helps me solve challenges I am working on on behalf my older friends. I have developed this "How to" guide to help other people like me set up a Fire TV Cube for their friends, relatives, or aging parents. I include instructions for how to enable various features I have needed for the solutions I have created for my friends and relatives.


 

 

Making TV Useful For My 94-yr-old Aunt

This is about how I took advantage of the ubiquity of TV in the lives of many older adults.  By adding various smart integrations, I turned the TV from simply a source of background noise into a useful tool — that helps my 94-yr-old aunt accomplish all sorts of things she previously had trouble with.


 

 

Technology for Sheltering in Place

While staying at home for weeks or months on end is hard for everyone, older adults have some unique challenges. And as the enforced lockdown winds down eventually, those over 70 are likely to be the last to see a return to "normal" life. We created this page so members of the Tech-enhanced Life community have a place to share their learnings about how they are handling the challenges of "sheltering in place", and to compare notes about technologies they are finding useful.


 

 

From MD to Alexa Skills Developer: My Journey

Retired physician, Dr Bob Kolock, shares his new "hobby": Alexa Skills Developer. He describes how he came to be interested in Alexa, and describes some of the 13 skills he has developed. Many of these skills are useful for older adults, and Dr. Kolock's perspective from "both sides of the stethoscope" makes them especially intriguing.


 

 

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.


 

 

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.


 

 

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.


 

 

Alzheimer's Thermostat Design: Jeeves vs. Nurse Ratched

Thoughts about thermostats and people with dementia. Remember Jeeves, and Nurse Ratched? Imagine they were in charge of designing products for older adults. I wish we had the sort of products I imagine Jeeves would have designed for Bertie Wooster. Unfortunately, we seem to get the products Nurse Ratched might have dreamed up for the unfortunate inmates of "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest".


 

 

Joe Maxwell's Universal Design Kitchen

This article describes a piece of universal design (a kitchen) from 83 yr old designer Joe Maxwell. When you read about Joe's kitchen design below from the 1950's you can't help wondering why we don't see more Universal Design in mainstream products.


 

 

My Plan to Avoid the Terror of Short Term Memory Loss

My mother has severe short term memory loss. As her caregiver, I have found that her short term memory impairment has many adverse consequences. My experience with my mother has made me concerned about how I could avoid the horrors that come with short term memory loss when it inevitably hits me in the future.

While I cannot prevent short term memory loss, I do believe that I can mitigate the confusion and anxiety that comes with not being able to mentally track my daily activities. My solution is a simple technological memory prosthesis – a “wearable” calendar. This article describes my idea and how I am implementing it.


 

More: Homebrew Solutions, Workarounds, & Ideas


 

Thing(s): 
Key words: 

Last Updated: November 22, 2022.