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

 

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.


 

 

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.


 

 

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.


 

 

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

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".


 

 

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.


 

 

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.


 

 

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.


 

 

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.


 


 

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Last Updated: April 19, 2020.