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.


 

 

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".


 

 

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.


 

 

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.


 

 

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.


 

 

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.


 


 

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Last Updated: April 19, 2020.