Author:InTouch

07 Nov Mind Over Matter?

Is poor memory performance and errors truly all in the mind?


A current  study on the influence of negative age-related stereotypes held by older adults was published in Psychological Science wherein individuals were tested to see whether their ability to execute an exercise were directly related to previously held beliefs, or genuine inability.


During the study, two groups of adults (consisting of both younger and older individuals) were presented with the same test. One group was given the impression it was an outright memory test, while the other understood it to be more of a language exercise. Results showed the group that believed were completing a memory test had more consistent prevalence of memory errors and lower performance of the older adults in that group than in the other group.


At InTouchLink, we understand the importance of fostering a sense of independence and mental acuity in the seniors' community. In this day and age, it is even more imperative to provide opportunities to elders to stay in touch with their loved ones and the world around them by developing (and making available) simple, easy-to-use computers for seniors. The InTouchLink software and communications system (for seniors’ communities) allows for simple email and computer basics.


Further information about the new study Cognitive Aging and Memory Lab at Tufts University can be read online at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/237202.php.

03 Nov Mind and Body: Senior Activity and Depression

During one of the more substantial studies performed on European elders by University of Gothenburg researchers in Sweden, two key factors became apparent. Firstly, those who led more active lives were less prone to suffering depression. Secondly, seniors were more likely to take the initiative in improving their health when feeling empowered and offered a sense of self-motivation.


The InTouchLink system offers such self-motivation and competence through an innovative, simple-to-use hotel-style communication ideal for seniors communities. It also provides the same fun, safe online experience for individuals from the comfort of their own homes. Whether just to check their email, webcam with loved ones or browsing the website, InTouchLink provides simple email and computers for the elderly.


To read further about the University of Gothenburg’s study and the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement (SHARE), click to: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/236997.php.

28 Oct Let’s Get Physical – Technology Helps Keep Seniors Fit

Elders in Seekonk, RI are taking advantage of cutting-edge technology in order to stay active and keep fit.

One such senior resident, Nancy Smutek, uses her community’s Nintendo Wii on a daily basis to improve her balance and fitness level. What started as an occasional recreational past-time playing the software’s bowling game became a regular physical therapy regimen when a family member recently introduced her to the Wii’s fitness programming capability.

Combining motion detection with a traditional video game control system has made Nintendo Wii a popular and effective tool in engaging older adults, both mentally and physically. Programs like the Wii are ideal computers for seniors as they are fun, easy-to-use and elderly-friendly.

To read further about Ms. Smutek and how this technology affected her community, please visit: http://www.eastbayri.com/news/2011/oct/27/seniors-find-fitness-wii/.

12 Aug Internet costs prove to be a barrier for seniors

According to new research out of Australia, the cost of internet can potentially create significant difficulties for seniors now and in later years. In her recent study “Older Australians and the Internet”, Dr. Sandra Haukka of Queensland University of Technology highlights the fact that more and more services – whether they are health, social or business related – are shifting to online formats. Many seniors are unable or unwilling to pay for internet access. Compounded with the fact that a large part of the senior population is unable to use the computer (or lacks interest in learning now), the future could hold some serious issues in terms of seniors accessing essential services.

Dr. Haukka’s study found that:

  • 53 per cent of participants had a moderate or above interest in the internet, while 46% put their interest as low or nil.
  • Two-thirds of respondents rated their internet skills as very low, and more than 40 per cent said cost was a barrier to using the internet.
  • One third said the internet would improve their daily life”.

This study also found that there is a continued interest among seniors to learn basic computer and internet skills. As Dr. Haukka says, "The internet should help people to live independently for longer, enabling them to learn, bank, shop, communicate and network from home”.

Studies, surveys and research continually point to the fact that though small, a growing number of seniors across the board want to learn how to use computers and the internet. Designed specifically for first-time, senior users, InTouchLink teaches these skills and more through a friendly, easy-to-follow system. With step-by-step guidance, customizable page sizes and many other features, this system is ideal for any new user. Accessible and affordable, InTouchLink is a great way to ensure that seniors can not only connect to loved ones, but as Dr. Haukka points to, access all of the information and services that are to be found online.

To read more about Dr. Haukka's study, click here

09 Aug Senior swimmer leads the way in personal challenges

"Life teaches us that youthful success is easy. Success is incredibly accessible if you define it conveniently, as those second-rate compromises we settle for every day or as choosing safety over challenging yourself. Diana looked us in the eye and said with love but without equivocation, No, you can do better. You know you can. Get up, wake up, you can do whatever you set your mind to, or at least you can try. Diana wouldn’t let us get away with using age as a rationalization for being tentative about challenging ourselves. This swim was about setting the bar low for an entire generation. It was about the importance of reaching beyond our grasp, whatever the day, whatever the outcome, about the courage to risk engaging in life with our best selves." (Source: Diana Nyad Extreme Dream, "Lessons from the Swim").

 

Talk about setting the bar high.

Since yesterday, 61 year-old marathon swimmer Diana Nyad has been making headlines over her attempt to swim across the shark-infested waters between Cuba and the Florida Keys. Ms. Nyad first attempted to traverse these waters in 1978, but was forced to end the swim after 41 hours. Hailed by CNN as “a hero”, winds from 5-10 knots an hour again forced Nyad to end this latest swim after an astounding 29 hours in the water.

Nyad’s swim garnered heavy coverage from newspaper and networks around the world. Conventional newspapers provide readers with lengthier articles chronicling and analyzing events while, or after they happen. Social media sites like Twitter provide readers with a new way to follow current events: Minute-by-minute, as every detail unfolds.

Reading a longer article is rewarding and wrought with interesting detail and facts. But following along on sites like Twitter give the same events a fresh sense of what sometimes seems like breathless excitement. Ms. Nyad’s Twitter feed is a perfect example. 

Ms. Nyad’s companion boat was there to keep an eye out for her health and safety. Fortunately it was also filled with dedicated “tweeters”, who posted short, up-to-the minute updates as they rolled in. (Click here to her account) . For those new to Twitter, it’s important to note that updates are posted in reverse-chronological order. So, the postings (a.k.a., “tweets”) you read first are the most recent. Scroll to the bottom to look farther back into the details from the start.

A senior citizen, Ms. Nyad has said that she hoped her swim would inspire others her age to live an active lifestyle. Nyad’s challenge was clearly a physical one, but just as rewarding can be learning new tasks or exploring new ideas.

Read your favourite papers online, but perhaps try following along with events on twitter. Many newspapers have their own accounts and often “live blog” the events. See how simple and easy it can be to email these links to friends and family so they can follow along too. Maybe even start your own social media account (like Facebook) to keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the lives of your loved ones.

Challenges come in all shapes and sizes. What will yours be?

22 Jul And now for something completely different…

If it’s true that imitation really is the highest form of flattery, then Michael Bublé should be feeling very proud of himself right now. Click here to watch this YouTube video produced by the Film & Video Production students and department at Grand Valley State and staring the residents of Clark Retirement Community in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Together these teams have created what could be the next YouTube sensation.

Hopefully this jump into the digital world will encourage many of these seniors to hop on their computer and email their work of art to family and friends.  Though many older adults can be intimidated by the fact they have little to no computer experience, InTouchLink’s easy email for seniors keeps things simple. Our specially-designed, senior-friendly system guides users through emailing, surfing the web and updating their own calendars and personalized photo albums – perfect for sharing great videos like this one!

18 Jul Feeling the Heat

A major heatwave is currently hovering over the United States and Canada, prompting the issuance of heat alerts and warnings targeted to elderly and vulnerable populations. These warnings are raising awareness of the health implications extreme heat can have on an older body, but they're also drawing attention to the fact that the definiton of "senior" can often depend on the perceptions of the individual.

In her article "Elderly ignore heat warnings – because they're not old" MSNBC contributor Linda Carroll highlights that while the United States Older American's act is targeted towards those 60+, there are few 60 year-olds who consider themselves to fit the bill as "elderly". Semantics aside, age may be a state of mind, but the internal workings of the body can't be ignored.

Click here to read more.

13 Jul New York shows it’s the little things that count

Demographers have been saying it for years: The silver tsunami is going to hit.

In addition to social programming, healthcare and accessible housing, major cities out of the States are now focusing on making their communities more age-friendly. Atlanta, Philadelphia and Portland have all launched research and initiatives. Never one to be left behind, one of New York's ideas is also the simplest. In East Brooklyn, a row of shops now place folding chairs outside their stores for anyone who may need a quick rest.

Click here to read more.

12 Jul Retirement: Making the jump

Some have spent their lives dreaming of the "Freedom 55" club. The chance to travel, spend more time with the grandkids and explore hobbies and passions. Others may have a harder time transitioning from a full-time working life to one of relaxation and open possibilities. When you spend so many years focused on growing your career, how do you let go?

Bill Roiter as written a great article exploring this topic and the common feelings and challenges associated with this time. For those who can't tear themselves away from the desk (or the blackberry) Roiter provides some thoughtful strategies to help you have the best of both worlds.

Click here to read more.