By Crystal Welch, MSN, RN Project Coordinator with HHQI
Recently, I was asked to assist an aged person with lifting and storing her walker. I was amazed at the lightweight construction of the frame and improved design from years past. The ease of use and ability for compact storage in a vehicle was not only surprising but convenient for both the user and caregiver. The improvements in design and function of assistive devices such as wheelchairs and scooters can now be operated with the installation of an alternative control device that operates by touchpad, legs, feet, head, chin and even by breathing – making it easier for those who have limitations to maintain an active lifestyle. In addition to the lightweight walker, I was equally impressed during a recent conversation with my friend who showed me her new hearing aid controlled by Bluetooth using a smart phone application.
According to the Administration on Aging (AoA), the older population—persons 65 years or older—numbered 44.7 million in 2013 which represented 14.1 percent of the U.S. population, about one in every seven Americans. This number is expected to grow to be 21.7 percent of the population by 2040. This increase in the aging population will no doubt create a greater increase and need for caregivers in the future. According to the Pew Research Center, half of adults ages 65 and older are online and once online, most seniors make internet use a regular part of their lives. However, after age 75, internet and broadband use drops off significantly. Seven in ten seniors own a cell phone and one in three online seniors use a social networking site such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
The use of electronic devices can play a role with seniors staying connected not only with family but opening access to medical providers as well. The younger Baby Boomers (those in their 50’s) have become more computer literate and knowledgeable with technology than their older Baby Boomer parents. We’re seeing the use of technology in healthcare increase by leaps and bounds. From virtual doctor appointments and telemedicine to patient portals with electronic health record systems, there are impressive strides being made with such things as caregiving apps to connect families to loved ones. Many apps can, in fact, positively impact the lives of seniors and although not endorsed, possible resources to assist seniors and caregivers of older adults can be found in this online booklet.
In an effort to bring technology to home health patients, HHQI created a series of professionally produced videos designed to educate patients on a variety of cardiovascular health topics.
Videos for Patients
- Risks & Signs of Heart Attack & Stroke
- Diabetes & Your Heart
- Blood Pressure Medication Management
- How to Check My Own Blood Pressure
- Smoking & Your Heart
- How to Quit Smoking
These information-packed videos help explain specific cardiovascular health issues and best practices for improvement. Each 5- to 8-minute video provides valuable information in an engaging format and helpful resources that are easy to use and are available on HHQI’s YouTube playlists.
(And can I mention how much of a kick I get when my 71 year old mother sends me a selfie?)
Here’s to a healthy and happy 2016 from HHQI!