What in the World Are Those QR Codes?

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 3.29.40 PMQR Codes. You’ve probably seen them around — on everything from cereal boxes to magazines to advertising banners on the bus or in the subway. Lots of older adults ask me about QR Codes. A common questions is, “What on earth do they do?”

QR is short for quick resource code (QR code), the scannable geometric-looking design that connects a person via smartphone or digital device to online information such as an e-mail site, a video, a website, or even a telephone number. QR codes are similar to bar codes, but the QR image contains far more encoded information — thousands of times more, in fact. Learn more about QR codes at the Common Craft video tutorial site.

A QR code is essentially a shortcut to digitized information. It might be, for instance, at the end of a book chapter, linking the reader to more content on a topic, or perhaps on an advertisement or billboard. It could link conference attendees to a workshop handout or schedule.      Continue reading

Just Where Is That Fountain of Youth?

Yale University Museum

Fountain by Hans Vredeman de Vries, Dutch,  1527 – ca. 1606 Yale University Museum

Have you noticed how large pharmacies devote more and more aisle space to diet supplements, pills to fix this problem or that, anti-aging products, and vitamins that “can fix” almost anything? I’m also confronted by colorful catalogs and continuous ads, all encouraging me to try one product or another.

Jane Brody has just written an excellent article on the New York Times Well Blog, For an Aging Brain, Looking for Ways to Keep Memory Sharp, Published on May 11, 2015, Brody’s piece focuses on the ways that marketers are taking every opportunity to make us think it’s possible to do something to slow down, or even stop, the aging process, but most have no data to prove the claims.

Read the entire article, but here are two of the best sentences, succinctly summing up Brody’s thoughts:      Continue reading

Lost in the Hospital: An Article to Check Out

I’ve just finished reading a Washington Post opinion piece, We Need to Take Better Care of Our Elderly by Jerald Winakur. The March 20, 2015 article describes a hospital experience of a 91-year-old woman, who may be the author’s mother.

Winakur, a geriatrician, describes what happens to an elder who enters the hospital’s complex world of unfamiliar physicians, none of whom are the person’s primary care physician. He describes how wide-ranging medical tests, medical care recommendations, few explanations, and very little personalized care combine to create confusion for the patient and for family members. And, of course, there are the always-connected medical devices.  Continue reading

About Half of All Americans Over 65 Have a Fall — Each Year

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Click to look at the CDC’s complete pamphlet.

I’ve just finished reading a Washington Post article, Strategies for Preventing Falls, Which Are Especially Risky for Older People, appearing in the online edition on March 16, 2015, It reviews the risks, examines the facts about falling, describes how to check an individual’s steadiness, and makes suggestions about the various ways a person can improve balance.

The article describes a number of tests that can evaluate whether a person is prone to falling. An aging parent should perform them with a physician or physical therapist, who can go through the series of steps and safely evaluate whether or not a person is likely to fall. Physically fit adult children can probably experiment —  carefully — at home with some of these tests. The Washington Post article explains them in detail, so I’ve just listed the tests below, and I’ve also linked several of the tests to videos.                        Continue reading

A Great Infographic on Scams: Print, Put Together & Post

scams title

Click to view the entire infographic from NeoMam Studios.

Keeping ahead of scams — a perplexing and frustrating problem.

Almost every day at my house the phone rings with a suspicious caller. It’s the same at my parents home. It used to be that people needed to worry about door-to-door and telephone scams, but now there are many more. We need to caution our aging parents (and remind ourselves) about scams that involve  junk email, stolen identity, online shopping, false investment invitations and even online dating!

How do we stay alert to all of the possibilities, and more importantly, how do we assure ourselves that our aging parents remember all of the possibilities? The good news is, I’ve been introduced to a great graphic that can help to educate our aging parents and us as well.

The folks at NeoMam Studios in the United Kingdom have created a terrific infographic that depicts the various types of scams that prey on older individuals. The great thing about this infographic is that it’s colorful and not scary — an excellent portrayal of the problems.    Continue reading

Better Hospital Gowns? All Ages Will Be Thrilled!

Click on this image to check out images of the well-designed new gowns with thanks to the Henry Ford Health System.

Click on this image to check out images of the well-designed new gowns. With thanks to the Henry Ford Health System.

If you are like my parents, me, or people of almost any age, you HATE hospital gowns.

Sometimes putting on or wearing the gowns is worse than the test or the hospital visit. If you have ever helped an aging parent or other elder get in and out of bed with one of those gowns — or take a walk in a hospital corridor —  you know how they keep opening up so a patient feels exposed. Currently these gowns are designed to make it easy and simple to examine a person, but not to make a person feel comfortable.

Well now there’s reason to hope that this situation may be improved.

Continue reading