The MIT AgeLab was founded in 1999 in an effort to use technology to create and test ideas designed to help people remain active and mobile throughout all stages of their life. The AgeLab represents a cross discipline collaboration has brought together experts in a variety of fields to help solve some of the problems that naturally stem from aging. According to their website, “AgeLab views ‘successful aging’ for individuals and societies as dependent upon the strategic alignment of a complex system of three interrelated domains: infrastructure, information and institutions.”
One recent experiment involves a suit that was designed to mimic the effects of aging. Scientists who don the suit known as AGNES (Age Gain Now Empathy System) are able to experience firsthand what it feels like to deal with increased fatigue, limited mobility and flexibility, and other common ailments that effect the elderly. Researchers are then able to translate their own experiences into practical solutions that can help people age more gracefully.
This organization is doing some truly interesting and creative work, so if you have an interest in aging and/or technology be sure to keep up with their ongoing studies. If you live in Massachusetts, you may even consider volunteering to participate in one of their studies.
The Center for Strategic & International Studies is an institution that is working to find ways to prepare for and address the first wave of a demographic shift that is about to affect the entire globe. As the life expectancy of people around the world continues to rise, countries are being forced to address the needs of their elderly population. While the CSIS is involved in many projects all over the world, one particular initiative involves the creation of the Global Aging Preparedness Index. This assessment tool is meant to help countries objectively evaluate whether they are ready to adequately provide for their elderly population.
The CSIS website is a great resource that addresses the issue of aging on a global level and and looks at a variety of important topics from defense and security to human rights and climate change. This is the site to visit if you want to get a comprehensive look at the complexities of aging and get access to cutting edge articles and information.
If you are one of the more than 65 million Americans who provides care for a loved one, you need to bookmark the site 1lifetime2care4. This website is run by Linda Lawrence and chronicles her experiences as a member of the sandwich generation, a group that often finds itself caring for both their children and their parents. Linda shares her own experiences and provides great information and tips that will help you better care for yourself and your family. Visit her site to become part of a online support system and community of caregivers.
“The Eden Alternative shows how companionship, the opportunity to give meaningful care to other living things, and the variety and spontaneity that mark an enlivened environment, can succeed where pills and therapies often fail. Places that have adopted the Eden Alternative typically are filled with plants, animals, and are regularly visited by children.” The goal is to replace the pervasive bureaucracy of long-term care facilities with a more compassionate and holistic approach to caregiving. To learn more, take a minute to read through their 10 guiding principles.
The Green House Project puts the philosophy of The Eden Alternative into action in the form of group homes that are designed to accommodate 10-12 residents and are specially built from the ground up to best accommodate the needs of each resident. Patients enjoy their own private living space and access to communal areas that encourage socialization. In addition, Green House residents receive approximately four times the interaction with staff as compared to traditional nursing homes. Visit their site to learn more and find our whether there is a home in your community.
Finally, there is Dr. Thomas’s website, Changing Aging. It features interesting and insightful articles by a variety on contributors who have an interest in changing the way we think about aging. While a lot of blogs tend to recycle the same information and ideas, this site is a goldmine for unique content that will keep you up-to-date on the latest news and innovations when it comes to aging. Learn more and become a port of a dynamic conversation regarding aging.
This organization has been a leader in bringing together “influential providers, regulators, designers, and agencies” to create a more cohesive movement that can help individuals and communities better prepare for aging. In 1991, they started The Aging Design Research Program. Since then, their work has expanded exponentially in the form of initiatives, student competitions, and advisory boards. Their annual Design for Aging Review is an excellent source for the latest news in Aging in Place design trends. In fact, it highlights 30 recent projects that represent the best in research, planning, and architectural design. It is a great place to start if you want to learn more about the who, what, where, why, and how of aging in place.
If you are looking to find out about more resources in your area, the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging in a great place to start. While the main headquarters is based out of Washington D.C., the chances are pretty good that there is a local agency in your area. Not only do they act as advocates for our aging population, they are also a clearinghouse for other services. Your local agency on aging is the perfect first stop if you aren’t sure where to get help or what kind of help you need. They can connect you with the right resources and make sure that you are able to stay in your home for as long as possible.
One the easiest and most cost efficient ways to increase safety and emergency preparedness in your home is by subscribing to a home medical alert system. Typically, these systems consist of a wearable alert button and a monthly subscription that gives you 24/7 access to trained representatives who are not only fully aware of your medical history, but can also instantly contact family members, neighbors, and emergency services in the event of a fall or other medical crisis.
Bay Alarm Medical is one of the nation’s leading providers of inexpensive and easy to use medical alert systems that have been especially designed with the needs of seniors in mind. For a low, monthly cost, you and your loved ones can enjoy greater peace of mind knowing that help is available at the push of a button. Visit their website to learn more about the advantages of subscribing to their services and stop by Modern Senior’s “Buyer’s Guide” to compare other available services and providers.