Sunday, September 27, 2015

Childhood Memories and Fitness Collide In New Senior Playgrounds

Remember the days when your parents took you to a nearby playground and you could climb, slide, and run around for hours? 

What if you could still do that? Who said you have to be between the ages of 4 and 10 to enjoy the simple pleasure of a teeter totter or swing?  

Seniors use the equipment at a nearby playground.
A new trend that started in Japan has found its way into US cities. It’s called senior playgrounds. low-impact exercise equipment and machines intended to help promote balance, flexibility, and strength. Some of the featured equipment includes modified chin-up bars, steps and ramps, a low balance beam with railings, and more. Not only is it a great way to have some fun and exercise at the same time, but it also helps people gain better balance. Better balance = fewer falls.

Normally when you think of a playground, you think of children-sized equipment and things you can climb and crawl around on while scraping up your knees and elbows. This is different. The equipment used in these adult playgrounds include

These new playgrounds are being built by KaBOOM!, a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging balanced and active play, and Humana. Together they have built over 50 multi-generational playgrounds around the country and will continue to build more.
So why are these becoming so popular? 

"Play is a great connector for adults and seniors and the children in their lives. In addition to the cognitive and physical benefits of play, it can also reduce stress in adults and is proven to help combat toxic stress in kids," Sarah Pinsky, Director of Client Services for KaBOOM!, told Huffington Post.

Social isolation is a very real issue affecting seniors, which can lead to negative effects both mentally and physically. This combats that problem by getting people actively involved in social gatherings.  Communities are investing in these playgrounds as a way to in keeping people of all ages healthy. It's childhood memories combined with a gym and community center all in one. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

How GPS Bracelets For The Elderly Can Keep Them Safe

GPS bracelets for the elderly are part of a new wave of technology that can help save lives and keep folks living independently at home.

With a GPS bracelet or pendant, the wearer can be located anywhere there is a cellular signal and contact with GPS satellites.  But not all GPS bracelets are made the same, and its important to understand the differences in capabilities and costs.

First, it's important to understand that not all cellular based medical alert systems include GPS tracking technology.  A true GPS system uses satellites to get accurate positioning.  Some systems on the market use terrestrial-based location systems instead - this means they use cellular towers and other land-based positioning to determine your location.  This is a significant difference, as land-based positioning is far less accurate in determining your exact location.  For example, a land-based system using U-TDOA wireless location technology for location services will find you within 100-300 meters of your location...that's one to three football fields in each direction.  A GPS system will find your location within 15 feet or less.

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Secondly, a true GPS based system will provide mapping information, and allow for advanced features such as geo-fencing (allowing you to set a perimeter and notifying you if the devices leaves the perimeter), and bread-crumbing (allowing you to see the most recent locations and traveling direction of the device).

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Third, a GPS bracelet is fine for location services and as a way to signal for help.  However a GPS bracelet is not appropriate for automatic fall detection.  A fall detector must be worn close to the body, preferably close to the breast plate as a GPS pendant, or on the hip with a belt clip.  Otherwise, a wrist based GPS bracelet with automatic fall detection will trigger false alarms easily due to swinging arm movement.

Choose your GPS medical alert system carefully and make sure you use a reputable company with experience in this area.  In addition to the physical hardware of a GPS bracelet or pendant, the monitoring center must be well versed in how to monitor GPS emergency medical alert signals and know how to dispatch emergency services in all locations of the country.