Friday, September 5, 2014
We have several posts about the use of technology in caregiving. I cover it in my classes (do you?) and in particular, I want my students to think about consent, privacy and autonomy. Several years ago, there were stories about PARO, a therapeutic interactive robot designed to resemble a baby harp seal, and its use with certain individuals, including those residing in nursing homes. (The company website has quite a bit of information about PARO, including research papers.) There are lots of different types of technologies available, whether assistive or monitoring.
A recent article in the San Jose Mercury News (and picked up by my local paper, the Tampa Bay Times) Meet Paro, a robot designed to help the elderly, reports on the results from using Paro in a local retirement community. This article looks at the issues of ethics as well as how the use of such "socially assistive" robots results in less isolation for some residents. The story highlights the interactions of some residents with the robot. The article also reviews the debate regarding using such robots. For example, Sherry Turkle, an MIT social scientist is quoted in the article offering a concern that
"faux relationships" with machines may detract from human connections..."It's not just that older people are supposed to be talking. Younger people are supposed to be listening... [and] ... [w]e are showing very little interest in what our elders have to say." Robots like Paro may offer comfort to isolated seniors, Turkle has written, but it could "make us less likely to look for other solutions for their care."
Another expert, Professor Maja Mataric, offers a counter-view, that such robots provide both "valuable reinforcement and motivation" and notes that
While robots aren't a complete substitute for human interaction, she stressed, they may play a vital role since "there just simply aren't enough people to take care of our very large and growing elderly population." ... [and] added: "We need to think about the humane and ethical use of technology, because these things are coming."
I think this is a great topic for discussion with students. Let me know what you think.
Monday, August 11, 2014
A New York teenager whose grandfather suffers from Alzheimer's disease won a $50,000 science prize for developing wearable sensors that send mobile alerts when a dementia patient begins to wander away from bed, officials said on Wednesday. Kenneth Shinozuka, 15, who took home the Scientific American Science in Action Award, said his invention was inspired by his grandfather's symptoms, which frequently caused him to wander from bed in the middle of the night and hurt himself. "I will never forget how deeply moved my entire family was when they first witnessed my sensor detecting Grandfather's wandering," Shinozuka said in a statement. "At that moment, I was struck by the power of technology to change lives." His invention uses coin-sized wireless sensors that are worn on the feet of a potential wanderer. The sensors detect pressure caused when the person stands up, triggering an audible alert on a caregiver's smartphone using an app.
The award honors a project that aims to make a practical difference by addressing an environmental, health or resources challenge, said Scientific American Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina.
Read more at Reuters.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
With thanks to Phoenix, Arizona Elder Law practitioner Thomas Murphy for the heads up, the Internal Revenue Service is offering a free phone forum on "Retirement Plans after Windsor," on Thursday, June 26 from 2:00 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time. The forum will be "rebroadcast" on July 8.
Not a lot of details are available on-line about the forum. Here are links to basic information, plus the June 26 registration page (registration is required, but it does not appear the forum is limited to registered agents).
Here's a link to a separate registration site for the "rebroadcast" on July 8.
Monday, May 26, 2014
When I was a child, there was a movie -- or maybe a tv show -- with a friendly robot named Tobor. Tobor soon became an imaginary friend for the neighborhood children, and conveniently, someone we could blame when we forgot to close a door or knocked something over. "Tobor did it!"
Fast forward many years and last week, during a meeting at my Area Agency on Aging, I learned the AAA had entered into a contract with a company that makes home medication dispensers to provide the devices at a modest cost to clients in the county. "Tobor for the Boomer Generation!"
The device, about the size of a blender or coffee machine, can be pre-loaded with a large number of doses of different kinds of medications with different dispensing schedules, and with recorded messages such as "Drink with water." The machine signals the client to take the revealed dose, and continues the signal until the medication is removed. It can also be programmed to contact a family member about a missed dose. Of course, there are limits to the utility of any automated device, as the client must still have the capacity to follow the directions and not simply discard the dose.
It will be interesting to see, over time, whether (and which kind of ) Tobors are effective innovations with long-range satisfaction and utility. I do seem to have a lot of ignored contraptions on my own kitchen counter.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
An updated Federal Courts app is for Android, iPhone, iPad is now available. The app provides access to PACER, the federal rules of civil, criminal, bankruptcy, and appellate procedure, federal rules of evidence, local rules for EVERY federal court in the country, and more. It's a must have for all practitioners. And it's only 3 bucks!!!
To download search the relevant app store for Fed Courts, or go here:
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
The National Guardianship Network is compling reources for the online International Resource Library on Adult Guardianship. If you have a resource that could be beneficial to your fellow professionals, please consider sharing it on our online library. Forms, manuals, checklists, brochures and more will be posted as a shared resource in this library. Documents can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org (use the subject “resource library” so that that these materials are not confused with presenters’ Congress handouts). Please provide, in English, a description regarding the document(s) you send, so that we can name and categorize them. Resources may be in English or in the language in which they were written. Please respect U.S. Copyright laws.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Last September we noted the kick-off of the Stanford Center on Longevity's world-wide Design Challenge that encouraged teams to tackle the need for "solutions that help keep people with cognitive impairments independent as long as possible." In March, PBS News Hour had a nice piece on the partnership that launched the competition.
The latest news is that 7 teams are finalists from among 52 entries from 15 countries. The final phase of the competition will take place on April 10. As explained by Stanford's news release:
"They are coming to Stanford to make their final pitches for a $10,000 first prize and connections to industry leaders and investors. There will be talks by a number of distinguished speakers, a panel of Silicon Valley investors, and the announcement of next years’ challenge. Join us for what should be a great day of learning and networking."
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Last fall, our Elder Law Prof Blog reported on the available of a MOOC (Massive Open On-Line Course) offered by John Hopkins School of Nursing on "Care of Elders with Alzheimer's Disease and other Major Neurogonitive Disorders." Did any of our readers participate? We welcome reports on your reactions to the experience.
Now there's a another MOOC opportunity, this time from the University of Tazmania on "Understanding Dementia." The 9-week course is described as "building on the latest in international research on dementia." And, true to the spirit of MOOCs, it is free and open to anyone to register, here. The course begins Monday, March 31 -- so hurry to register.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's disease. More than 5 million Americans are living with the disease. Learn the facts. Help wipe out Alzheimer's disease.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The Administration for Community Living recently published a series of fact sheets related to advance care planning on the Elder Care Locator. The Fact Sheets are designed to help older adults and their families plan for the care they want when they have a serious illness. The Fact Sheets are about care planning generally, care during advanced cancer and dementia, family caregivers, and the services that can help families during serious illness. Each one provides links to additional resources that may assist families as they face serious illness. View the fact sheets and access downloadable pdf copies here.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
A few weeks ago, I needed to compile a list of words and phrases that would enable my publisher to create an index to a forthcoming book. I found a very cool software program called Hermetic Word Frequency Counter that really made the job easy. The program reviews the entire document (in this case, a 400 page book) and lists every word in the document (other than a pre-set list of 100-odd words like "and" "or" "the" etc.) and the number of times that word appears. The information is presented in descending order. The program runs quickly, and it made a task that could have taken hours incredibly simple.
Hermetic Word Frequency Counter isn't free, but I think it was worth the $39.99 that I paid for a perpetual license. Check it out here.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative Helps People with Disabilities Find Health Insurance
The American Association on Health and Disability has launched a new website that aims to help personw with disabilities secure health insurance. Navigators and other enrollment specialists can now access better information to help people with disabilities find health care coverage in the federal and state exchanges. The tools are cross-disability programs developed by the National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative (NDNRC). The 12-month collaborative was made possible by a one-year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The navigator website was launched December 1, 2013 at www.nationaldisabilitynavigator.org. There is also an accompanying training guide, the Guide to Disability for Healthcare Insurance Marketplace Navigators. The guide describes the barriers to health insurance people with disabilities have encountered in the past, how disability laws affect the marketplace, what navigators need to know about disability, and much more. It is available at: http://www.nationaldisabilitynavigator.org/ndnrc-materials/disability-guide/.
The recently launched website also features the latest health coverage news and resources of interest to those helping consumers with disabilities find health coverage (and to consumers as well). The website also features a blog, which, among other things, gives everyone the opportunity to tell their own health coverage enrollment story. In the near future, the website will publish 17 fact sheets with more information on disability-specific issues and individual state information as well.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Via Yahoo News:
A man from Leeds, England has invented a dog-controlled washing machine. The "Woof to Wash" machine has a bark-activated "on" switch. A special "paw" button allows the pooch to easily open and close the machine's door. The inventor, John Middleton of U.K. laundry company JTM, intends for the "Woof to Wash" machine to make laundry an easier task for people living with disabilities by letting them delegate the trickier parts of the job to support dogs who have been trained to load and empty the machines. "We developed this machine because mainstream products with complex digital controls seldom meet the needs of the disabled user," he said. The Sheffield charity Support Dogs is training the animals to operate the new machines.
"People who are visually impaired, have manual dexterity problems, autism or learning difficulties can find the complexity of modern day washing machines too much," Middleton told Anorak. "I had been working on a single program washing machine to make things easier, and there was a lot of demand for it."
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Via the Senate Special Committee on Aging:
If you or someone you know suspect you’ve been victim of a scam or fraud aimed at seniors, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging has set up a new toll-free hotline to help. The hotline was unveiled today to make it easier for senior citizens to report suspected fraud and receive assistance. It will be staffed by a team of committee investigators weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. The investigators, who have experience with investment scams, identity theft, bogus sweepstakes and lottery schemes, Medicare and Social Security fraud, and a variety of other senior exploitation issues, will directly examine complaints and, if appropriate, refer them to the proper authorities.
Anyone with information about suspected fraud can call the toll-free fraud hotline at 1-855-303-9470, or contact the committee through its website, located at http://www.aging.senate.gov/fraud-hotline. As chairman and ranking member of the committee, Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Susan Collins (R-ME) have made consumer protection and fraud prevention a primary focus of the committee’s work. This year the panel has held hearings examining Jamaican lottery scams, tax-related identity theft, Social Security fraud and payday loans impact on seniors.
The hotline’s unveiling also coincides with the committee’s launch of an enhanced senior-friendly website. The site’s new features include large print, simple navigation and an uncluttered layout that enables seniors to find information more easily and conveniently. Online visitors can also increase text size, change colors or view a text-only version of the site.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Following up on Becky's post--this is old news, but it is Old News Worth Repeating: the SAFE Minnesota phone/Iphone app
During their spring 2013 semester in my Elder Justice and Policy Keystone course, students wrote an elder abuse application called “SAFE MN.” The app is intended for use by law enforcement officials, first responders, mandated reporters, and laypersons who encounter possible abuse or exploitation of a vulnerable adult or older person. The app provides information about the signs and symptoms of abuse, hotline numbers, and other resources that will help identify abuse and abusers, allow for reporting and, in appropriate cases, facilitate prosecution. Keystone students compiled and organized the app’s substantive content, and Chris , who was a programmer prior to law school and has written a number of apps, wrote the code.
Although the app was intended for use in Minnesota, much of its content is generic. The app is free, and available for download both from Google Play (Android) and from Apple.
Desiree Toldt, who will graduate from Mitchell in May 2014, also wrote a paper that serves as a step-by-step guide to others interested in replicating the app in their own jurisdictions. To obtain a copy of the paper, contact me (use email link in my bio, below).
Kudos to these students for their outstanding work!
Sunday, September 22, 2013
September 24 is the kick-off date for a world-wide Design Competition offered by Stanford's Center on Longevity. The Stanford Report explains the competition is intended to encourage innovation that helps the rising tide of seniors:
"The design contest solicits entries from student teams worldwide and is aimed at finding solutions that help keep people with cognitive impairments independent as long as possible."
The final presentations are scheduled for April 2014 with judging by a panel of academics, industry professionals, nonprofit groups and investors. The competition offers prizes, including the top prize of $10,000.
Hat tip to Professor Laurel Terry, for news on this interesting challenge.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Lawyers, Drugs & Money: A Prescription for Antitrust Enforcement in the Pharmaceutical Industry Online Proceedings
In cooperation with The University of San Francisco School of Law and the Rutgers Law Journal, the Legal Scholarship Network (LSN) is pleased to announce the Lawyers, Drugs & Money: A Prescription for Antitrust Enforcement in the Pharmaceutical Industry Online Proceedings. These proceedings are available to all users at no charge and contain abstracts of the meeting's papers with links to the full text within the SSRN eLibrary.
One of the most pressing issues of our time is how to encourage medical innovation while containing the costs of medication. Judges grapple with this challenge in litigation over patent rights and antitrust law. The result is a potent dose of lawyers, drugs and money, the topic of our symposium.
The University of San Francisco School of Law hosted a day-long symposium on Friday, September 25, 2009 in Fromm Hall. The symposium included five panels addressing cutting edge issues relevant to enforcement of the antitrust laws in the pharmaceutical industry. These panels considered topics such as reverse payments (or pay-for-delay settlements), product hopping, standing and preemption, burdens of proof, and class certification in antitrust cases.
You can browse all Lawyers, Drugs & Money: A Prescription for Antitrust Enforcement in the Pharmaceutical Industry Symposium abstracts in the SSRN database by clicking on the following link. The current drafts of the papers are available now and the final versions should be uploaded soon. You may wish to bookmark it in your browser.
View papers: http://www.ssrn.com/link/Lawyers-Drugs-Money.html.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
The Administration on Aging, along with a number of non-profit organizations, has created a new legal resource web site that is available to consumers, attorneys and advocates alike. It is a good starting point for anyone researching the legal rights and benefits of older Amercians. You can reach the new site by clicking http://www.nlrc.aoa.gov/NLRC/index.aspx: Called the National Legal Resource Center (NLRC), the new project is a collaboration with:
- The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging
- The Center for Elder Rights Advocacy
- The Center for Social Gerontology
- The National Consumer Law Center
- The National Senior Citizens Law Center