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Senior Friendly Ride-Sharing Services

Senior Friendly Ride-Sharing Services

July 2, 2020

Ridesharing has been gaining popularity since 2009 when Uber launched their services into San Francisco. Since then, other competitors have entered the market. Many of them have been forgotten or even acquired. Lyft (founded in 2012) is a direct competitor to Uber and has similar app-based ride sharing services.

Uber and Lyft are often seen as “Millennial taxi services” and older adults (especially seniors) haven’t fully come around to the idea of using them. According to a research article written by the AARP, 94% of Americans age 50 and older have heard of ride sharing services, but only 28% have actually used them and 68% had not planned to use them within the next year. But as technology continues to move at a rapid pace, taxi services dwindling, and increasing commute times year after year, seniors may need to start using these services.

What can we do to help push them out of their comfort zone and into using ridesharing services?

No, the first step is not to download an app! Luckily, there are companies that have wonderful solutions for accessible, safe, and senior-friendly ride-sharing and many of them are ordered byway of a phone call.

Offered wherever Lyft operates

Great Call Rides is a service that provides any Jitterbug user a fast and efficient way to summon a ride via Lyft.

Instead of downloading the application and setting up an account, Great Call has added Lyft as a speed dial number to their jitterbug phones. Dial 0 and it will then direct you to a live operator.

First the user must tell them where they want to go, and the operator will quickly give the wait time and estimated cost for the ride. Lyft will pick the passenger up from anywhere. When it’s time to return home, just dial 0 again and start the process over.

This service charges directly to the phone bill, so a credit card does not need to be imputed into the jitterbug phone and cash doesn’t need to be on hand to pay for the service.

Nationwide coverage

GoGo Grandparent is a service that has partnered with Uber and Lyft to create a ridesharing program specifically for older adults age 50+.

GoGo Grandparent will provide users with an (800) number to save in their contact list. This number allows them access to ride sharing capabilities without having to download an app.

After it’s saved to their phone, they can call and have 7 options to choose from.

  1. Immediate request of an Uber or Lyft
  2. Request an Uber or Lyft where you were dropped off last
  3. Request an Uber or Lyft to a custom pick up location
  4. Request ride sharing through an operator
  5. Request meals to be delivered
  6. Request groceries to be delivered
  7. Speak with an operator about medication management. 

With all of these options, GoGo Grandparent allows their users to get most everything they need all from one number.

The service also includes “by-the-minute” updates to emergency contacts. Caregivers and loved one’s have the ability to stay informed by receiving text messages when a ride is being ordered, when their loved one is in the car, and they can receive the address of the new location.

GoGo memberships cost $9.99 a month and the concierge fee is $0.27 a minute. For non-members, the service costs $12 per ride.

Offered within the San Francisco Bay Area and Kansas City areas.

Silver Ride is a senior ride sharing service that offers help from pickup to drop off.

Silver Ride offers door-through-door assisted ride assistance. This means they will go into the pickup location and assist the passenger into the car. When they are at the dropoff location, the driver will assist them into the location. This helps reduce potential falls and always makes sure there is a helping hand.

According to their website, “The Company has a robust training program that educates drivers how to physically assist riders in and out of the vehicle, up and down stairs, how to provide assistance walking along uneven surfaces, how to help clients in and out of wheelchairs. Drivers are also trained in the myriad of conditions that exist, including tremors, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, vision issues, hearing issues, balance issues.”

Passengers can enjoy a free guest with all of their rides and Silver Ride even has excursion packages to bring them to different sites around their respective city.

The service is cashless, so there will need to be a credit card on file.

If Silver Ride is more than 15 minutes late, the ride is half-price. Ride requests must be submitted a day in advance and the prices are calculated on a per-trip basis.

During the unprecedented times of Covid-19, ridesharing services are taking precautions to make sure they are clean and safe. Rides with more than one group have been completely paused for all users, and there is a maximum number of riders that are allowed to be in the car at one time. Many ridesharing services are distributing cleaning supplies, like clorox wipes and hand sanitizer. Some even have complimentary masks if you forgot yours at home. The drivers are mandated to clean their cars more frequently and more thoroughly than ever before.

Ridesharing can be daunting for seniors, especially since they already know how to use taxis and relying on family members can tend to feel a bit better. But with new services popping up, now is the time to have a conversation with them about ridesharing and how simple the service can be. Though we only highlighted three, there are many other wonderful services across the globe for passengers of all abilities, and a quick google search will guide you to one that best fits your and your loved one’s needs.

  “Walking man’s best medicine” — Hippocrates

   By Nic Bordwell, Director of Marketing

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Caregiver Support Groups

Caregiver Support Groups

June 7, 2019

WalkWise was built to help seniors remain active and independent. We continually talk about how your loved one is doing, how we will alert you if they fall, and how our device can help make walkers more fun and engaging.

But, who is the “You” in these catchy lines we use on our social media channels so often?

The “you” are caregivers. Caregivers are the backbone of our application, and we try to thank the selfless caregivers that are part of the WalkWise family. Caregivers help us advance our product, give feedback about our alerts, and share stories of their day-to-day struggles (and successes!) so we can try to understand what they go through and better optimize our services.

Being a caregiver is tough and sometimes it may seem like you’re on an island alone, but there are many resources for you to be heard, to be helped, and to find peace with your efforts. Listed below you will find a few caregiver support groups and other resources to get connected with people like yourself.

Social Media Support Groups

Caregiver nation is a support group on Facebook. Their main purpose is to connect people who are dealing with the same tasks in life. They have 5,000 members and are growing every day. You can see countless posts a day of encouragement and tips and tricks for caregiving. Caregiver nation is sponsored by Seniorlink (we will get to them later!).

Caregiver Support Group is another fantastic resource for caregivers to connect via Facebook. They have 12,000 members and the activity is very high. Post topics range from caregiver guilt to learning more about your loved one’s conditions. They had almost 3,000 conversations a month and last week added another 149 members. One thing to note about Caregiver Support Group is that they have rules against product promotions, bullying, and their number one rule is to be kind and courteous.

Caregiver connection is slightly different from the two above. They primarily post links and resources for you to follow outside of social media. There is a lot of activity within the comment sections, but this isn’t a group for conversations about your personal experiences. This group is recommended to follow if you find yourself wanting to read professionally written material about caregiving.

Caregiver Support Websites

The American Association of Family Caregivers is a website that provides caregivers with educational courses, a caregiver hotline to talk with someone who understands your worries, and a membership marketplace to buy discounted caregiving supplies. This organization represents over 100,000 family caregivers and can guide you through unique, daily challenges.

Senior Link is a tool that helps caregivers receive emotional coaching and support. Senior link gives caregivers the ability to connect via an app when they have questions. As a member you have access to a library of tips on how to take care of your loved one, but just as important, how to take care of yourself. Seniorlink only operates in select states, so you will want to visit their website and check if your state is one they operate within.

The final great web-based resource for caregivers is usa.gov. They have different links for specific caregiving struggles and resources for help. From Alzheimer’s caregiving to care for caregivers themselves, this web page is a great tool for anyone that is a caregiver.

In your own home town.

Many towns and cities have their own caregiving groups that may meet in coffee shops or have weekly luncheons. These groups are usually small, but it’s a great place to decompress and share your stories with one another. A quick google search will identify groups that meet near you. If you live in a rural area, there are sometimes monthly meetups that are a short distance away.

Caregiving is hard work and there are many resources to potentially lighten the load. Stay connected with other caregivers and share your story. Every day there are new caregivers facing new challenges. If you feel alone, between the groups written above, there are nearly twenty-thousand people to hear your story and help. WalkWise has your back, too; make that twenty-thousand and one!

“Walking man’s best medicine” — Hippocrates 

By Nic Bordwell, Director of Marketing 

Posted on 3 Comments

Are Seniors Averse to Technology?

Are Seniors Averse to Technology?

May 29, 2020

“C’mon Ma you have got to try it” I pleaded to my elderly mother. I do not know how my mother lasted this long without ever using the internet, but enough was enough!
“Ok” she said reluctantly settling down by the computer and slowly putting on her reading glasses. “What do I do now?”
“Now I’m going to open the homepage of Google”, I explained. “OK here it is! Now type in ANY question you want into the bar over here and you will find an answer to your question,” I confidently assured her.
My mother looked at me warily, thought for a second, and slowly began to type:
How is Gertrude doing this morning?

The light-hearted humor from this scenario illustrates the tongue-in-cheek societal assumption that our aging population is averse to technology. So much so that inventors in the digital space are scrambling to find inroads to force the issue of older adults embracing technology. However, our senior population lacks the confidence and motivation to pursue using many forms of technology. Why? Joking aside, the answer may lie in how the elderly use different technologies for different purposes and in different contexts. Seeking to explore the relative untapped market of technology for seniors, much has been done by way of market research on how to achieve this – a golden opportunity. It is understood that subsequent generations will embrace technologies and harbor these adoptions as they age. 

However, our seniors are not blind to technology and its creation and proliferation. If you observe the life of an 80-year old who was born in 1940, the following are technological advancements that have occurred during their life:

● 1942 – Nuclear Power
● 1947 – The Transistor
● 1957 – Spaceflight
● 1974 – The Personal Computer
● 2012 – Gene Editing
● 2017 – Artificial Intelligence

This concise list ignores technology that the silent generation has been exposed to and readily adopted along the way. Within this same timeframe, our grandparents handily used the microwave, credit cards, contraception, solar cells, the VCR, ATMs, laser printers, scanning microscopes, contact lenses, personal stereos; the list goes on and on.

Cognitive prowess does indeed decline in our advanced years. Therefore, coming up to speed with digital communication and information technologies prove to be burdensome, as the learning curve can be relatively high. According to Forbes, University of California San Diego researchers from their Design Lab recommend a key focus on obstacles that those ages 60 and older face when using technology. Pew Research Center suggests that those in this demographic spend over half of their daily leisure time engaged with technology on some level: TVs, computers, tablets, or other electronic devices. So why do we still carry the assumption that they are tech averse?

The problem does not lie in owning technology, but in using them. These same researchers have isolated how frustration in using technology is a significant barrier to technology adoption. Therefore, it comes down to good design derived from how our seniors want to use technology: their way. Remember, at one time the microwave was designed and marketed to complete an entire thanksgiving meal, including browning a turkey. Now, the idea seems preposterous. Functionally, the microwave is best suited for reheating, thawing, and popcorn. Other technologies have a similar vantage point for seniors. Simplicity is paramount.

Engagement Technology

Most Seniors prefer to age in place. So, the technologies that serve this demographic well center the user experience around this elective, necessary, and vital environment. Companies like LifeLoop, GrandPad, and BirdSong have simplified the wonderful platform of tablets into consumable and easy interfaces that enhance and encourage engagement, not detract from it.

The three above – feel free to click and check them out yourself – carry a similar theme respectively; smart, simple, and safe ways to connect seniors to their loved ones. With these well-designed tech platforms, low technology-literacy is coded in, removing those adoption barriers that would make something like an app-laden iPad nowhere near as senior-friendly

Low or No Engagement Technology

When the world gets smarter, it can leave an individual feeling rather dumb. This is yet another arena technology innovation has benefited not only seniors, but all of us. Are you prone to losing your keys? How about an eye-scanner or fingerprint sensor that lets you in your own residence! Have you forgotten a key ingredient to your favorite pie recipe? How about asking Alexa or Siri, they seem to know all the answers all the time! Are you all thumbs when it comes to using your TV remote? Try asking it to play your favorite classic Western!

TEMI robots for seniors are a fascinating example of how A.I. can be a uniquely adaptive technology that requires low engagement. TEMI touts itself as “senior living’s newest personal robot”. Imagine your personal robot being able to play your favorite song, display photographs of loved ones, or follow you from room to room to lend a helping “hand” when you need one. What about health concerns? – Ask TEMI to take your temperature or video conference your doctor or nurse practitioner. These adaptive features are designed precisely to enable aging in place.

Some of the more compelling technologies are ones that work when you do not need to recognize they are there. SmartSole is a smartphone sealed within a water-resistant, trimmable shoe insert. The benefit? GPS tracking so a caregiver can know where you are by simple text or email. SmartSole is a clear example of how technology can be uniquely discreet, yet powerfully important for health and safety.

WalkWise uses a “Smart Walker Attachment” that discreetly attaches to walkers. Not only does it encourage walker use – therefore preventing falls – it provides family members and care providers digital activity alerts with usable data to encourage overall wellness and health. WalkWise is a powerful example of how senior-focused design can be accomplished without burdening the user. Seniors understand technology. They also understand simplicity and privacy. This may be a byproduct of wisdom that comes with age. However, they wish technology to be designed well and designed for their needs. Yes, the world’s 65-plus population can be described as the “mother of all untapped markets” when it comes to technology. Step one in tapping this market is to continuously improve technologies by gaining understanding of the ideas and concepts generated by older adults. By default, this will lead to more meaningful technologies for those that may need them the most. 

Aaron Lamb
Director of Business Development

“Walking is man’s best medicine” — Hippocrates 

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Intergenerational Daycare Q&A

Intergenerational Daycare Q&A

May 12, 2020

Innovation within the senior care industry can come in all forms. Sometimes we see it in technology, medical advancements, or even housing.

Today, you will be introduced to a new side of senior-related innovation that’s rather unique.

Under one roof, seniors and children can go to daycare together. Though their needs are slightly different, and the activities may stray from one another, this approach brings new life back into senior daycare and teaches children life lessons along the way.

Pam Lawrence and Jaime Moran from Kindness Creators Intergenerational Preschool were nice enough to answer some questions and tell us all about this unique approach to daycare. Note that we asked these questions in 2020, during the coronavirus outbreak that closed many senior living communities to visitors.

Q: Would you mind introducing yourself and explain your role with Kindness Creators?

A: We are Pam Lawrence and Jaime Moran and we started Kindness Creators Intergenerational Preschool to bring generations together through love and learning. We are both co-directors and teachers at Kindness Creators.

Q: What are the key benefits of intergenerational daycare?

A: There are many benefits for children when they attend an intergenerational program:

They learn patience, kindness and acceptance of others.

Children become more comfortable with different generations and people of different abilities.

They have higher social maturity and in some cases higher academic performance.

Being with children help seniors to:

Strengthen their emotional, physical, and mental health.

When able to interact with children, seniors feel an increased connection to the world.

Gain a sense of importance and purpose.

And connections between the generations aid in the effects of dementia.

Q: How do children and seniors interact with each other on a daily basis?

A: When we set out to make a true intergenerational program we wanted to be right in the same building as seniors so we are located inside Oak Park Arms Senior Living Center in Oak Park, IL.

The residents at Oak Park Arms can come to our room and volunteer during class time.

We also go and visit residents that cannot come to us in their apartments.

We have some residents that like to walk to the park with us to get exercise.

Everyday we walk around on the main floor to greet our friends as well.

We have ice cream socials with the residents.

We put on an xmas show with the children and choir.

We are always invited to all of their special events, such as senior prom.

We had a luncheon with first responders/community helpers that OPA invited us to.

We basically have an open door policy for the residents. Whenever you want to come down and visit you can come knock on our door.

Our families adopted a grandparent for xmas and bought presents for our senior volunteers.

Q: Have you seen a positive impact (physically and emotionally) for both seniors and children?

A: The impact on both sides is absolutely heartwarming and amazing! When we started this program we were so excited to be able to spend our days with the preschool age children and the seniors; but it has become so much more than what we have imagined. This time together has made us a close knit family. We really miss our children and residents during this unusual time and all we want to do is get back to school and see everyone. Kindness Creators is a second home to the children, to us, and to the residents.

Q: Is there anything you would like people to know about intergenerational daycare that we haven’t covered?

A: Our intergenerational preschool has brought us (Pam and Jaime) so much joy to build and create. We have not one regret and cannot wait until it is safe to get back to our mission: connecting children and seniors through love and learning.

If you would like more information our website is: www.kindnesscreators.org

“Walking is man’s best medicine” – Hippocrates 

Nic Bordwell, Director of Marketing

Posted on 2 Comments

Living Forward – Inspired Life Planning

Living Forward - Inspired Life Planning

April 23, 2020

Living Forward is a concept that has cropped up recently in the world of senior living, even though it is practical at other life stages. Life planning is paramount to happiness and fulfillment, especially as we grow older. To illustrate, Living Forward can be summed up by these pithy sayings:

● A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.

● A year from now, you may wish you had started today.

● Nothing really great happens in your comfort zone.

● People lose their way when they lose their why.

These sayings wax on the philosophical, particularly in an ontological sense. Our reason for being can be articulated by stating that our life matters, we are here for a reason, and our job is to determine why. This is where Living Forward plays a vital role. It is a conscious, deliberate action to plan ahead.

Michael Hyatt is co-author of the book, Living Forward, A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want. The book is written in three distinct parts; the first part describes how we drift when we lose perspective on priorities, the second part institutes how to write a life plan, and the final part is about the necessary implementation of this plan.

Social worker Dorlee Michaeli (MBA, LCSW), encourages using the principles of this book to ‘tend to our own gardens’. As a care professional, she recognizes that we must practice before we preach, write our own life plan before encouraging others to take control of their life. So, why create a life plan, especially if you are a senior? Michaeli answers this by means of Hyatt’s book, “To increase your likelihood that you will get to where you want to go [and] live a more fulfilled and balanced life!” Consider the following:

● Clarify Priorities – You will avoid over analyzing or second-guessing; what is most important to you will be clearer.

● Maintain Balance – You will be able to give appropriate attention to each of your life areas (i.e., you may grow at work without diminishing other areas of your life).

● Filter opportunities – You can manage your opportunities rather than be managed by them.

● Face realities – You must acknowledge any problems you may have in health, work or at home etc., to be able to address and improve them.

● Envision the future – You focus on what you see; choose a future/vision that compels you.

● Avoid regrets – You can dramatically increase the chances of doing what you want to do.

Living Forward, a method of inspired life planning, is not a rudimentary exercise to set it and forget it. It is a means to an end. For many seniors it lends towards how they want to be remembered, their legacy. This concept is worthy of constant consideration. I have heard many times that the difference between a goal and a dream is that the dream has a timeline. Living Forward takes wishful aspirations and turns it into achievable realities.

“Walking is man’s best medicine” – Hippocrates
Aaron Lamb, Director of Business Development

Living Forward - Inspired Life Planning

April 23, 2020

Living Forward is a concept that has cropped up recently in the world of senior living, even though it is practical at other life stages. Life planning is paramount to happiness and fulfillment, especially as we grow older. To illustrate, Living Forward can be summed up by these pithy sayings:

● A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.

● A year from now, you may wish you had started today.

● Nothing really great happens in your comfort zone.

● People lose their way when they lose their why.

These sayings wax on the philosophical, particularly in an ontological sense. Our reason for being can be articulated by stating that our life matters, we are here for a reason, and our job is to determine why. This is where Living Forward plays a vital role. It is a conscious, deliberate action to plan ahead.

Michael Hyatt is co-author of the book, Living Forward, A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want. The book is written in three distinct parts; the first part describes how we drift when we lose perspective on priorities, the second part institutes how to write a life plan, and the final part is about the necessary implementation of this plan.

Social worker Dorlee Michaeli (MBA, LCSW), encourages using the principles of this book to ‘tend to our own gardens’. As a care professional, she recognizes that we must practice before we preach, write our own life plan before encouraging others to take control of their life. So, why create a life plan, especially if you are a senior? Michaeli answers this by means of Hyatt’s book, “To increase your likelihood that you will get to where you want to go [and] live a more fulfilled and balanced life!” Consider the following:

● Clarify Priorities – You will avoid over analyzing or second-guessing; what is most important to you will be clearer.

● Maintain Balance – You will be able to give appropriate attention to each of your life areas (i.e., you may grow at work without diminishing other areas of your life).

● Filter opportunities – You can manage your opportunities rather than be managed by them.

● Face realities – You must acknowledge any problems you may have in health, work or at home etc., to be able to address and improve them.

● Envision the future – You focus on what you see; choose a future/vision that compels you.

● Avoid regrets – You can dramatically increase the chances of doing what you want to do.

Living Forward, a method of inspired life planning, is not a rudimentary exercise to set it and forget it. It is a means to an end. For many seniors it lends towards how they want to be remembered, their legacy. This concept is worthy of constant consideration. I have heard many times that the difference between a goal and a dream is that the dream has a timeline. Living Forward takes wishful aspirations and turns it into achievable realities.

“Walking is man’s best medicine” – Hippocrates
Aaron Lamb, Director of Business Development

Posted on 1 Comment

3 Lessons from “Tuesdays With Morrie”

3 Lessons from "Tuesdays With Morrie"

April 16, 2020

When I joined the team at WalkWise, I was one month away from being a college graduate, 22 years old, and had never worked in-depth with a senior tech product or an older population. I quickly started reading and learning as much as I could about the senior technology industry, and luckily for me, I was able to do my research about mobility aids, aging, and much more when I was on the clock. The WalkWise team knew it was important for me to understand who we serve, even if it meant slowly learning and reading.

For my onboarding, I also had required reading; the book was “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.” by Atuwal Gawande. This book opened my eyes to not only aging, but end-of-life care and hospice as well. Working through the intricacies of end-of-life care is tough, and the decisions one must make can be life altering both positively and negatively.

After reading Being Mortal, I became a big fan of literature on aging and learning more about the population WalkWise serves.

This brings me to my most current read and a book that has taught me even more about aging — “Tuesdays With Morrie,” By Mitch Albom. This book takes the reader along a journey about aging, dealing with ALS, and accepting one’s self every step of the way. Below I will detail 3 lessons I took from this life altering book, “Tuesdays With Morrie.” Hopefully you find them as important as I did, and maybe, you will want to read the book as well.

1. Aging is natural and positive, find a goal, and reach it.

“As you grow, you learn more. Aging is not just decay… it’s growth,” Stated Morrie in one of the most memorable quotes of the whole book. As one ages, like all of us do, we find our way through life. If we didn’t age, we would remain stagnant and bettering ourselves or helping others would not be second nature. How many times have we been told when we were younger, “the world doesn’t revolve around you?” Almost everyone has heard this. The older one gets, the less we hear it. This is because as we age, we learn, we grow, and if possible we give (3rd lesson).

Through his battle with ALS, Morrie imparted wisdom that usually remains unspoken. “… If you have found the meaning of life… you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more.” Finding the meaning of life is different for everyone; it may be traveling to all 50 states, donating your time at a soup kitchen every Saturday, or simply being kind to everyone. Morrie describes aging as the pursuit of finding one’s meaning of life and being okay with growing older because growing older is one step closer to finding that meaning.

2. Self Acceptance

“Accept who you are; and revel in it,” Morrie says as he is reflecting on who he is as a person. When one accepts who they truly are, they can make the impact they would like to in this world.

Morrie challenges every person to be themselves and love the things that make someone uniquely them.

In a world where technology is so intertwined with our daily lives, it’s easier now than ever to demonstrate unique abilities. Strengths and weaknesses are considered unique and every human has something that sets them apart. Start a blog, a youtube channel, or even a social media page about your unique interests. Odds are, there are many people that have similar passions to yours and you will find a community that may help you accept yourself and accomplish your goals.

3. Give (when you can)

“Giving to other people is what makes me feel alive. Not my car or my house. Not What I look like in the mirror,” explains Morrie when talking about the best way to be part of a community. Morrie dives into something that everyone knows, but it’s tough to practice. This takeaway is a combination of the two above. Giving will allow you to age happily, while accepting yourself. Many people can feel ultimate happiness when they do something simple for others. Think of being a child on christmas when you finally got a gift for your parents — you more than likely felt anxious and excited to give it to them. This feeling never changes. When you find a way to give, your love and impact will live on, even long after you’re gone.

Our WalkWise blog generally speaks of aging tips, the population we serve, and our company updates. If you’re a caregiver, senior, or someone working in the senior care industry, I would bet you’re following these three takeaways rather closely. WalkWise continues to follow the journey that Morrie detailed so carefully and we hope that our ability to give seniors and their families a product that can truly help will be impactful.

One step at a time, WalkWise is trying to create a community, provide our technology to seniors and their families, and ultimately make change — long after we’re gone.

“Walking man’s best medicine” — Hippocrates 

By Nic Bordwell, Director of Marketing 

WalkWise Transparent Background Border

3 Lessons from "Tuesdays With Morrie"

April 16, 2020

When I joined the team at WalkWise, I was one month away from being a college graduate, 22 years old, and had never worked in-depth with a senior tech product or an older population. I quickly started reading and learning as much as I could about the senior technology industry, and luckily for me, I was able to do my research about mobility aids, aging, and much more when I was on the clock. The WalkWise team knew it was important for me to understand who we serve, even if it meant slowly learning and reading.

For my onboarding, I also had required reading; the book was “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.” by Atuwal Gawande. This book opened my eyes to not only aging, but end-of-life care and hospice as well. Working through the intricacies of end-of-life care is tough, and the decisions one must make can be life altering both positively and negatively.

After reading Being Mortal, I became a big fan of literature on aging and learning more about the population WalkWise serves.

This brings me to my most current read and a book that has taught me even more about aging — “Tuesdays With Morrie,” By Mitch Albom. This book takes the reader along a journey about aging, dealing with ALS, and accepting one’s self every step of the way. Below I will detail 3 lessons I took from this life altering book, “Tuesdays With Morrie.” Hopefully you find them as important as I did, and maybe, you will want to read the book as well.

1. Aging is natural and positive, find a goal, and reach it.

“As you grow, you learn more. Aging is not just decay… it’s growth,” Stated Morrie in one of the most memorable quotes of the whole book. As one ages, like all of us do, we find our way through life. If we didn’t age, we would remain stagnant and bettering ourselves or helping others would not be second nature. How many times have we been told when we were younger, “the world doesn’t revolve around you?” Almost everyone has heard this. The older one gets, the less we hear it. This is because as we age, we learn, we grow, and if possible we give (3rd lesson).

Through his battle with ALS, Morrie imparted wisdom that usually remains unspoken. “… If you have found the meaning of life… you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more.” Finding the meaning of life is different for everyone; it may be traveling to all 50 states, donating your time at a soup kitchen every Saturday, or simply being kind to everyone. Morrie describes aging as the pursuit of finding one’s meaning of life and being okay with growing older because growing older is one step closer to finding that meaning.

2. Self Acceptance

“Accept who you are; and revel in it,” Morrie says as he is reflecting on who he is as a person. When one accepts who they truly are, they can make the impact they would like to in this world.

Morrie challenges every person to be themselves and love the things that make someone uniquely them.

In a world where technology is so intertwined with our daily lives, it’s easier now than ever to demonstrate unique abilities. Strengths and weaknesses are considered unique and every human has something that sets them apart. Start a blog, a youtube channel, or even a social media page about your unique interests. Odds are, there are many people that have similar passions to yours and you will find a community that may help you accept yourself and accomplish your goals.

3. Give (when you can)

“Giving to other people is what makes me feel alive. Not my car or my house. Not What I look like in the mirror,” explains Morrie when talking about the best way to be part of a community. Morrie dives into something that everyone knows, but it’s tough to practice. This takeaway is a combination of the two above. Giving will allow you to age happily, while accepting yourself. Many people can feel ultimate happiness when they do something simple for others. Think of being a child on christmas when you finally got a gift for your parents — you more than likely felt anxious and excited to give it to them. This feeling never changes. When you find a way to give, your love and impact will live on, even long after you’re gone.

Our WalkWise blog generally speaks of aging tips, the population we serve, and our company updates. If you’re a caregiver, senior, or someone working in the senior care industry, I would bet you’re following these three takeaways rather closely. WalkWise continues to follow the journey that Morrie detailed so carefully and we hope that our ability to give seniors and their families a product that can truly help will be impactful.

One step at a time, WalkWise is trying to create a community, provide our technology to seniors and their families, and ultimately make change — long after we’re gone.

“Walking man’s best medicine” — Hippocrates 

By Nic Bordwell, Director of Marketing 

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Social isolation will kill (and save) seniors

Social isolation will kill (and save) seniors

April 8, 2020

Social distancing, isolation, and stay-at-home orders are slowing the spread of the coronavirus, saving the lives of many seniors who tend to be the most vulnerable to complications stemming from covid-19. Lost in the narrative, however, is the number of lives that will be lost due to social isolation of seniors.

Since starting WalkWise, I have heard too many stories about people being “found on the floor”. It has happened to my own family and friends. In one particularly terrible instance, a friend was found on the bathroom floor: two days after having fallen. Would she have survived if this had happened in April of 2020? I’m not so sure.

The problem with falls

Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury for older adults. In a 2008 study*, researchers found that in the event of a fall, 54% of people were found on the floor. About 4 of 5 falls happened while the senior was alone. About 30% of those who fell were on the floor for over an hour on at least one occasion. Some people in the study had emergency response pendants, however, in 80% of falls, people with pendants were unable (or refused) to call for help.

The problem with isolation​

These numbers should scare us, even in the best of times. Unfortunately, seniors are now more isolated than ever and the response time to falls will only increase. Imagine a person who typically attends bingo on Monday, goes to dinner with family on Wednesday, receives cleaning services on Thursday, visits a friend in a senior living community on Friday, and goes to church on Sunday. These are all opportunities for others to intervene, make a visit, or call a neighbor if they suspect anything is wrong. All these activities and visits have now gone away. What’s left?

Connected Social Isolation

We need technology more than ever. Phones can do wonders, but are we really going to call our loved ones five times a day for the foreseeable future? Pendants are helpful, but as the study showed, they are rarely effective. We need ways to understand their hour-by-hour activity, first to make sure they are safe, but also to make sure they are staying healthy and active while sheltering at home. Everyone is different: WalkWise has the solution for walker users. For a daily check-in app, check-out “Snug Safety”. A motion sensor may work for some others.

Whatever we do, we need to do it now, because the danger to older adults is higher than ever.

Peter Chamberlain

Founder & CEO, WalkWise

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*Fleming J, Brayne C. Inability to get up after falling, subsequent time on floor, and summoning help: prospective cohort study in people over 90. Bmj. 2008 Nov 17;337:a2227.

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“Dear Residents & Families…” – How Senior Living Communities Alert for Safety

“Dear Residents & Families…”
- How Senior Living Communities Alert for Safety

April 6, 2020

COVID-19 and its subsequent warnings have taken on a normalcy for many, but especially for those who reside within senior living communities. Visitors have been rightfully disallowed from these institutions and signs have been posted to inform and halt visitors from crossing the threshold. This is indeed the new normal of how senior care facilities operate to ensure the health and vitality of residents.

During my week, I access hundreds of websites for independent and assisted living communities. Interestingly, you can no longer cross a digital threshold without experiencing in some fashion a clickable banner alerting the webpage visitor that non-essential individuals cannot enter the facility. There is also a growing trend on senior care facility websites to initiate a pop-up window on the homepage when you first access the site. This is in direct correlation to how these communities are being subject to adverse events as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The alert needs to be bold and cooperation is parament.  

In a matter of two quick weeks, many communities have transitioned from an opt-in style of communication – where you are requested to click a link to see a COVID-19 response, to a more appropriate opt-out action – where you are required to ‘x’ off the warning pop-up to be able to see the website. Yes, this got my attention.

One example of this trend can be found on the website of SilverCrest in Minnesota. Their warning does include the standard recommendations from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Beyond the medical community’s recommended actions to prevent an outbreak, SilverCrest includes other necessary and creative means to enhance physical distancing, yet maintain connected social distancing to help with residents’ mental and emotional well-being. The following are examples from the pop-up on their homepage:

• We are actively working to prevent loneliness and social isolation and are developing creative solutions to ensure our residents remain connected and safe.

• Please reach out to the staff if you would like us to coordinate a FaceTime or Skype opportunity with your loved ones. We will do our best to accommodate all requests in a timely fashion

In a normal – non-pandemic – world, the above may fall to the obligation of the resident themselves or their loved ones; extra-curricular activity for already busy care providers. Staff have accepted the burden of extra care recommended by the CDC. However, our social connections never lose importance, even when physical distancing is necessary. It is prudent for communities like SilverCrest to go beyond direct physical care of its residents. We all long for the day when we can embrace our loved ones again, whether in a senior living community or at a family gathering. Until then, practice connected social distancing.

WalkWise, with its smart walker attachment, is proud to be one of these necessary and creative solutions that help our seniors “remain connected and safe”, like SilverCrest calls out on their homepage. Our technology allows for peace of mind to know your loved one is staying active (and safe). Like many other companies, we are here to help.

“Walking is man’s best medicine” – Hippocrates
By Aaron Lamb, Director of Business Development

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The Sandwich Generation

The Sandwich Generation

March 30, 2020

[Advertorial]

WalkWise loves seniors.

At WalkWise we love our seniors and often talk at length about the older adults who inspired our product, use our product, and help us do our job to the best of our ability.

Seniors have acquired knowledge that span decades and even centuries. Their experiences of failing, succeeding, and ultimately learning, help us gauge if our decisions in the present are wise (Get it? WalkWISE?).

But they’re not the only generation we think about.

Enter — The Sandwich Generation.

Until now, we have largely forgotten to talk about The Sandwich Generation. They are the group that is taking care of their aging parents, while also taking care of their (mostly) dependent children.

The sandwich generation is largely responsible for providing WalkWise to walker users. And yes, they are the economic decision-makers for many families. 

The Sandwich Generation Are Superhumans. ​

Between the ages of 40 and 59 (the average ages of the sandwich generation) you become superhuman. Unless you’ve been in the situation of raising a family, taking care of a parent, paying bills, going to work, cooking and cleaning, and largely being in charge of the family pet — you don’t understand what they’re going through. Being responsible for others with vastly different needs, spanning different generations, is extremely difficult. Do they have a time machine? An extra set of arms?  A money tree? No! They’re just downright superhuman. The sandwich generation selflessly takes care of others, worries less about their own needs, and always (mostly) keeps a smile on their faces.

Now that you know the attributes of the sandwich generation, you’re probably thinking “That’s my mom,” “That’s my uncle,” or “That’s ME!.”

Surely you must be saying, “That’s a ton of work, I wish more people would create products to help them out…”

walkwise superhero

Introducing — WalkWise. ​​

But, how does WalkWise help? We don’t want to bore you with the fact that we provide the only smart walker attachment on the market, or that we help prevent falls.

We just want you to know that WalkWise isn’t only for seniors— it’s also created for the sandwich generation. We send alerts if your loved one’s walker tips over, doesn’t move, or even moves too much at night (excessive bathroom use is one of the best ways to screen for a urinary tract infection).

We have a mobile app to track activity. Knowing they’re up and moving throughout the day is certainly a sigh of relief.

So, if you are part of the sandwich generation, or you know someone that is part of the sandwich generation, give yourself (or them) a high five!

Then, check out WalkWise. We’re here to help!


“Walking is man’s best medicine” – Hippocrates
By Nic Bordwell, Director of Marketing

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My grandma is healthy, but I’m worried about COVID-19

My grandma is healthy, but I’m worried about COVID-19

3.19.2020

[Advertorial]

My grandma is healthy but is 94 years old. She still lives at home and uses a walker to get around, which of course is equipped with WalkWise. She doesn’t notice the device, but I can use the app to see how much she is walking each day and use the weekly walking summaries to make sure she is maintaining her level of activity.

There have been two times in the last year when her activity has sharply declined. Each time she had a urinary tract infection which required her to go to the emergency room. Thankfully, she didn’t need to be hospitalized and slowly recovered. I monitored her recovery with the WalkWise app and saw her daily walking return to baseline.

I work in the healthcare field, so I will likely become infected with the Coronavirus in the near future. However, I will likely recover fully, even if it progresses into COVID-19. My grandma is relatively healthy given her age, but if she gets COVID-19, she may not recover. This is why I am “social distancing” and why I hope other people are too. Coronavirus has taken a lot away from me already: gatherings, celebrations, and travel have been postponed or cancelled. I pray that the measures we take today, help prevent the permanent loss of people we love.

My Grandma lives at home, which can be isolating even in the best of times. Like many of us, I’m sure she feels more isolated since this pandemic hit the US. We have communicated more via email and phone calls, and though I am reassured that she feels well, I am still concerned. She isn’t one to complain about things, including illness, until things are very serious. I have been checking the WalkWise app more often to monitor for signs of illness remotely, such as decreased activity. WalkWise has offered more information and reassurance in this time of uncertainty and chaos.

“The human capacity for burden is like bamboo- far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.”

― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

Guest blog written by: Shannon (Healthcare professional and WalkWise user)