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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

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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

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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

WalkWise Transparent Background Border

*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) 

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Maintaining the Capacity for Basic Physical Independence

Maintaining the Capacity for Basic Physical Independence

March 4, 2020

Older adult care in our modern era – rife with technological advancement and perpetual medical breakthrough – lacks the multigenerational systems of care from yesteryear. The family then was indeed the core of care. Older adults were not left to cope with the infirmities of age on their own. The mindset of the West carries our independent spirit well into our declining years. What we desire in old age is what we so readily sought in our youth, independence.

Surgeon and Harvard Medical School Professor Atul Gawande wrote in his New York Times bestseller, Being Mortal, about the striking dichotomy between being an older adult surrounded by family and being one within the confines of institutions like senior living centers and nursing homes. Gawande highlights the formal classification for levels of function a person has as adhered to by health professionals. Known as the eight “Activities of Daily Living”, the ability to perform the following have direct ramifications on the quality of one’s life:

  1. Use the toilet 
  2. Eat 
  3. Dress 
  4. Bathe 
  5. Groom 
  6. Get out of bed 
  7. Get out of a chair 
  8. Walk

If the above activities are not able to be accomplished without help, you are lacking the capacity for basic physical independence. This need not mean you are disabled, but most people agree that they would like to continue performing these tasks independently for as long as possible.
Mobility and Independence, A special health report from the Harvard Medical School, astutely promotes deliberate maintenance and safeguarding of our independence. This is no less important in our older years. This report stresses the pride and joy we experience by doing things on our own. It states, “The ability to rely on our own body, skills, and mental agility is a crucial part of a satisfying life.”

One of these is walking. Yes, aging may take its toll on an older adult’s ability to spring into action. However, when it comes to mobility, the single most important thing an individual can do is to stay physically active. Within the Harvard Medical School report, it highlights that staying active keeps your joints limber, strengthen core muscles, and helps avoid backpain. Let’s not forget about the importance of maintaining a sense of balance.

When mobility is compromised, the use of a cane or walker can be nearly as advantageous to maintain frequent mobility. Older adults may lose full capacity to move on command. However, they should not lose the ability to maintain the capacity of physical independence.

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

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7 Tips To Age In Place

7 Tips to Age in Place

January 30, 2020

[Advertorial]

Aging in place — a term that generally means staying in one’s home or position of comfort for the rest of their life. The term tends to be anti-nursing home, and pro senior living. Aging in place has not only been recently popularized, but with 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, many strive to make this reality their own.

If you or a loved one feel aging in place fits your desired lifestyle, here are 7 tips that can help make this dream become reality.

1. Simple home modifications

Some simple home modifications can make aging in place easier. We understand that sometimes modifying one’s home may be outside of financial means, but in a previous blog we lay out a few low-cost solutions that make day-to-day living more simple.

Clearing paths from room to room, modifying/discarding throw rugs, and adding nightlights through hallways and bedrooms are just a few tips covered.

2. Organize

Make sure to reorganize your home so you can access necessary tools and items instantly. Clear out your storage room or closet that may have cluttered over the years. (Invite family and friends to come help you accomplish this daunting task!)

Here’s an idea: Have a rummage sale! Rummage sales allow your least utilized items to be utilized by someone else, and it clears your home of unwanted clutter.

3. Exercise

Keeping up with your exercise can positively impact your life, not only physically but mentally as well. According to familydoctor.org, most adults 65+ should get about 2.5 hours of aerobic exercise a week (i.e. brisk walking). This adds up to about 22 minutes a day and can be done outside, on a treadmill, or at a facility with an indoor track.

Many people are worried that losing strength may inhibit their ability to stay at home. If you continue to exercise and build strength, it can help you maintain your physical ability to age in place for years to come.

Tip: Try to find a friend that is willing to exercise with you; it’s always more fun to have conversation while working out!

4. Eat healthy

We all know eating well can have major health benefits. Pass on the fast food and set forth a simple meal prepping plan every week. With a little bit of work on a Sunday night, you can have all of your lunches ready to go. Minimize your consumption of red meat and substitute with poultry or fish. Try to keep your meals to only one plate or bowl and don’t forget to drink lots of water! A healthy diet can maintain your ability to age in place by reducing health issues and ultimately helping you feel better. (Of course, we know life is about balance, so please don’t always pass on dessert — just sometimes!)

5. Remain active in your community

Find groups and clubs to join! Many communities have weekly meetups for almost any activity you can imagine. Knitting, running, biking, bible study, you name it, they have it. This is a great opportunity to meet new people and maintain your social life! Not to mention, it’s fun being part of a group. Social isolation is an issue for many people aging in place, and if you find a community of people with similar interests, loneliness can be combated.

Food for thought — Try a new activity that has always interested you: talents can be found at any age!

6. Utilize Technology

Technology has become a major part of everyone’s lives, for example, according to the Pew Research Center, 93% of people aged 65+ own a cellphone. Technology can unlock new communication with family members, allow you to stream movies, and even track your fitness.

Shameless plug — If you use a walker, one technology that is built specifically for you is the WalkWise smart walker attachment. When family members and caregivers have tools like WalkWise, they are more likely to see aging at home as a viable option. Learn more about WalkWise here.

7. Visit your doctor

Don’t forget to visit your doctor! Yearly checkups are massively important for everyone’s health: and you’re no different. Make sure to have a doctor or nurse that you feel comfortable calling in case anything unusual may happen. Regular checkups with your dentist and optometrist are extremely important as well. Being active in your own health will maximize your ability to age in place.

Aging in place is a wonderful goal, and many people can achieve it with a few simple changes. Though we know this is not a comprehensive list, these 7 tips are a good start to making your dream a reality.

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WalkWise is the first ND company selected for Techstars accelerator program.

WalkWise is the first ND company selected for Techstars accelerator program.

September 13, 2019

WalkWise is the first North Dakota company selected to take part in a Techstars Accelerator Program and will join a group of startups with a combined market cap of $22B. The Minneapolis Techstars program runs until December in partnership with United Healthcare, the world’s largest healthcare company.

For the next three months the Fargo startup will be working with a curated group of world class business leaders and entrepreneurs to help grow their business, gain traction, and develop strategic partnerships. “We couldn’t be more excited to be part of the UnitedHealthcare Techstars Accelerator. This is an important step for our company as we advance our mission of helping seniors and families throughout the country. We are grateful to the customers who have already adopted WalkWise and the organizations that have supported us along our journey,” stated Founder & CEO Peter Chamberlain (MIT ’16). Marketing Manager Nic Bordwell (MSUM ’19) and Account Executive Jordan Risher (MSUM ’13) will be a part of the WalkWise team heading to Minneapolis for the accelerator program.

Chamberlain credits the support of the Fargo community and organizations like Emerging Prairie for making it possible to start a technology company in North Dakota. WalkWise is the only company in this year’s program from outside a major metro area.

Techstars is one of the largest and most exclusive accelerators in the world, with graduates such as PillPack (recently acquired by Amazon for $1B) and Owlet Baby Care. According to Techstars, they have invested in 1,900 companies that have gone on to raise a total of $7.6B in funding. WalkWise will also be able to utilize their powerful worldwide network for future challenges after graduating from the program.

WalkWise uses simple and discrete technologies to help seniors maintain their independence, provide peace of mind to families, and improve the offerings of senior living communities. Their smart walker attachment tracks activity and fitness levels while also alerting families and caregivers to possible emergencies. Machine-learning algorithms running in the cloud can also help screen for infections. With monthly reports on walking activity, seniors can finally take pride in their walker and their mobility.

Longtime customer Jim Sweeney has been using WalkWise since 2018. “After installing the WalkWise system on my mother’s walker, it has become a routine conversation starter… ‘I see you walked almost a mile today!’ or ‘how is your day going?’ after seeing a limited amount of walking. The app allows multiple family members to track her activity, which provides peace of mind when we can’t be there personally on a daily basis. I would not want to be without WalkWise going forward.”

Founded in 2016, WalkWise uses their smart walker attachment to keep people safe and independent, no matter where they call home.