Ecumen, Minnesota’s largest nonprofit senior
housing, services and development company,
says QuietCare is installed in all of their
assisted-living communities and many independent homes.
“We know that we have been able to get
an early diagnosis of prostate cancer many
times because the sensors see a shift in data
[such as an increase in nighttime bathroom
use] and we get people into health care,” she
says. “We’re eliminating a medical crisis, keeping people healthier, more independent, and
it’s simply because of technology.”
Roberts, a Costco member, says the day is
not far off when a toothbrush will include
sensors to track a diabetic’s insulin levels
or cellphones will be able to monitor similar
vital signs and relay information directly to
physicians or pharmacists.
“There are assistive technologies that are
ready to be brought to the marketplace that
all of us will be looking for to keep us healthier and more independent,” she says.
Moreover, the generation that grew up
watching the space-age cartoon The Jetsons
finally may see futuristic technology leap
from the television screen to inside their
homes. Marshall Brain, founder of the award-winning Web site HowStuff Works.com, says
everything from a feeding robot named My
Spoon to a bathing robot that works a “bit like
a dishwasher for people” soon could be on
“You have so many different areas that
potentially can be touched by robotics,” Brain
says. “Over the next 10 years, you could see
tion and medication side effects can all
cause short-term bladder weakness. Childbirth, car accidents or surgical procedures
can sometimes result in long-term bladder
weakness. Birth defects, progressive illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and
other chronic conditions may require ongoing management of bladder weakness.
Prostate problems and the treatments
required to correct them are the most frequent causes of bladder weakness in men.
And, as if that weren’t enough, it is, apparently, fairly common to have more than
one type of symptom.
The good news is that bladder weakness is often easily treated and managed
through exercises and/or medication. The
a real explosion in all these different areas
that change the face of elder care in a dynamic way.”
These steps forward will continue to
ignite the “aging in place” movement, which
aims to allow people to live at home and
remain independent longer. Yet none of
these breakthroughs will mitigate the need
to have in place the legal documents—
durable power of attorney, health-care power
of attorney, living will and insurance company authorization to disclose information—required for family members and
caregivers to make decisions for elders if
necessary as they age.
“I feel very strongly that everyone
should think about the next step, what lies
ahead,” says Virginia Morris, Costco member and author of How to Care for Aging
Parents. “The important thing is not just
signing [advance directives] but discussing
them. A piece of paper doesn’t really do
a whole lot when you are trying to make
life-or-death decisions. Talking about it is
While aging does necessitate preparing
for the end of life, technological advances are
ensuring that people will live not only longer
but also more fully and independently in the
coming decade. C
Andrea Downing Peck is a freelance writer
living on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
She is a contributing editor to Military Spouse
magazine. Her work also has appeared in
numerous travel and lifestyle publications.
first recommendation is to visit a doctor or
nurse, who will be used to talking about it
(without giggling) and will be able to advise
“There are assis-
that are ready to
be brought to the
all of us will be
looking for to
keep us healthier
CEO and president
on a suitable course of action.
You can help your doctor make an accurate assessment by completing a urine-voiding diary for seven days before your
visit. Also, make a list of any prescription
and over-the-counter medications you’re
taking and let your doctor know of any
family history, accidents and injuries that
might be contributing to the problem. C
The Costco Connection
Costco warehouses carry a variety of products for adult incontinence, including
prescription and over-the-counter aids, as
well as absorbent adult undergarments.
Check with your Costco pharmacist.