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An App for the Long Distance Bedtime Story – AARP

Many of my friends’ grandchildren live far away from them.  They lament over coffee about how much they miss the little tykes and wish they could be more involved in their lives.   They use Skype and Facetime to talk on the phone with them, but they often bemoan the fact they can’t read books to the little ones more often.

If you and your kids or grandkids own an Apple device, the force of your voice can be with them.

via An App for the Long Distance Bedtime Story – AARP.


Caregiver website helps friends lend helping hands

Just the other day, I was talking with my friend Joan who was recently diagnosed with cancer.  At 60, she works part-time and also manages the upkeep of her suburban home.  Her husband, Bill, 65, a self-employed professional, runs a small company.

The cancer diagnosis numbed them.  They both focused on her treatment and getting her well again. But she worried more about him than she did about herself.   The doctors would take care of her—but who would take care of him?

Joan’s friends and neighbors were rallying to help the couple, but their requests soon became overwhelming.  Offers to drive her to chemotherapy, deliver dinners, and go grocery shopping were pouring in, but she was too tired and too sick to manage a schedule.  And her husband Bill, who now had the role of caregiver, was beleaguered by what to do with all of the offers.

Then Joan learned about, a website for caregivers.  She knew her husband wouldn’t want to manage the tasks.  However, she saw there was an option for others to “run the community”, so she sent her sister an email and asked her to be the “community coordinator”.  The website did the rest, and everything else fell into place.

 Lotsa Helping Hands™ is  a simple, web-based portal that allows friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to assist loved ones in need.  It’s an easy-to-use, private group calendar, specifically designed for organizing helpers.  It provides a space where everyone can pitch in with meals delivery, rides, and other tasks necessary for life to run smoothly during times of medical crisis, end-of-life caring, or family caregiver exhaustion. It’s also a place to keep these “circles of community” informed with status updates, photo galleries, message boards, and more.

There are so many terrific options and ways to personalize the site that they all can’t be explained in one review, so here are some highlights.  It is all done through email, so the caregiver should have the Community Coordinator’s email handy to pass out to volunteers.

Lotsa Helping Hands:

  • Can be private.  Even though it’s a website, users can create a private community, where only people the Coordinator invite can be members and sign up for tasks.
  • Has a wonderful calendar.  It’s easy to use, offers step by step instructions for everyone within the community.  This superb design is totally streamlined and seamless.
  • Includes disease specific support groups.  The site partners with more than 50 of the nation’s non-profit organizations, so caregiver support group information is at the users’ fingertips.
  • Contains a comprehensive Resources and Help sections with simple directions to assist members with their caregiving questions and site navigation.

So if you are a caregiver, Lotsa Helping Hands is a great tool for your tool kit.  If you know a caregiver, it’s a great free gift to bestow upon that person.  And if you’re like me, who just hasn’t arrived at the caregiver role yet, Lotsa Helping Hands is a site to be placed in your important papers file.

Making your website better |

In business, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, and your company’s website is no different. When customers arrive at your site they should instantly have a clear understanding of who you are and what you do. But statistics show that many small-business websites lack the basics, which puts them at risk of losing a customer with just one click.

via 5 Things That Belong on the Front Page of Your Website |

10 Best Slimming Foods – they’re low tech but worthy

Looking for a miracle diet food? It’s time to call off the search — there’s no such thing. “If you take in more calories than you expend, you gain weight,” says David Katz, M.D., of the Yale Prevention Research Center in Derby, Connecticut. “It’s simple biology, and no milkshake or mackerel can save you from that fate.”

But before you throw in the towel, there are certain foods that promote satiety (the feeling of fullness that comes after a meal)

via 10 Best Slimming Foods – Weight Center – Everyday Health.

MedCoach is welcome in our app house

My husband and I are in a love triangle and it’s making our relationship healthier.  The dude (that’s what we call it) is a little intrusive, but that’s what makes him so important in our lives.

He is fondly referred to as Mr. MedCoach, in our house, and he sends us instant messages on our smartphones when it’s time to take our meds.

Ok, full disclosure—“he” really isn’t a “he” but rather a terrific new app we’ve embraced called, MedCoach

Every night at 6:30 p.m., then again at 9:30 and 10 p.m., my husband gets a text message from MedCoach reminding him it’s time to take a certain medication.  Prior to having “the dude” in our lives, we would be watching TV or reading, and the 9:30 p.m. time would slip by us.  This caused him a lot of aggravation, as his med schedule was thrown off.

Not anymore.  As long as he has his phone by his side, he gets the gentle text reminder.  It’s been great!

MedCoach, designed by GreatCall, the folks that brought us the Jitterbug phone, is an app for iPhones and Androids that makes medication management easy.  This great little app allows you to enter all of your medications, including supplements.

Here’s how it works:

  • First you enter your medications from a huge list that’s provided.  You can even photograph each pill if you want and the picture is displayed next to the medication name.
  • You enter the dosages and the time of day you want to be reminded to take the pill. You can enter as many different times as you want.
  • Then at the appointed time, you get a text message telling you it’s time to take your meds.  It’s that simple.
  • Once you take the pill you touch “just taken”, “took as shown” or “skip” on the screen.

There are other great features that include a refill reminder log, a pharmacy information page, a doctor’s contact list and an easy to find customer support page.

Another neat feature is the help bubble.  No matter what screen you are on, if you have a question about its navigation, just shake your phone and a help bubble will appear with more detailed operating instructions.  Because the app is so easy to read and navigate, the added help seems to always answer the impending question.

And to be sure you’re taking all the meds you scheduled, a red circle with a white number, indicating of all of the meds you may have missed, appears on the front of the icon on your phone, and inside of the app.   It makes medicine adherence easier, which can make life easier.

Like I said, Mr. MedCoach is a welcome addition into our home.

This post originally appeared on


Simple and Secure Sites Keep Boomers Happy | UX Magazine

As a Baby Boomer who is seriously interested in technology, I can’t figure out why more website developers and designers aren’t addressing the special needs of my cohort. Statistics show that Boomers have more disposable income than any other group. In fact, we were the largest band of tablet buyers last holiday season.

It stands to reason that developers who want to “follow the money” are racing toward Boomers. But they need to be aware that designs that work for Millenials just don’t cut it for us.

via Simple and Secure Sites Keep Boomers Happy | UX Magazine.

Younger Boomers: a perfect fit for health and wellness apps

As health insurers roll out new mobile apps integrating wellness, fitness, and chronic disease control, younger Baby Boomers make the perfect target market.

Our firm, MitchellPR, recently conducted a national online survey of 600 Boomer smartphone users and the results show that younger, female, Boomers are much more likely than their older counterparts to download health and wellness apps.

We found:

A solid majority of 48-53-year olds (54%) will download a wellness app, compared to less than half of those 54-60 (46%) and just four-in-ten of 61-66 year olds (39%).

Women (52%) are 11% more likely than men (41%) to download a health and fitness app on their smartphones.

In addition, Northeasterners are more likely to download the apps than Boomers from other regions.  Generally, the higher the income, the more likely it is that a Boomer will download a health and fitness app.

In fact, younger Boomers are extremely connected on their mobile devices, the survey concluded.

By a 20% margin, younger Boomers between ages 48-53 (62%) are more likely to log into Facebook from their smartphone than older Boomers 61-66 (42%).

Text messaging is also very popular with Boomers, nine-out-ten (88%) do it.  But again, that number is skewed toward younger Boomers.  The survey showed nearly every younger Boomer texts compared to three-of-four older Boomers.   And Boomers who text, really like it, with 52% texting one to five times a day, 20% six to 10 times a day, and 16% more than 10 times every day.

Recently, eMarketer released a report that says that Baby Boomers are less likely to be digitally connected than Millenials.  While this is certainly true when looking at the cohort as a whole, when it is broken down into segments—young Boomer vs. older Boomer, the results are staggering.  Younger Boomers are increasing their mobile usage daily, producing a rapidly growing marketplace.

What is troubling, however, is the resistance of older Boomers to be digitally connected.  The group that needs help the most is missing out on terrific apps to help them manage chronic disease.  Although I’ve heard several Boomers say they don’t have the dexterity to navigate the smartphone mobile apps, I find that to be a weak argument.  They seem to be able to operate from a tablet very easily.

And as the Pew Internet & American Life Project  report indicates, nearly the same percentage of Boomers (3.5%) own tablets as do younger generations (5%).  However, this Pew survey taken in 2010, does not reflect the huge increase in Boomer tablet purchases that was reported in December 2011. Walk in an Apple store and take notice of the number of Boomers with iPads in hand or surrounding tables taking classes.

The takeaway

Older Boomers health and wellness, and their prevention of chronic disease, could benefit greatly if they were more connected to digital monitoring apps.  Our survey showed that a solid majority of Boomers of all ages (57%) was likely to download a medical or wellness app if they were diagnosed with a chronic disease and their doctor or family member recommended it.  Therefore, it’s beneficial to all to target health apps to Boomers.  There’s an untapped market that would use the health care apps if the right people encouraged them to do so, and if they are taught to navigate the programs.

Doctors need to step it up and encourage Boomer patients to download and use the health care apps.  If they don’t already own a tablet, trends show they will be purchasing one soon.


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