New Technology Drives Therapies For Older Patients, Those With Alzheimer's

Technology advances are making life better for the elderly and those with Alzheimer's disease by allowing the older to stay in their homes and giving the ill a way to interact with society again.

Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with The Washington Post, reports on "high-tech but simple devices" that are giving older people a better chance at independence later in life as pilot projects in homes and retirement communities see if these approaches can lead to improved at-home patient monitoring. "The goal is to help control problems before they escalate and cut back on the need for costly long-term care and hospital admissions — especially repeat hospital visits for chronic conditions. … The hope is that by closely monitoring patients at home, some of these (major health) events can be avoided or managed better" (Olson, 11/17).

In other technology news, The Wall Street Journal reports that using music therapy with MP3 players such as iPods allows stroke victims or patients with Alzheimer's to better interact with others. "Caregivers have observed for decades that Alzheimer's patients can still remember and sing songs long after they've stopped recognizing names and faces. … (T)here's growing evidence that listening to music can also help stimulate seemingly lost memories and even help restore some cognitive function." Music can also help infants gain weight, the autistic communicate, stroke patients regain speech and motor function and also help many others' conditions improve (Beck, 11/16).

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