Featured Story

Richard’s Almanac: Getting a new bus

Courtesy Photo
Over 75 people were at the Senior Citizen Center’s fundraiser at the Osprey Lounge last Friday to raise funds to purchase a new bus.

More than 75 people showed up to support the Senior Citizen Center’s fundraiser at the Osprey Lounge last Friday. The Center is raising money for a new bus to replace the existing one, which breaks down frequently, according to director Laurie Fanelli.

The event was attended by some seniors and not-so-senior citizens who also enjoyed the hors d’oeuvres provided by the hotel and the music performed by Isabel Alvarez and Sarah Mundy, who is the Senior Center’s assistant to the director. Sarah and Isabel call themselves the Island Bells and play at numerous venues.

Tom Spotteck, who is the head winemaker at Lenz Vineyard, had a variety of whites, blushes and reds for the guests to sample. The Senior Citizens Foundation contributed to the cost of the wines. There were several baskets available at the chinese auction, in addition to a huge plant arrangement. The final count is not in but Laurie Fanelli told me that she felt that the event was a big success. “We’re getting closer and closer to the new bus,” she said. I understand that the new vehicle will cost somewhere around $75-80,000 and I know that the foundation will also contribute towards it.

On another subject, I recently received some information about how technology can help our aging population. We’re all getting older and make up a significant part of the population in need of regular medical care. According to Mary Gorder in “Today’s Geriatric Medicine,” by the year 2030 one in five residents of the United States will be of retirement age.

In her recent article, “Poised for a Breakthrough,” she says, “Technology is widening the door to a better future and with the innovations, the healthcare system is set to greatly transform the way we care for today’s aging population.”

There are many virtual assistants that allow older adults to remain independent for a longer period of time. Systems like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Echo are starting the trend, according to Gorder. She notes that “on the horizon are voice recognition platforms” that will humanize contacts. Remote patient monitoring will be available for those with mobility issues. 

“This type of technology can remotely supervise and diagnose elderly patients’ health from a distance,” she says. Telehealth is remote medical care using communication devices like laptops, phones and tablets. These allow the elderly to receive faster health care, which “ultimately improves patient outcomes.” She then goes on to explain how carefully controlled virtual reality systems can help treat brain disorders like Alzheimer’s.

Finally, the author sees “predictive analytics” as having the ability to prevent health crises in seniors. “Ending the constant cycle of hospital admissions and readmissions limits patients’ long-term exposure to germs and illnesses,” she explained.

Because we’re all concerned with adequate healthcare here on this Island and we know that it is in a state of flux, becoming more informed about this medical technology seems very important. Our population here is much more top heavy with senior citizens than the rest of the country.