Posted by: Laurence Harmon on 1/20/2010 | 0 Comments







The Healthsense eNeighbor system uses a set of battery-operated Wi-Fi sensors to monitor seniors’ daily living activities and wellness. 

Pressure sensors in beds detect when someone gets in or out of bed; motion sensors detect movement and inactivity; toilet sensors monitor usage; sensors on kitchen cupboards and refrigerator doors monitor eating habits; and door sensors detect when someone tries to leave the residence. 
The system uses algorithms to analyze the sensor data and determine whether the person needs assistance. Assistive prompts or alerts are issued by phone when the system concludes that help is needed. 
Here’s Brian Bischoff, president and CEO of Healthsense, discussing eNeighbor:
More and more families are telling us that the eNeighbor system has helped prolong the time that their loved ones with Alzheimer's or dementia are able to live at home with them.  This is a significant quality-of-life benefit not only for the caregivers but also for the patients, because once they are admitted to memory care, they permanently give up whatever remaining level of independence they may still enjoy. There are also important financial implications. The longer a patient's passage to higher acuity care can be postponed, the less costly it is for families, patients, providers and payors.


Posted by: Laurence Harmon on 1/15/2010 | 0 Comments

On January third, I wrote that major pharmaceutical companies—Eli Lilly, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, to name just three—purposely market their atypical antipsychotic medications for use in nursing homes, specifically to dose nursing home residents without dementia-related psychosis.  The "off-label" marketing of these dangerous drugs chemically controls residents--you'll see them strapped into their wheelchairs, helpless and unattended, drug-addled, seemingly comatose.

The blog ( attracted a lot of attention, most of it negative.  Here’s an example, written by a nursing home aide, who fumed, “I have worked in senior housing for the past 10 years, started as an aide and worked my way up. I am disgusted by the way you and other critics like you bash nursing homes. . . . As far as risperadol (sic) and the like it can truly be a godsend to the resedent (sic). Those kinds of drugs are administered as a last resort. . . We do not medicate them to keep them quiet, thats rediculous (sic).
I’d followed a trial last year that involved a claim by a Johnson & Johnson employee that she’d been fired for complaining about the firm’s “off-label” marketing of Risperdal. The trial testimony indicated that Johnson & Johnson had advised doctors to prescribe the drug to children and patients with bipolar disorder (
But I’ll admit that I was completely unprepared for today’s headline, less than two weeks after my original post: J&J Nursing Home Kickback Scheme Tripled Risperdal Sales, (Department of Justice) Alleges.” 
The lawsuit claims that Johnson & Johnson paid tens of millions of dollars to “Omicare,” a firm that jumped Risperdal and other drugs to the top of its prescribing lists. As a result, “Omnicare’s annual purchases of J&J drugs increased from approximately $100 million to over $280 million, with annual purchases of Risperdal alone rising to over $100 million.”
If the alleged kickback scheme wasn’t enough, how about this: according to the suit, Omnicare initiated “ReView,” described as a  “health management” program to identify nursing home patients for whom additional drugs could be prescribed. The suit states:
 “In a memorandum to Omnicare’s Chief Executive Officer, Omnicare’s Senior Vice President of Professional Services and Purchasing referred to the ReView program as the ‘one extra (prescription) per patient (ReView) program.”
Critics are claiming that ReView might be responsible for the 67 different drugs that one Omnicare patient received from the company. (Source:
Posted by: Laurence Harmon on 1/11/2010 | 2 Comments

The researchers at Pew released a report on "Older Americans and the Internet" in 2004, which found that 22 percent of seniors go online. More recent data show that 35 percent of seniors now use the Internet.

E-mail is the top motivation for getting up to speed. Health information, checking the retirement account, and genealogical research are next in line. Seniors, rather poignantly, look up more spiritual and religious information than the younger demographics.

What's striking about old people on the Internet is they seem to be having fun on there. The Internet is not work, nor is it networking, nor someplace to brand yourself.

Seniors often do the amateurish, experimental things that made the Web so interesting in the first place, like, say, lip-synching to "Chiquita Banana."  


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