aging in place | boomers | home technology | accessibility | sandwich generation | robot helpers | universal design | digital healthcare | telecare | lifestyle | mobile tech | personal emergency response systems | home mods - Helping you AIP in your home, your way.

AIP Bulletin February 2011
Age in Place at home - it's where you want to be.

Quote of the Month
 "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." 
Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss

HAL: Hybrid Assistive Limb
The Full HAL robotic suit

More feedback back on The Community is Walkable, Are You? prompted this look at Exoskeletons in general and the 'HAL Robot Suit' specifically.

HAL is the "Hybrid Assistive Limb" and, what makes HAL special is that is a "voluntary control system" as well as a "robotic autonomous control system." And why is that special you ask?

When a person tries to move, nerve signals are sent from the brain to the muscles by a motoneuron which results in movement. The surface of the skin gives off faint biosignals. HAL can pick up on these signals via a sensor attached to the skin and then can move the joint at the same time as the muscle movement. HAL gets the wearer's intention. This is the voluntary control system.

Now, when you add in the 'autonomous control system' you have human-like movement. HAL has a database of small movements (which is continuously updated from the suit wearer) and puts these movements together to coordinate a smoothSee HAL in action at CES 2011 motion with the power units.

More than a decade in the works HAL is a product of the Japanese company Cyberdyne. Patient trials are underway in Japan and they rent the device to hospitals & clinics for about $1,500 per month. Click here to watch the first person in the United States to try out HAL.



Alward Construction Company 510.527.6498 Berkeley, CA Alward Construction | Berkeley, California | 510.527.6498

AIP Pro Tip: It's All About Space

One of the biggest challenges to designing for aging-in-place is the use of space - or rather, lack of it. This is especially true with the bathroom. Many older homes have very tiny bathrooms which makes it difficult to use a wheelchair or walker to get in and out of the bathroom.

"We often see bathrooms that have doors which open right against the toilet making it impossible to use a walker in the bathroom," says Adam Fine of Accessible Design & Consulting.

Pocket Doors create a larger opening to a space.

A great solution is to replace the door and adjacent wall with a "pocket door" which slides in and out of the wall. The entire wall becomes a sliding door and creates a larger opening to the bathroom allowing plenty of space for going in and out.

This larger opening aids caregivers and users, especially those that require a wheelchair or walker for getting around their home. The pocket door creates space where there wasn't any before.

If there isn't enough wall space to create a pocket door, the next best alternative to creating space is to reverse the door so that it opens to the outside instead ofAdam Fine, Accessible Design & Consulting the inside of the bathroom. Swing-Away Door Hinges are another great way to add space. They are very inexpensive and can add up to 2-inches to the doorway opening.

Adam Fine is the founder and president of Accessible Design & Consulting, Inc. specializing in residential & commercial accessibility assessment, ADA consulting, and Accessible project management.

Click here to learn more about Accessible Design & Consulting.


fun factoid

When American adults were asked if they would most want to be richer, thinner, smarter, or younger, 43% professed that they would want to be richer, 21% would like to be thinner, 14% said smarter and 12% said younger.
Harris Poll 09.2010

AIPatHome Featured Product from firstSTREET*

TV Ears 2TV Ears® 2

With the new Television Audio Processing (TAP), TV Ears® 2 dramatically enhances regular dialogue and brings hard-to-hear voices and whispers above the program's background noises so they'll stand out. Boasting a maximum volume of 120dB -- almost three times that of other headsets -- TV Ears® 2 helps you hear every word clearly!

Click here for purchasing information.

The Original Dialogue Speaker

Also check out The Original Dialogue™ Speaker a wireless TV sound system that allows you to position the speakers for optimal personal listening.

 * is a firstSTREET affiliate.

UPDATE: The Nursing Home Alternative?

Since this appeared in our last Bulletin we received a call from Kenneth Dupin, Founder andMedCottage CEO of N2Care and developers of the MedCottage.

In response to our questioning the $2,000 a month cost of leasing the MedCottage, Rev. Dupin stated that the cost is not just about leasing a fairly simple building. The MedCottage is loaded with leading edge technology, from a hospital quality air filtration system to a wide range of communications, building & personal monitoring systems. It even has a state of the industry energy absorbing floor system that dramatically reduces the impact of falls on the occupant.

We appreciate the clarification and look forward to receiving more information about the MedCottage as they produce their first true production unit this month.

Talk Back

Re: The Community is Walkable, Are You?

The UK produces or purchases nearly two-thirds of the world's stair lifts. It may be because the UK is a small island with a lack of building space, causing builders to produce houses which have 2 or 3 floors and which have lots of stairs. Stair-lifts help people who lack the mobilty to get upstairs to manage on their own. It improves their independence but, necessarily, it does little for them when they go out, because they can't take the stair-lift with them. When they no longer need it, the stair-lift is also an ugly reminder of the way things used to be - and people spend a lot of money taking them out to restore their property to the way it should be. Exoskeletons and electromechanical devices that help people to walk can completely replace stair lifts because they are everything that stair lifts are not. Stair lifts are expensive and always have been but exoskeletons are currently unaffordable. Mass production and reasonable prices must follow so that people with arthritis and other problems that limit their mobility can take advantage before it is too late.

Dr. Kevin Doughty
CUHTEC: Center for Usable Home Technology

Editor's Note: Dr. Doughty is a valued Advisor to

Re: Health, Caregiving And The Use Of Mobile Technology

Great article -- it's encouraging to see studies like this and a big player like AARP getting involved with promoting aging and technology. AARP recently joined the Aging Technology Alliance: AGETEK, which is great news for our industry! The trouble is that our aging population mostly can agree that they want to stay at home and would use technology to do so. The sticking point is that there is a fuzzy line as to WHEN they need to use technology to enable independence. Many are still in a crisis mgmt mode and wait until there is an emergency to start looking into solutions.

We want individuals to look into technologies like GrandCare, BEFORE they need it. In other words, technologies like this can proactively help a person to stay home and perhaps give caregivers more information about how that person is doing. Perhaps even before they show outward symptoms, there could be some indication all is not right so a change can be made before crisis occurs!

Still - encouraging, we need to shift the thinking to technology being used to enable everyone (as I use it every day to wake up, remind me to take my vitamins, turn lights off after I leave home, etc).


Laura from GrandCare Systems

Editor's Note: Several years ago AIPatHome began as "TeleHome Companion" and our purpose was to help get people comfortable with technology as a 'normal' part of their lifestyle. People weren't quite ready for that then -- it seemed cold and institutional. So, we changed the name to "AIPatHome" and put more emphasis on Universal Design and creating an age-friendly home environment to help bridge the cultural gap. It's exciting to see that gap closing and technology more accepted.

Talk With Us

Your rants, raves, suggestions and stories are always welcome...especially the raves! Seriously, tell us what we can do to help you age-in-place, in your home, your way. Send your comments to
Join us: Like AIPatHome on FaceBook Join AIPatHome on Twitter.  

Home     Blog     Home Modifications     Universal Design    AIP Professionals     Showcases
AIP Tech Center      AIP Business Pages      Partners     Advisors    About Us  

Thank you for reading the AIPatHome Bulletin. We welcome, appreciate and encourage forwarding of our Bulletin, in entirety or in part, with proper credit. 
Lysa McCarroll, Publisher

Click here to get your own subscription to the Bulletin

This is email is intended for: (email). You are receiving this Bulletin because you either subscribed at one of our websites or you subscribed with a third party. We sincerely hope you enjoyed receiving this Bulletin, but if you received it in error, or if you no longer wish to get it, then click here to be instantly removed. And we'll be instantly sad. :-( has affiliate relationships with the following companies: firstSTREET, Best Buy: Buy Online, Pickup in Your Local Best Buy® Store, AIPatHome's Products for Smart Living