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Bright Ideas to Keep You Healthy

Yes, the talking companion dog stole the show at the Healthy Aging Forum on Capitol Hill May 23 (you can meet him in the video below), but there were plenty of other ideas on display from government agencies, big health care companies, foundations and entrepreneurs about improving the lives of America's aging population. If the turnout was a bit underwhelming, the products, services and innovations on display had the power to change lives in ways both big and small.

Sponsored by the Senate Special Committee on Aging, the fair brought together about two dozen groups - ranging from the Alzheimer's Foundation to the SilverSneakers (you can seen them at work in the video above, promoting healthy and appropriate exercise) - for a three hour demonstration of their wares. AARP and the AARP Foundation were among those presenting.


Dr. Stephen Axelrod demonstrated his tabsafe medication dispenser (at left). You load the gizmo with pills, and it makes sure you take them on schedule. It has a lot of ways to remind you, and your loved ones, if medications are missed or if you don't respond in a predictable way to its electronic signals. Microsoft and its Kinect were in the house; so was Wii. The National Institutes of Health promoted a major summit, scheduled for October, where they'll bring together 50 top researchers to explore the connections between aging and chronic disease. And Christy Carter, an assistant professor at the University of Florida, described an ongoing project coordinated by its Institute on Aging, involving 1,600 older adults to determine whether physical activity or health education can prevent or delay major physical and cognitive  problems among those at risk. Listen to an interview with Carter below:

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging presented its policy priorities, appropriately for a Capitol Hill event. "Tight budgets," they write in their brochure, "demand wise investment." Their plea? "Deficit reduction must not be used as an excuse to undermine the very programs that keep our nation's older adults from falling into poverty, suffering ill health or otherwise struggling to live independently and with dignity."


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