The Glamorous Grandmas of Instagram

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On Accidental Icon, her influential Instagram account, she tends to vamp in an eye-catching mash-up of Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto and consignment store finds. Her following, hundreds of thousands strong, skews young, she said, and is responsive to her sass.

“I flaunt it,” she said. “I’m not 20. I don’t want to be 20, but I’m really freaking cool. That’s what I think about when I’m posting a photo.”

 

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A Chat Room of Their Own

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In the fall of 2015, Nina Lorez Collins, a former literary agent, writer and mother of four young adults, including a pair of twins, was experiencing a fairly typical middle-aged malaise. She had a complicated second marriage, and her body was betraying her — textbook perimenopausal stuff, awaking most nights at 3 a.m., heart pounding, soaked in sweat. When she Googled “perimenopause,” it amused her to read that one of the symptoms was “impending sense of doom,” and she noted her discovery in an uncomplicated (until recently) manner: a Facebook post.

Friends wrote back, half-seriously, suggesting she start a group for their cohort, but what to call it? Black Cohosh (for the herbal remedy)? How about What Would Virginia Woolf Do? one friend joked darkly, because of course what Woolf did, at 59, was kill herself.

Within a week or so, Ms. Collins, now 48, had created a secret Facebook group with just that title, inviting her friends into the internet era’s version of a consciousness-raising group, where women of a certain age could talk about things they didn’t want to share with husbands, partners or children.

Amazon Echo for Dementia: Technology for Seniors

amazon echo for dementia

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Echo for dementia

Caregivers often get frustrated because seniors with dementia repeat questions endlessly, need to be entertained, or get anxious when you’re not around. Having Echo there to answer questions, talk about news or weather, or play music can give caregivers much-needed breaks.

Echo can’t completely replace human touch or real conversation, but the intelligent voice controls can make it feel like a helpful friend.

Echo’s voice-activated features are great for seniors with dementia:

  • Instantly answers questions, like “what day is it?” or “what time is it?” — it’s a machine, so it will never get annoyed or frustrated!
  • Plays music and read audiobooks and the news — no need to fuss with complicated controls
  • Tells fun jokes and riddles
  • Looks up information about anything — like, “what’s playing on TV tonight?”
  • Reports traffic and weather

What If Smart Homes Were Designed For Seniors, Instead?

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So when Kevin Gaunt envisions the future of the smart home, he doesn’t think of it in terms of millennials, or their “picturesque Airbnb-style houses inhabited by attractive people who effortlessly interact with technology, dealing with all our chores and reading our deepest wishes before we are even aware of them.” Instead, he asks what the smart homes and conversational interfaces of the future can do for the elderly. And his answers seem a lot less empty than the thermostat-automating smart home bots of today.

As part of his graduate project at the Umeå Institute of Design’s Interaction Design in Sweden, Gaunt imagined a series of smart home bots aimed at helping the elderly, as opposed to these devices’ current roles as “gatekeepers to a particular company’s ecosystems,” as Gaunt puts it. “That led me to think about what if a future smart home had multiple [assistants] that each focused on a narrow set of tasks, like online shopping, managing the daily budget, or spying on the neighbors’ whereabouts,” says Gaunt.

 

Spotify data hints at a ‘musical midlife crisis’ for 42-year-old music fans

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek (32) and investor Sean Parker (35) are a few years off musical midlife crises – in theory

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Streaming music service Spotify has identified 42 as the age when many of its users rediscover the joys of current pop music, as part of research into how their tastes mature over time.

“We’re starting to listen to ‘our’ music, not ‘the’ music. Music taste reaches maturity at age 35. Around age 42, music taste briefly curves back to the popular charts — a musical midlife crisis and attempt to harken back to our youth, perhaps?”

The findings come from a study conducted by Ajay Kalia, who oversees Spotify’s “taste profiles” product, which tries to understand people’s tastes based on their listening habits.