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How can older adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain and/or limited mobility to continue to use technology? I recently went to  an invitational symposium at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland organized by SUS-IT Canada to find out. This group is exploring sustainable solutions. I was given the opportunity to present and let everyone know about Tyze, what it is, what it can do and how it is helping families to stay connected by facilitating a network model of care and contribution. Not only did I get to see my first iceberg (I felt like a little kid in a candy store!), all attendees were treated to several presentations from experts in the field. Thanks to SUS-IT for an amazing, thought-provoking day. A few highlights include: Dr. Jon Church, a professor in the Terry Fox Cancer Research Laboratories, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, who specializes in using telecommunications technology to link women living with breast cancer to both peer and professional support. Dr. Church reminded participants about the importance of the face-to-face interaction and support that can stem from telecommunications support. Dr. Sandra LeFort, a Professor in the School of Nursing at Memorial University, Nfld told us about a study where they identified the 10 of the “Best Quality Pain Sites” using DISCERN, a health information evaluation tool that provides a reliable way of assessing the quality of written health information. A particular highlight for me was meeting and learning from Don Cochrane who shared findings from a project called “Internet for Seniors,” developed at the Nanaimo and Region Disability Resource Centre, and funded in part by the Government of Canada’s new Horizons for Seniors Program. This program taught internet skills to seniors with disabilities, based on volunteer tutors who made individual visits to seniors in their homes. Don is an author and humourist, and stayed true to the latter by keeping us all laughing throughout the symposium! He has an incredible wealth of knowledge about older adults’ computer use and I felt lucky to have the chance to learn from his expertise. Donna Power from the Independent Living Resource Centre in St. John’s Newfoundland introduced the group to several Adaptive Technologies. They are a great resource with massive knowledge and expertise about devices and applications ensure that everyone is included in the ever-changing world of technology. Everything from a one-handed keyboard to applications for tablet computers. I highly recommend you check out these groups and get in touch with them to learn more about their exciting and engaging work – and of course, if you would like to learn more about the research we are doing with organizations, partners and Tyze users, drop me a line at Kerry@tyze.com – I would love to share!

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