Sat10252014

News

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

A flyer is being distributed across Los Altos that looks like it is from the Los Altos Town Crier but was neither created nor distributed by the community’s weekly newspaper. The flyer, pictured at right, is being distributed by workers from Pyrami...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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New tech product aims to help seniors live independently


Courtesy of Lively
To ease isolation and encourage participation in social media, Lively created a wireless product for seniors and their caregivers.

Social media is a constant in the lives of the current generation of young adults, who have grown up with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and dozens of other products that allow them to share as much about their lives as they want. For the generation 75 years and older, the concept of sharing information about yourself was reserved only for best friends or confidants.

As we reach our later years, a major challenge is being physically and emotionally disconnected from friends and family. Older adults give up driving not because they want to, but because it often becomes unsafe. Social isolation becomes a real problem. For seniors, the concept of social media is often so foreign and the technology so confusing that they have not participated in the positive aspects of getting connected on the Internet.

An eye-catching product

A variety of products hitting the market are targeted to the elder generation. Having worked for many years in the technology sector and now in providing home-care services to older adults, I am often approached by entrepreneurs who want my input on their ideas and products. One such product caught my eye about a year ago. The founders really seemed to understand their target market but didn’t assume anything. They asked great questions. They conducted extensive market research.

Fast forward a year, and I met with folks from the San Francisco-based Lively (mylively.com) in my Los Altos offices to get a peek at their service. I was impressed with their thoughtfulness about their customers and many other aspects that go into providing a successful product to this market.

Lively isn’t exactly a social media service, but it does dip its toe into the sharing of information about oneself with others. It is a service that basically captures a few key data points about your activities of daily living and allows them to be shared with a loved one. The goal is to allow seniors to live independently at home.

The company supports this independence by affixing a small transmitter to a pill box, refrigerator door, chair or any other object in the home that is a proxy for healthful activity – eating regularly, taking medications on time, etc. It records the senior’s routine and transmits the data to a friend or loved one invested in monitoring the senior’s well-being. The beauty of Lively is that it protects your privacy, shares only a small bit of data and allows you passively to share the information without data entry, a smartphone or computer.

The company tested the service extensively and learned a great deal. The service works well, doesn’t require any kind of Internet connection and costs $19.95 per month. The medication-monitoring aspect of the service alone is well worth the investment. The product will be available from the Lively website beginning in late September, which marks the rollout to various retailers, home shopping networks and other outlets. It costs $149 and comes with two months of free service. There is no contract.

Lively is a small, inexpensive step in the right direction that uses today’s technology to help seniors remain at home as long as they prefer. It doesn’t try to do everything, but does these few things really well. I think the company will be successful if it continues to listen to its customers and takes evolutionary steps to provide a variety of services for an elder generation that can benefit from a little sharing of their lives with a limited set of friends or family.

Greg Hartwell is founder and CEO of Homecare California, a Los Altos-based in-home caregiving agency. He is a frequent guest speaker on elder-care issues. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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