Tue09302014

News

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Meet the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors candidates

Two candidates have filed to run for the District 7 seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors in the Nov. 4 election. The water district, established in 1929, oversees and protects water resources in Santa Clara County....

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Schools

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities

New LAHS assistant principal focuses on school activities


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Suzanne Woolfolk, assistant principal at Los Altos High, teaches a leadership course for Associated Student Body leaders.

Suzanne Woolfolk – new assistant principal at Los Altos High School – said she is happy...

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Community

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival

Petting zoo, car show highlight Chamber's annual Fall Festival


Courtesy of Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
The petting zoo is a highlight of the Los Altos Fall Festival. This year’s event is slated Oct. 4 and 5.

The Los Altos Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its 23rd annual Fall Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oc...

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Sports

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos

Burlingame bowls over Los Altos


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High halfback Sean Lanoza looks for running room against Burlingame in Saturday’s home opener.

The opening drive of Saturday’s game against Burlingame couldn’t have gone much better for the Los Altos High fo...

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Comment

Does Los Altos have a parking problem, or is it a symptom? : Other Voices

Yes, and yes. It appears that the downtown Los Altos parking problem is a symptom of the city’s “Sarah Winchester” approach to planning that instead of resulting in staircases to nowhere resulted in a hotel without parking required by code.(1)

From ...

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Special Sections

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market

Los Altos landmark Four families later, Shoup House goes on the market


Courtesy of Matthew Anello
The Shoup House dining room, above, features original elements. The 100-year-old house on University Avenue earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, a nod to its legacy as the home of city founder Paul S...

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Business

Longtime banker readies for retirement

Longtime banker readies for retirement


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Joanne Kavalaris is retiring at the end of October after spending the past 25 years of her banking career in downtown Los Altos.

A longtime Los Altos banker is calling it a career in a few weeks.

Joanne Kavalaris, Bank o...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

Pear builds wonderful 'House'

Pear builds wonderful 'House'


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Betsy Kruse Craig portrays Trish in the Pear Avenue Theatre production of “House,” which closes Oct. 5.

Mountain View’s Pear Avenue Theatre is staging an unusual theater-going experience – producing two plays...

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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 add ...

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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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