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Posted on Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 5:57 a.m.

New technology helps in-home seniors stay connected

By Alan Caldwell


Denise Rabidoux with Evangelical Homes of Michigan

We had the pleasure and privilege of having Denise Rabidoux back on our show this past weekend. Denise is the President and CEO of Evangelical Homes of Michigan, a nonprofit senior provider serving about 2,000 individuals in southeast Michigan with about 1,000 employees. Evangelical Homes offers all types of services for the elderly, with options for in-home, facility and community care.

Denise shared her excitement about Care Innovations, a new partnership they have with GE and Intel. Evangelical was the first adopter of an innovative device called Connect. This is a computer notebook with a touch-screen that has been provided to 32 seniors in southeast Michigan, all of them living in their own private homes.

When these seniors wake up, they use their Connect notebooks to take a quick two-minute survey. This provides their Evangelical Homes lifestyle coach with information on how the seniors are doing and what they have planned for that day. Their coach can help plan a schedule, remind them to take medications, encourage exercise, talk about healthy eating or whatever else to help achieve an optimum quality of life.

Some people have questioned if the Connect device promotes isolation. Denise was convincing in describing how the product actually better promotes connections with the local community and helps establishes new friendships. The Evangelical Care Innovations web page has a neat video that shows the Connect system in practice.

To listen to the 13-minute discussion with Denise, click the audio link: Everything Elderly Denise Rabidoux 0730.mp3">

To get in touch with Denise or Evangelical Homes of Michigan, call 734-429-1155, or visit the website


Dr. Czajkowski with the Fraser Eye Care Center

Photos by Sheila Doeden

We were pleased and honored to next have Dr. Norbert Czajkowski with us on the program. Dr. Czajkowski is the director and chief surgeon of the Fraser Eye Care Center and the Laser Institute of Michigan. He is also the director of the Michigan Center for Out-Patient Surgery.

Dr. Czajkowski gave us useful insights about cataracts, a common medical issue for elderly folks. Cataracts are frequently misunderstood to be a film over the eye.

Cataracts are opacity of the lens of the eye. The lens becomes cloudy and the patient's vision becomes blurry. The surgery to correct this problem involves an artificial lens implant. With this operation, patients can frequently see very well by the next day.

We talked about how many older people need reading glasses. Dr. Czajkowski explained how our eyes are basically perfect at age six, and after that they begin to slowly deteriorate. The point that you can focus on gets further and further away until that point is too far away to read. Reading glasses help focus much closer.

LASIK surgery is generally thought to be for the younger population, but it can be very beneficial for older people. Dr. Czajkowski now has patients in their 70s seeing 20/15, considered very good vision. Patients will sometimes have cataract surgery, and then LASIK surgery a few months later to optimize their eyesight. The LASIK surgery is painless and takes less than five minutes per eye.

To listen to the 13-minute talk with Dr. Czajkowski, click the audio link: Everything Elderly Dr Czajkowski 0730.mp3">

To contact Dr. Czajkowski or the Fraser Eye Care Center, you may call 1-586-296-7250, or go to the website

Alan Caldwell and Sheila Doeden co-host Everything Elderly every Saturday morning at 8:30 on 1290 WLBY. In their day jobs, Alan and Sheila co-own and co-manage Senior Helpers, providing in-home care services, primarily to the elderly. Both can be contacted at, or at 734-927-3111.


Ronnie Wallah

Thu, Aug 25, 2011 : 4:32 p.m.

Everytime I find an article like this, I make sure to forward to my grandma - now that she's getting more tech savvy and using a computer articles like this really interest her. I hope this kind of technology mentioned here starts to spread since finding "techy" things to interest her like the notebook mentioned had been difficult times. I was lucky to find a pretty basic Net book for her last year and a little prepaid SVC cell phone for her - nothing face again just something so we could call and I could teach her to text. I moved from Ann Arbor two years ago so devices like the one mentioned here really help us feel closer now that I'm living in Miami.


Mon, Aug 1, 2011 : 10:12 p.m.

This sounds like an excellent program and a good article about it. I am a Senior Citizen and just moved to Cincinnati, OH from my long time home in Ann Arbot TO BE NEAR TO MY DAUGHTER and two beautiful great grand babies 1 & 1/2 1nd 3 & 1/2. I hav e chosen a continum of care facility similar to Glacier Hills. So far it is working out well and am liking it very much. Other residents and staff have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome. Sadly a big move such as this sometimes does present some health issues to a senior citizen and I had to become a statistic with an acute hospitalizaion with all that entailed and am now in rehab recovering and looking forward to getting back to my Independent apartment soon. I did not plan on utilizing the facility to it's fullest when I got here last December. Keep up the good work with the seniors in Washtenaw County. I'm trying to still keep involved and interested in all health issues in the County and U of M.