Mission: To educate and improve the experience of aging for mature adults and their caregivers.

Technology for Seniors

The Benefits of Whole Body Vibration for Older Adults

vibration machine

Guest Blogger Sarah Aboody Talks About the Benefits of Whole Body Vibration for Older Adults

By Sarah at T-Zone Vibration


At T-Zone Vibration, we try to monitor the studies and clinical trials that happen in regards to whole body. One came across my desk about WBV (Whole Body Vibration) and older women that I thought should be shared.

This is only one of many, many studies that highlight the huge benefits whole body vibration technology can offer. It is sometimes helpful to understand the science behind why we think whole body vibration is such a huge advancement in the field of health and fitness. This study was published back in 2004 and looked at knee-extension strength and speed of movement and counter movement jump performance in older women. Basically – getting stronger and faster by using WBV, conventional training, or no training at all.

The study followed 89 women for 24 weeks, all aged 58 to 74. They were divided into 3 groups – a WBV group, a traditional resistance-training group, and a control group who did not do any training. The WBV group did simple standing WBV exercises without any extra weights.  The conventional training group did several repetitions of leg presses and leg-extension exercises using weights that increased through the course of the 24 weeks.

There were many technical measurements and figures talking about what the women did and how they measured progress etc, but here is the gist of what they found out:  As you probably guessed they found significant benefits in both conventional training as well as WBV training (no surprise there). You already know that someone can go to a gym and pound through sets that target individual muscles one by one – or use a whole body vibration machine. Of course you will see benefits from either, so it just depends on which one you prefer to do.

This study was chosen to share because to highlight a few points they made in their conclusion. It was interesting to note that they found most of the gain was realized within the first 12 weeks of training i.e. three months of a short series of exercises 3 times a week. So this is great encouragement for those who are just starting out – you won’t have to train for months and months before you feel yourself getting stronger and fitter.

Another point to highlight was about WBV itself.  “As previously shown in young women, it is suggested that the strength gain in older women is mainly due to the vibration stimulus and not only to the unloaded exercises performed on the WBV platform.”  So what they are saying is that in fact the exercises themselves likely weren’t the reason for the strength gain – it was the women simply standing on the whole body vibration machine that made them stronger. This doesn’t mean that there is no point in doing your routines while on the machine – as with everything else you get more out if you put more in. But those people who aren’t quite ready to perform exercises yet, or just are having an off day, just standing will make you stronger.

So there you have it – that’s your science lesson for the day! Class dismissed 🙂

The study information is as below for those that are interested.
J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004 Jun;52(6):901-8.

Whole-body-vibration training increases knee-extension strength and speed of movement in older women.

Roelants M, Delecluse C, Verschueren SM.

Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics Laboratory, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Department of Kinesiology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Independence Through Technology

With children often spread from one coast to the other, there is often concern that someone needs to physically look after their parent. Now there are aids to help older adults to stay in their home safely and with adequate monitoring to make sure they are taking their medications regularly and there is movement in the home.
Here are some of the exciting new technologies available:

EPill Dispensers:

These pill dispensers make sure the patient takes the pill on time and in the correct dosage.  http://www.epill.com/dispenser.html?source=google&gclid=COvKj7S9mqsCFUYEQAodfnLFlg

Phillips Lifeline has a medication alert system that is tied to the seniors phone so that someone is called when the older adult misses a dosage.  http://www.lifelinesys.com/content/home


Monitors to detect motion/falls:                                             Wrist Emergency Response System

It is estimated that 13.3 million persons 65 and over will fall this year and only half will be able to get up.

The LifeProtekt wrist device comes with a GPS/GSM/and RF personal locator that is worn like a watch, and an iPod-size portable receiver that a caregiver can carry. This will allow the caregiver to set fixed or portable safe zones in and outdoors. If the safe zone is crossed, they are immediately alerted and can use the smart phone or computer to locate the loved one using Google map technology. There’s even a panic button, with built in false-alarm protection, for those who are higher functioning. It’s ideal for: wandering prevention, elderly care, and those who are cognitively impaired. http://www.lifeprotekt.com/category/alzheimers-disease/

Phillips Lifeline has a pendant that allows the wearer to push a button to reach attendants who can summon help.  They also offer one with an alert system that can detect falls and automatically summon assistance.  http://www.lifelinesys.com/content/home

Active Care offers a Personal Assistant Link that provides emergency services if a fall is detected and has a GPS locator that pinpoints the location of the wearer. http://www.activecare.com/pal

The eNeighbor remote monitoring system uses a series of small, unobtrusive sensors that work together to monitor a resident’s daily routine.  http://www.healthsense.com/index.php/products/remote-monitoring

Mulberry Gardens offers a system that utilizes sensors to detect motion and possible falls but while still respecting privacy. http://www.mulberrygardens.org/Content/QuietCare.asp

Video intercoms are the newest solution for the home security system. With a video intercom, a person can see who is at the door before it is opened. http://www.gadgetshack.com/wired-camera-intercom-systems.html        

These are only a few of the providers who now have systems that can sense movement and falls.  Many more are in the works.

Vital Signs Monitoring:

Honeywell HomMed’s Sentry Telehealth Monitor can quickly collect and securely transmit data on five key vital signs: heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, temperature, and weight.  http://www.hommed.com/products/sentry_telehealth_monitor-total-solution.asp

This home blood pressure monitor allows the elderly to check their blood pressure without tiring trips to the doctors.  http://www.gadgetshack.com/blood-pressure-monitors.html

Stair Lifts:    

Stair Lifts help seniors who need assistance getting up and down the stairs. http://usa.acornstairlifts.com/? source=google&adg=us&u2=Stairlift_High_Volume_b&gclid=CN3A387MmqsCFSEEQAodvUnFiw  


Skype can be used today to see grandchildren who live far away from grandparents.

Software is being developed to assist in managing chronic diseases and monitoring progress especially after a hospital stay.

Geriatric Care Managers will be using Skype via Caring Bridge to connect with family members.

Adjustable Beds:    sleep-ezz_TWIN

These beds help patients who are too frail to get themselves up.  It also assists acid reflux persons. http://www.medlift.com/index.cfm?action=b14&id=19353,7257&pgurl=AdjustableBeds

Scooters/Assistive Devices:

Scooters allow older adults to get around their homes and communities when they are mobility challenged.


Great Website for Assistive Devices is http://www.parentgiving.com/

Automatic Prescription/Medical Supplies

Technology on the internet allows seniors to have their prescriptions delivered to their home. http://www.aetnarxhomedelivery.com/

Access to internet allows seniors to have their incontinence supplies delivered to their house. http://www.hdis.com/?cid=200052&dest=1&gclid=CODkgp7QmqsCFUYEQAodfnLFlg

The Caregiver Partnership offers medical & personal care supplies and provides resources in many categories.  www.caregiverpartnership.com, www.caregiverpartnership.com/resources/categories/

Technology to Increase Balance & Coordination:

This is an article on how studies have shown that even just a few sessions with the Wii has led to improved balance, coordination and strength, and could prevent falls, a serious concern for many seniors. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/02/physical-video-games-may-help-the-elderly-psychologically/71184/

TZone Vibration system was developed by the Russian space astronauts to maintain their muscular fitness.  It can help older adults to maintain muscle tone and coordination.  It improves bone density. www.tzonevibrationtech.com/          

Wandering Safeguards:       

By placing miniaturized 2-way GPS technology in shoes, Andrew Carle who coined the term “Nana” Technologies for describing technology for older adults says the GPS Shoe has the potential to be life saving for those afflicted and their caregivers.  They were developed by GTX Corporation and will be distributed by Aetrex Worldwide, Inc.

MailBox Alert:

This mailbox alert system informs the owner when the mail has come each day.  This allows the elderly to only make one trip out to the mailbox.  http://www.gadgetshack.com/mailbox-alert-mail-letter.html

Future Technology in the Works:

Technology is part of every area of our lives.  There are many universities working on products that will assist seniors as they age. Here are just a few of the items under development:

  1. Intel is working on an intelligent phone for persons with dementia that will utilize Caller ID to display a picture of the person, the relationship to the person being called  and a little about their last conversation.
  2. Medication Minders are already on the market that can alert the individual at the appropriate time to take medications.  There are some systems that are connected to a pharmacy and lets them know when a person has missed a dosage and the history of their compliance with medications.
  3. Walkers are being developed that will come to the person via remote control and can steer around obstacles. Smart canes can detect an impending fall, monitor gait and balance.
  4. Medicine cabinet online is being developed by Accenture, a company in Chicago.  It will be able to identify the user; tell them when the wrong medicine is about to be taken and automatically reorder medications.  It will also set up doctor’s appointments.
  5. Robotic nurses will be able to carry patients that are too heavy for caregivers or who have fallen and need assistance getting up.
  6. Computer games are being programmed to enhance cognition and monitor changes over time that can predict oncoming dementia.
  7. Tracking systems will be available for someone at risk of wandering.  This will aid caregivers as to the location of the person they are monitoring.
  8. Afferent Corporation in Boston is ready to introduce a balance booster that will sense when balance is unsteady and stimulate parts of the foot to help right the individual.

With 20% of the population being 65 and over by the year 2030, technology will continue to assist in caring for elders and helping them remain in the home.  Because the number of potential caregivers has shrunk to a 4:1 ratio, it means fewer people will be available to help older adults.  Technology will help to fill that void.

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