Sharing new ideas for older adults

Other Side of 50


Periodically I come across a new product or service that may be of interest to readers. Here are four to consider:

Latest shingles vaccine. On the nightly news recently I heard about a new, more effective shingles vaccine.

Shingrix, approved by the FDA last October, is more than 90 percent effective at preventing shingles, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The old vaccine’s success rate was 51 percent.

The CDC recommends healthy adults ages 50 and older—even if they’re sure they’ve had chickenpox before—should get the Shingrix vaccine. This includes individuals who had the earlier shingles vaccine and those who’ve had a prior case of shingles.

Two doses, two to six months apart, are required to ensure longterm protection. The vaccine is available now, but it’s in limited supply.

There are a few contraindications to getting the vaccine, so be sure to talk with your doctor.

Medicare Part D will cover the cost of the vaccine, but private health insurers have until January 2019 to add it to their list of covered vaccines. Check with your insurance company about coverage.

Cost: Covered by insurance or $280 out-of-pocket for the two doses combined.

The Tricella Smart Pillbox. I discovered this product at our local Target store. This technology-enabled pillbox alerts the user when it is time to take their medications. Each pill drawer has an individual sensor that can detect specifically when a dose is missed.

The device connects to smartphones through Bluetooth and can alert family members when a loved one forgets to take their pills or accidentally takes the wrong ones.

The app has a history view that tracks medication adherence over time.

Cost: $74.99 for the basic model with free shipping and no monthly fees.

Skylight frame. This one came up in my Facebook feed and I have ordered one for my mom, but we have yet to set it up.

Skylight is a touch-screen photo frame you can update by email from anywhere. The device is plugged in to a power source and connected to Wi-Fi in your home. Each Skylight has a dedicated email address, where loved ones can send pictures to the device.

We plan to use this when my niece graduates summa cum laude from USC. (I know a shameless boast; clearly the kid takes after me!) We will take pictures and email them in real time to my mother, who will then have them on her Skylight frame to show friends and family.

Cost: $159 plus tax and shipping with no monthly fees.

Life360. For years my mom was homebound caring for my dad. Now that she has her freedom, we can never get hold of her. She is out and about, often not answering her mobile phone.

She has a medical-alert system at home, but it is not the kind that would be useful outside the house. Of course, her caring children want to know where she is, especially in case she’s in trouble.

Life360 runs on a mobile device to allow you to view a family member’s location on a map, communicate with them and receive alerts when your loved ones arrive at a destination.

The app not only lets you know where all your registered family members are but can also help locate your phone if it is lost. The app provides a 30-day location history, unlimited place alerts and 24/7 support. Cost: Free

New products to make our lives easier and more enjoyable are debuting at lightning speed. Consider sharing new finds that have helped you in conversation, email or social media. If we all share, it helps businesses to deliver better products and services to meet our needs.

Gallagher is a certified senior advisor and president of Senior Concerns, a nonprofit agency serving Ventura and western Los Angeles counties. For more information, visit or email agallagher@senior-