Thursday, July 13, 2017

Why on Earth would I want an iWatch?

     More than a decade ago I left my wristwatch behind while I learned to access time on my cell phone. I never looked back. Not being bound to my watch offered a relief from a time bound schedule, or so I thought. As the abilities of the cell phone transitioned into a smart phone, time once again became an ever present reminder. Wearable tech became popular with step tracking to then exercise monitors. Looking at my Fitbit offered incentive and reward for walking plus a time keeper. Once again I had a watch. When smart watches appeared on the tech market it was the last device I thought I needed. My Fitbit functioned well, except when I washed it. After three waterlogged Fitbits' went by the wayside I decided a waterproof function would save me money. Enter the iWatch.

     I researched many options for waterproof, but since I swim laps this seemed the best and least expensive option for under $300 and even at this price it is expensive. I took the plunge not looking back since. Besides the swim feature, which I love, I can shower, wash dishes, and submerge my iWatch without consequence. Since I am forgetful, this feature alone proved a worthy purchase. The other features, which I am still exploring, decrease stress, improve my health and offer me options to improve my life I never thought I needed. This is a list of the features I adore (until I find new ones).

1. Find my iPhone - A little phone button on the swipe up screen offers a loud signal to find my phone when I set it down somewhere and I cannot remember where. This feature alone saves me hours (and being late) wandering the house trying to find my phone. While simple, the feature alleviates a lot of stress for the absentminded professor (me).

2. Heart rate monitor - Two words: Thyroid issues. The heart rate monitor identifies high and low rates, even when sleeping. When the heart rate averages start to climb or drop over time I know it is a signal for a thyroid check. Oh, and it is good for exercise.

3. Sleep monitor - I became hooked to monitoring my sleep with my Fitbit. The iWatch brought this to a new level. Being a researcher, I love graphs of all kinds. The sleep tracking option helped me come to terms with my insomnia and accept it as normal for me.

4. Standland - I sit, a lot. Between counseling, writing, and teaching online I am always at my desk. I even own a standing desk, which would work better if I remembered to use it. This app reminds me to stand at 50 minutes to the hour between whatever times I choose. An added benefit is the reward of  earning features within the game encouraging my agreement to stand.

Standland App - iPhone

5. Maps - This unexpected feature provided me with a gleeful surprise. If I put the address I want into the phone, before each turn my watch's hepatic system (little vibrations on my wrist) alerts me I will be needing to turn. If you talk through your car phone system, listen to books/podcast or tend to be problem solving while driving this feature saves a lot of time with the recalculating GPS when you miss your turn. Needless to say, this app saves me enormous amounts of time.

6. Mindful and Calm Apps - These two apps provide hepatic reminders to be in the present and breathe. These tools enhance my mindfulness practices and lower my stress levels. 

     These apps represent only a few ways the iWatch enhances my life. For me the purchase creates new habits and reinforces positive behaviors. If you have one, how does it help you?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Technology Integration for Social Care Education and Practice in the European Union

The European Social Network (ESN) invited me to speak at their Workforce Seminar in November of last year in Bratslavia, Slovakia. Alfonso Lara Montero is the Policy Director at ESN. Alfonso leads the organization to provide a collaboration to network countries in addressing the needs of their citizens through united education, research, action, and conferences. The event offered inspiration from speakers across Europe. You can hear their presentations here. The participants and presenters offered their experience to problem solve today's issues around social care. I am inspired by their commitment and ability to think outside of the box for solutions. As their mission describes...

"ESN is a network of over 120 member organisations in 35 countries which comprise national associations of directors, departments of social welfare of government, regions, counties and municipalities, funding and regulatory agencies, universities and other research and development organisations.

We believe that social services must protect and support vulnerable people, uphold their dignity and independence, pursue excellence and innovation in social work, listen to service users and respond to their needs, and promote solidarity with people and their communities."

Below is a podcast of the presentation.

Ellen Belluomini speaking at the ESN Workforce Conference

Technology Integration in Social Care Education and Practice in the European Union

Monday, March 20, 2017

Chapter 13 Technology Considerations in Running a Private Practice

Chapter Introduction

"Technology can offer challenges and opportunities for the private practitioner. This chapter first explores how psychotherapists of different ages experience boundaries and the Internet. The discussion progresses to methods of integrating technology assessment and digital testing and the impact of technology on the management of a private practice. Digital options per se are not unethical or inappropriate. Each area is viewed through a risk management and strengths lens. The intent is to guide the psychotherapist through potential complication of digital options while emphasizing the ways in which technology can ease the management of a private practice."

I wrote this chapter to help clinicians adapt the technical challenges of practicing psychotherapy in today's rapidly changing world. This book is available on Google Books and Amazon.