Using Technology to Enhance Aging in Place

Satariano, W. A., Scharlach, A. E., & Lindeman, D. (2014). Aging, place, and technology: Toward improving access and wellness in older populations.Journal of Aging and Health, 26(8), 1373-1389.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), aging in place is “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.”  Aging in place may benefit both the individual and society by allowing older adults to maintain connections with others in the community and by lowering health care costs.  Satariano, Scharlach, and Lindeman (2014) investigated technologies designed to enhance opportunities for aging in place either by preventing, postponing, or detecting impairment, such as falling or cognitive decline, or by promoting and maintaining well-being, such as by monitoring medication or nutrition. These include health information technologies (e.g., electronic medical records), individual mobile devices (e.g., smart phones and tablets), environmental devices (e.g., outdoor sensors) and enhanced automobiles (e.g., self-parking cars). The authors identified several challenges to this use of technology, including a lack of research on effectiveness, economic barriers — particularly for individuals in underserved communities — and the increased lack of technology familiarity and accessibility that often comes with aging.  The rapidly growing field of gerontechnology, which focuses on the development of devices designed for an older adult population, may provide strategies for meeting these challenges.

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Older adults

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The NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities) Aging in Place Initiative is a program of The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). Their website provides information and research on models of aging in place as well as resources for developing a NORC program.

This entry was posted in Aging, Community, Life Span Development, Technology.