Technology Shows Promise for Future of Aging in Place

New technology currently being tested at the University of Missouri is showing promising results in the effort toward finding solutions to help seniors age in place. 

With researchers committed to this particular topic within the university’s Interdisciplinary Center for Aging, the community has made strides in finding solutions that will enable older Americans to remain in their homes without full time assistance, writes the Associated Press.

From motion sensors to mattress monitors, aging in place is becoming more viable with the help of new gadgets.

The researchers are ramping up efforts to test some of the devices in the homes of seniors who are utilizing them to alert family members as to their activities—or lack thereof. Currently, they are being tested in a university-affiliated senior apartment complex as well as another local senior community.

The research has proven to foresee possible falls from two weeks to 10 days prior, the AP reports. 

‘‘We were blown away that we could actually detect this,’’ nursing professor Marilyn Rantz, an aging-in-place specialist who is leading the research, told the AP.

By monitoring heart rate and vital signs of sleeping subjects and then tracking their movement through the use of a camera technology most often used in video games, the team has been able to recognize when a person is at risk of falling, shortness of breath and infection.

But the presence of the devices can be a stop-point, the researchers found, with the level of obtrusiveness in a senior’s home being a considerable factor. The sensors must be embedded rather than worn, for example, Rantz told AP.

‘‘When we started this team, I said we are not going to make anybody wear anything or push any buttons, because my mother refused and I don’t think she’s any different than a lot of other people in this world,’’ Rantz said.

Read the AP article in the Boston Globe.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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