Emerging Technologies for Aging in Place

Emerging Technologies for Aging in Place

Shirley Ann Becker, Frank Webbe
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-561-2.ch803
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Similar to other nations, the United States faces a critical challenge in dealing with an aging population that has unprecedented life expectancies. Emerging technologies offer the hope of allowing older adults to remain in their homes longer by empowering individuals to manage daily activities while dealing with chronic health conditions and age-related diseases. These technologies increasingly target a home environment whereby on a regular basis an individual can obtain assistance in performing daily living activities, stay connected to family and friends, manage medication, and be monitored for health-related changes. As important as these assistive technologies are for individuals and families, their potential for positively impacting the United States economy by changing the model of healthcare delivery is equally huge.
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Recent advances in “assistive technologies” offer older adults the ability to function independently and to age with dignity in their homes and communities. The U.S. Administration on Aging (2005) formally defines an assistive technology as being any service or tool that helps the elderly or disabled perform activities they have always done, but must now do differently. Assistive technology includes communication equipment, computer access, tools for independent living, education, and mobility aids, among others. Table 1 provides a summary of current and emerging assistive technologies.

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