If only there had been smart technology when my mother and mother-in-law were in senior living communities. Fortunately, today’s (and tomorrow’s) residents should benefit from a new, five-year, $1.77 million Washington State University study to research how tech can improve the quality of life, monitor healthy and safety, and provide real-time assessments and interventions.
The National Institute on Nursing Research grant will pay for what they’re calling five “health assistive” smart homes that will have sensors collect health/behavioral information on retirement community residents. Think of it as Big Brother without the creepy part.
Researchers will then be able to develop algorithms that can identify and pick up changes in older adults with multiple chronic conditions.
The concept of putting sensors around the house—whether it’s one on the refrigerator to make sure someone is eating, another on the bed to check that the person has sat in their favorite chair (=they’re moving around) is not novel but still in its infancy.
When this kind of technology becomes mainstream, older adults’ health will improve. When their health is better, guess what happens to healthcare costs?