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Innovative Technology Will Improve Aging In Place For Seniors

October 20, 2009
A study by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Centre for Usable Home Technology at the University of York in England offers a glimpse into near-future emerging technologies for at-home care. On the horizon to help improve the lives of seniors wanting to live at home are robopets that offer companionship and double as fire, gas and flood alarms and intruder detectors; coffee tables that dispense medicines and give computerized reminders; talking walking frames that remind people where they are going; kitchen worktop and fridge screens that monitor pantry contents, suggest recipes and produce automatic shopping lists; and even exoskeleton powered suits that could be worn by infirm people to help them move around and climb stairs. The United Kingdom has already made strides in the area of telecare support, which both allows people to live independently longer and saves money on home health care. Dr. Kevin Doughty, of the JRF Centre for Usable Home Technology, said the challenge is now how to put emerging technologies into practical use, explaining, ‘‘Some of these might sound bizarre at the moment, but who would have thought 20 years ago that older people would today be using video games to exercise, and doing their shopping using a computer?’‘