This article is published in the October 2014 issue.

CCC Aging in Place Workshop

Articulating a research vision for technologies that enhance the lives and independence of aging adults

On September 10-11, the CCC co-hosted a visioning workshop focused on technologies that will allow older adults and people with disabilities to “age in place,” remain in their homes longer, reduce health care costs and enhance quality of life. CCC partnered with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to organize the “Trans-NIH/Interagency Workshop on the Use and Development of Assistive Technology for the Aging Population and People with Chronic Disabilities.” Held on the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD, the engaging workshop brought together a diverse set of experts – computer science researchers, medical practitioners, and government officials from numerous agencies (NIH,NSF, NIDRR, HUD, VA, FDA, CMS), to chart a course for the research agenda needed to advance technologies that will allow seniors to age in place.

The collaborative workshop was a combination of introductory remarks to set the context by representatives from NIH and the computing community, panel presentations, and open discussions around the current state of research and future research needs.

An overview of the panel discussions are listed below:

Insights and Realities of Designing for Older Adults and Their Caregivers

This panel discussed the challenge of designing technologies that are useful as older adults healthcare needs evolve and developing principles for “future proofing” technology. A key theme was planning for dynamic diversity when working in this space, as individuals’ needs are constantly changing.

Innovation Needed: Sensing, actuation and system integration technology

This session highlighted many of the possibilities of Aging in Place technologies, while acknowledging the many challenges: the “system” is very complex and ever changing, there is a lot of data, but working with that data can be difficult, and privacy concerns.

Health transition trajectories: data to action

This panel discussed technologies designed to support independence and physical health as people need help to do that which they are no longer able to do on their own. A key take-away from this conversation was the importance of care coordination for people.

How to integrate Aging in Place in a Learning Healthcare System

Leaders discussed effective integration of technology to support the aging population and their caregivers, showcasing models that work in varied settings and how we can take advantage of the Internet of Things.

Shaping the future of Aging in Place

The panelists discussed the current ecosystem and what would be needed in a research agenda to inform regulatory and funding agencies.

After the panels, an engaging summary session identified steps for moving forward. Participants discussed short and long term priorities. These priorities will be summarized in a published report, along with a research roadmap.

All of the presentations can be found with the workshop agenda here.