Trans-NIH/Interagency Workshop on the Use and Development of Assistive Technology for the Aging Population and People with Chronic Disabilities

by   Elizabeth Mynatt, et al.

The first baby boomer born in 1946 turned 65 in 2011 and the last baby boomer will turn 65 in 2029. By then, the total U.S. population over 65 is projected to be 71.5 million (compared with 44.6 million in 2013). The current (2014) median cost of a nursing home is 226 a day (82,490 per year), while assisted living is 3500 a month (42,000 per year). While the elderly population continues to get larger and costs will continue to rise, nearly ninety percent (90 of the hospital, nursing home or other institutional setting. New technologies could potentially allow older adults and people with disabilities to remain in their homes longer, reduce health care costs and enhance the quality of life. In summary, there is a need for a new generation of research that addresses the complexity of supporting the quality of life and independence of a vast, diverse, and aging population. While there are common themes and needs in this research that we describe shortly, we must start by recognizing that there is more than one needed path and approach to meet these diverse needs. One path includes the tight integration of chronic disease management in the home with existing acute healthcare systems. Another path embraces comprehensive home health for improving nutrition and social connectedness while combating physical, cognitive and psychological ailments. Yet another path emphasizes wellness, consumer technologies and removing basic barriers to meaningful community participation. These paths will intersect in interesting ways for individuals, families, healthcare providers, and communities. However research is critically needed to illuminate these paths and to make measurable strides in our care and support for over 15


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