[excerpt from WSU News “Aging at home” piece from March 2013]
As the U.S. population becomes older, using technology to address the challenges of aging is of increasing interest to everyone from elderly residents themselves to care providers and government leaders. Keeping someone at home for an additional few months not only makes them happier, but can save tremendously on assisted living costs that average $70,000 per year.
WSU researchers have worked to develop a non-intrusive “smart home in a box’’ that is able to monitor and learn residents’ normal daily activities at home. About the size of a printer and easy to install, the system checks residents’ locations and activities, learns their routines, notes when there is a change and prompts them if they forget to do something.
The researchers are studying aging-in-place technologies for three years as part of a research pilot project monitoring 20 residents in Seattle senior housing. Supported by the LSDF as well as the National Institutes of Health, the project is one of the largest on the use of such technologies.