The Trend To Aging At Home Is Here!

A 7 million, four year study being financed by the above organizations was reported in the WSJ today. The use  of  new technology in about 50 homes with a target of 250 homes will  track older people in their typical daily lives. The homes that are involved have agreed to participate in the study through the year 2020.
The national study called CART(Collaborative Aging Research Using Technology) is set up to ;monitor the participants by using sensors, and other new technology that is installed in their home for the study.
Some people reading this post may be thinking this is too invasive and big brother like. Lets go over some of the goals of the research and see if your mind is changed.  What will be measured with the  installed technology?
Lots of valuable data will be collected.  The tech will track how many times the person enters and leaves different rooms, how often they use their computer and how slowly or quickly the person walks!
What is the goal?  The new technology can open a window into figuring out when a persons health maybe decline through discovering their computer use habits, driving patterns and patterns of walking.  Frailness, and cognitive decline are a few things that may be detected early with this technology.
                                                Who Is Involved In the Study?
Currently, there are four different groups of people in the study.  These include:
A low income group in Portland, Oregon,  a veterans group in rural Oregon,  an African-American group in Chicago, and a group of Spanish speaking people in Miami.
The sensors and technology placed in their homes are hidden from view and easy to remove or replace.  The technology does not include cameras or video.  The researchers see this technology as a good way of monitoring people who have recently been discharged from hospitals and detect behavioral changes that indicate a need for intervention.
What Are Some Of the Sensors?
A few examples are a watch that tracks their sleep patterns and their steps. A scale which is set to measure body type, heart rate, & arterial stiffness. Participants who are using computers have software installed to track how much they are using the computer. Drivers will have sensors placed under the dashboard that will track how often they are actually driving.
What about privacy? The computer does not look at emails or URL history. What it  does is track time spent on the computer, the names of applications being used, and how the user is maneuvering the keyboard and mouse.  Also, the article in the WSJ reports that the data is “de-identified” and all participants consent to its use. Also, people not involved in the research would not be able to identify the data or uncover the source of the data. Also, the data is encrypted and and undergoes an independent safety review.
Participants view their participation as a way to give back to future generations!
Growing older with gusto!


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