As elders age, they need increasing amounts of adaptive assistance and care from their caregivers- people who are often busy or remote. With the baby boomer generation preparing to retire, the sheer number of people who will need support will far outstrip the nation's ability to provide professional caregivers. Furthermore, the nation will not be able to afford residential care costs for those elders who could live (semi- )independently with appropriate gerontechnological support. This project will explore the feasibility of utilizing integrated information and measurement technology to help extend the period of an elder's independence in their residential setting, with improved quality of life and reduced total cost of care. In particular, the project will examine how the (semi-)automated in-home collection, analysis, and appropriate distribution of physical, behavioral, and psychosocial data might enable elders to maintain this independence, with support from members of their social support network. Ongoing manual collection of patient health-related behavioral data (e.g., weight, blood pressure) is error-prone and often incomplete due to poor patient compliance, even with customized, context-aware reminders. By augmenting the Kinnexxus system with a selection of the general and special purpose Wi-Fi, RFID, USB and Bluetooth sensors, one might be able to automate some of the information acquisition. This phase focuses on the feasibility of technology integration, while further work will focus on the feasibility of adoption of the enhanced sensor-enabled system. The study's specific objectives are to develop a systematic approach to selecting, evaluating, adapting, integrating and configuring combinations of sensors and services to demonstrate the feasibility of a flexible yet robust extension to the Kinnexxus platform, supporting elders'everyday activities. The project will examine issues regarding (remote) maintenance, installation and configuration, architected integration, usability, reliability, precision, and battery life, and test a Kinnexxus system outfitted with several of the most promising sensor combinations (for specific situations), in order to validate the model and assess the effectiveness and usability. The project adopts two primary methods: 1) development of a descriptive framework of attributes and weights according to multi-attribute utility theory, specifying different sensor features such as measurement attributes, interfacing requirements, precision and interoperability, and 2) experimental validation of the attributes and calibration of the weights by integrating and evaluating a representative set of sensors into the Kinnexxus platform via a flexible architecture.
Aging-in-place can be enhanced, quality of life extended, and costs reduced by providing an adaptable elder kiosk with attached health and behavioral sensors for an elder to use in his/her residence, connecting by Internet to a customizable social network that links the elder with family members, clinicians and other caregivers, wherever they are located. An important role played by this kiosk and system is to provide useful reminders to the elder at the appropriate time and place in order to collect biometric, behavioral and regimen compliance information, and to distribute and analyze such information in a way that is appropriate to the roles played by the various members of the elder's support network. Aging-in-place has become an extremely important consideration for public health, due especially to the pending retirement and aging of the baby boomer generation, who will need appropriate gerontechnology to support their independence as they age, while reducing public expenditures for elder care. PHS 398/2590 (Rev. 11/07) Page Continuation Format Page