New report on emerging technologies to help older Americans maintain independence
On March 5, 2019, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a report designed to identify innovations with the potential to improve the lives of older adults and persons living with disabilities. The report, Emerging Technologies to Support an Aging Population, was drafted by experts convened by the National Science and Technology Council from across the Federal government—including NIA. The expert panel was co-chaired by NIA’s Dr. Nina Silverberg and Dr. Michele Grimm of the National Science Foundation.
The report outlines six key areas in which technology can support continued independence for aging Americans and identifies research and development needs to make these innovations a reality. These are:
- Key activities of independent living, including technologies to support good nutrition, hygiene, and medication management.
- Cognitive skills, including technologies to help older adults monitor changes in their cognition and technology-based systems to help older adults maintain financial security.
- Communication and social connectivity, including video calling and other technologies that connect older adults and far-away friends and relatives.
- Personal mobility, including technologies to help people move safely and easily throughout their homes and communities.
- Access to transportation, including vehicle modification and supports to help older adults more easily and safely access public transportation.
- Access to healthcare, including technologies to align and coordinate care.
In addition to the six areas above, the report identifies cross-cutting themes that are critical to ensuring new technologies are widely adopted by the older adult population, including intuitive design, user-friendly interfaces, and strong privacy and security infrastructure.
The report is designed to serve as a guide to the public and private research and development sectors to ensure that older Americans benefit from technological advances we’re making today and will continue to make in the future.