The rapid pace of technological advances holds significant promise to address rising challenges for smart cities and smart community development. However, infusing these technological innovations into continuing care retirement facilities has lagged compared with other applications. Why?

Is it that aging populations are viewed as relatively “isolated” with limited social connections?

Is it because of a stereotypic view that older adults have less technological prowess?

ASU wants to learn why and identify ways to bring the benefits of connected communities to continuing care retirement facilities (CCRC). They have chosen Royal Oaks as one of just four CCRCs in the greater Phoenix area to participate in this study.

The University leads the nation in developing use-inspired partnerships with the surrounding community. The National Science Foundation recently awarded a Phase 1 grant to a team of ASU researchers to start identifying “smart” technologies that could enhance quality of life and build a sense of community in continuing care retirement communities. The findings from Phase 1 will set the direction for Phase 2, when researchers will develop novel technologies and test them in local continuing care retirement facilities.

The first step in Phase 1 is to gather input from residents Royal Oaks. Volunteers will complete a short survey that assesses the community and technology baseline in the following categories:

 

  1. Social connection. How can technology help senior residents to be connected with their social circles?
  2. Physical mobility. Many seniors have restricted options for transportation. What technology-driven services (e.g., ride-sharing, self-driven vehicles) may help improve mobility? How receptive are senior residents to these new technologies?
  3. Access to Health Information. There are a number of health information portals to inform older adults about maintaining their health. How often do senior residents seek information from these web sites or other sources for health? Is there a desire to have individual “health mentors” who are tailored to provide the most relevant health information in an easily understandable manner? Is privacy a concern in assessing healthcare portals?
  4. Health Monitoring. If we are to design sensors for senior health monitoring, what are the important factors (e.g., convenience)? What are the key expected functions of the sensors?
  5. Smart Home. Older adults on average spend 87% time indoors. What are the key factors in providing a comfortable living environment (e.g., indoor air quality, air conditioning, automatic lighting)? How important is it to automate the residential building controls (e.g., heating, air-conditioning, ventilation, water quality) to satisfy occupant’s comfort and health?

We’re eager to discover the results of this multi-phased project and hope it leads to groundbreaking technological advances.