What is gerotechnologies?
Understanding perceptions and use of gerotechology is crucial to optimize design, application, and education strategies that may reduce caregiver burden, extend healthy aging in place, and minimize demands on the health care system.
A pilot project was conducted to explore attitudes, opinions, and preferences of older adults concerning the use of technology to support and extend their ability to “aging in place.”
Four major themes emerged as important for older adults to age in place:
- safety and independence
- social interaction
- use of technology in the past
- and the desire for support
“Health, Technology, and Aging” is a course developed to address three significant contemporary trends:
- aging populations
- increasingly ubiquitous technology
- and the economic imperative to encourage entrepreneurship
The course content is a blend of gerontology, informatics, and entrepreneurship designed for non-business majors. Six interdisciplinary faculty worked together and modeled synergistic teamwork for the student teams. Findings suggest that students appreciated the interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning and perceived gerotechnology as a promising market for business development.
The wide scope of gerontechnology requires involvement of many scientific disciplines because of: (i) the focus on applied practical issues; (ii) the new interface of two mega-fields that are typically diverging- Technology and Aging.
The field of Technology and Aging includes many subfields. To be more precise: The scientific and practical discipline of gerotechnology or ‘gerontechnology’, constitutes a conglomerate of a number of diverse disciplines that are typically more or less autonomous fields of research and/or application. However, the very nature of these seemingly self-contained fields, such as biomechanics, cognitive engineering, cognitive psychology, ergonomics/human factors, demands input from other fields that may not be traditionally associated with their respective core disciplines.
Given our cultural attraction to and faith in technological innovations, it was inevitable that the last life stage would attract inventers and entrepreneurs. From Japan’s Sanyo Electric Company, for instance, comes a human washing machine. To keep an eye on elderly parents, there’s Mitsubushi’s Wakamaru, a mobile speaking robot with television camera eyes. From Carnegie Mellon comes the Hug, a robotic pillow that allows grandparents to send squeezes and pats to their grandchildren when similarly equipped with their own special pillow. In addition, of course, are all of the new medical technologies, from electronic medicine dispensers to insulin pumps.
As the demographics of every state in the United States shift, various trends will have an impact not only on the economy, but also on how to sustain and maintain the services and programs provided.
Gerontology geriatrics education (2010) Volume: 31, Issue: 2, Pages: 181-197
Gerontology & Geriatrics Education Volume 31, Issue 2, 2010