When the baby boom generation reaches old age, their numbers
will overwhelm existing care systems. Fortunately there is still
time to get ready: the oldest boomers won’t reach 85 for
another 20 years.
At UB’s School of Public Health and Health Professions,
the Aging and Technology Research Center is working on a better
future for frail older people.
As its name says, the center is looking for technological
solutions to problems associated with aging. In one line of work,
the center developed an Internet health-delivery system that
produced dramatically positive results for elderly people suffering
from congestive heart failure. The system is simple: it combines
health information on congestive heart failure written specifically
for the target population; simple exercise videos for older people
with congestive heart failure—starring an older person with
congestive heart failure; and a website where users post their
daily health data so a nurse can check up on any reading outside
In a recent yearlong trial, this Internet intervention decreased
emergency room visits, hospital admissions and mortality. It saved
money and lives.
The center is experimenting with monitoring technologies for
what are called “smart houses.” This technology can
watch frail older persons—to make sure they’re okay at
any moment, to check that they’re eating, for instance, or
taking medications. When they are perfected, such technologies will
make it possible for these people to stay in their homes safely
longer than they can now.
The Aging and Technology Research Center is building a better
future for aging, something we’ll all benefit from, sooner or
later. Private support for the center—in gifts of any
size—promotes that work.