Aging in Place

The first baby boomer born in 1946 turned 65 a few years ago and the last baby boomer will turn 65 in 2029.  By then, the total U.S. population over 65 will increase 75%, and in some states the increase will be even larger.  Cardiovascular diseases comprise approximately 17% of the nations’ total health expenditures and the cost will likely increase with the aging population.  90% of people want to grow old in their home and community and remain out of the hospital, nursing home or other institutional setting.

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New technologies could potentially allow older adults and people with disabilities to remain in their homes longer, reduce health care costs and enhance the quality of life. In 2013, a group led by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to investigate innovative in-home monitoring technologies to enhance health while aging in place (e.g., BP monitoring, medication adherence aids).   This sort of project fits well within the NIH’s mission since the growing aging population will include a large contingent of those with one or more health conditions, especially cardiovascular disease.  In a healthcare environment where decision-making is increasingly evidence-based, the lack of published, quantitative information on the effectiveness of in home technologies can dramatically inhibit adoption among providers and patients.  Shared information between groups led to the conclusion that a 2 day workshop is needed to formulate a research agenda for this important area.