For many people, the process of growing older is one of continual change. Decreasing physical and cognitive abilities make many familiar activities difficult or even impossible to perform. Adapting to new challenges is a major factor in aging successfully and, while some people manage this easily, there are many who require help. Traditional ways for providing this help usually involve some form of institutional setting in which the person receives the necessary help at the cost of losing some individual independence. While this approach has worked reasonably well in the past, it is no longer viable due to escalating costs, lack of facilities and a global shortage of young people available to work in the institutions.
Independence for Aging People
A global crisis in the support and care of aging people is developing due to a dramatic shift in the balance of younger and older people in the population. With people having fewer children and living longer, traditional practices for supporting aging people are breaking down. Working families and wide geographic separation make it impractical for aging parents to live with their children. Institutional support is failing because there are not enough assisted living facilities available to accommodate the increasing number of aging people who can no longer look after themselves.
Furthermore, even if sufficient facilities could be made available, there would not be enough available or willing young people to provide the necessary workforce.
The most promising strategy for limiting the demand for additional support for aging people is to extend the length of time they are able to remain independent in their own homes. iTASK can play a key role in enabling aging people to easily and confidently interact with . iTASK provides smart, supportive living environments a cost effective way for enabling aging people to control even the most complex technologies, using their own words and gestures.
Archimedes researchers are working closely with a broad range of individuals and groups of people in Hawaii to create Ho'alauna, a new technology solution that will enable Hawaii's seniors to remain connected to their family, friends and community; control their home environment; and manage their healthcare. While providing the benefits of advanced information technology, Ho'alauna completely hides the complexity of the system, making it no more difficult to use than the remote control on a TV.