Researchers from Bruyère and Carleton University will be working with occupational therapists (OTs) to better understand how consumer technology, such as Best Buy’s Healthy Homes bundles, can be used to improve quality of life for older adults aging at home.
With more and more consumer technology solutions available, researchers are looking to see how that technology is adopted and implemented in the homes of older adults. Occupational therapists are a central part of this research, as they have a critical role in recommending solutions to support older adults’ ability to perform daily activities in the home.
“We know that most older adults want to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. The home assessment is an opportunity to identify challenges in the home environment, as well as to suggest where assistive devices and technology can help support safety, independence, and wellbeing,” said Dr. Krista Whitney, co-investigator and physician at Bruyère. “Occupational therapists are care providers who have direct insights into the home and could play a role in educating older adults and their families on supportive smart home solutions.”
The project team will review how technology is currently integrated in home assessments, then look to understand how older adults are using recommended technologies to validate the benefits and identify key challenges and barriers. The team will create an approach to incorporate technology into OT recommendations. Participating occupational therapists will pilot the approach with older adults, seeking feedback on their experience, and providing their own feedback.
“Occupational therapists are experts in home assessments. How do we ensure they have information and knowledge on all the new and emerging possibilities?” asks Bruce Wallace, PhD, Executive Director of the AGE-WELL National Innovation Hub on Sensors and Analytics to Monitoring Mobility and Memory (SAM3) and investigator at the Bruyère Research Institute. “As we validate available technologies, we need to work with care providers to impact how services are delivered in our communities. We need to enable choice.”
Ultimately, understanding where and how technology is used by older adults can help clinicians, loved ones, and industry support the development and adoption of supportive smart home solutions.
“The life solutions we dream of are ones that enable independence and living well. Best Buy Health is thrilled to be partnering with the Bruyère Research Institute and AGE-WELL to make people’s homes healthier” says Sara Aghvami, Director of Best Buy Health. “Technology solutions offered by Healthy Homes bundles offer older adults the opportunity to take control of their health in their home.”
“Supporting multisectoral collaborations that foster healthy aging and advance the AgeTech sector is an important part of AGE-WELL’s mandate. We are delighted to support exciting collaborations between active members of our network like Best Buy Health, Bruyère, Carleton University and our SAM3 National Innovation Hub in order to develop and evaluate technology-driven solutions that promote aging in place,” said Alex Mihailidis, PhD, Scientific Director and CEO of AGE-WELL, Canada’s technology and aging network. AGE-WELL is a co-funder of the project with Best Buy Health.
Long-term, the team hopes to develop a clinical practice toolkit to better include consumer technology solutions in occupational therapists’ home assessment guidelines.
Bruyère is an academic health care organization training the next generation of health care leaders and using research and industry partnerships to improve care. Bruyère plays a unique role in the region’s health care system providing specialized hospital care, primary care, long-term care, and assisted and independent living for older adults while the Bruyère Research Institute focuses on finding the next generation of care for aging Canadians and vulnerable populations. To learn more about Bruyère, visit www.bruyere.org
ABOUT BEST BUY CANADA
A wholly owned subsidiary of Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY), Best Buy Canada Ltd. is one of Canada’s largest and most successful omnichannel retailers, operating the Best Buy, Best Buy Mobile, and Geek Squad (www.geeksquad.ca) brands. With over 160 Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores across Canada and an expanded assortment of lifestyle products offered through BestBuy.ca, Best Buy is a leader in total retail, catering to customers how, when, and where they want to shop. Best Buy Canada is committed to making a positive impact in the community by providing services and technology that help caregivers, enhance digital skills, and expand the reach of businesses that specialize in care. For more information, visit BestBuy.ca.
AGE-WELL is Canada’s Technology and Aging Network. The pan-Canadian network brings together researchers, older adults, caregivers, partner organizations and future leaders to accelerate the delivery of technology-based solutions that make a meaningful difference in the lives of Canadians. AGE-WELL researchers are producing technologies, services, policies and practices that improve quality of life for older adults and caregivers, and generate social and economic benefits for Canada. AGE-WELL is funded through the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence program. www.agewell-nce.ca