Researchers are studying new technology to improve safety for independent seniors

Lisa Wurth

July 7, 2011

Gerontologists at the Oregon Center for Aging and Technology are currently studying the effectiveness of in-home technology to screen for illness and infirmity in elderly people who live at home, according to the Kansas City Star.

The scientists tell the news source that their study aims to improve the ability of elderly individuals to remain in their homes as they grow older because independent living can be better for quality of life and provide an inexpensive alternative to institutionalized and group home living situations.

The scientists are also testing equipment that can observe breathing patterns and heart rates while elderly individuals are asleep. If the study goes well, this technology may become commercially available, and combined with medical alert systems, may be able to assist older individuals should they suffer a health problem or an accident that medical assistance.

According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, approximately 30 percent of older individuals were living alone in 2009. Technology such as personal emergency response systems can allow elderly people to continue to live independently.

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