Connected Communities: Smart Home for Independence, Social Interaction, Safety and Comfort in Aging Individuals | MEKTU | NB-IRDT | UNB

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NB-IRDT

Connected Communities: Smart Home for Independence, Social Interaction, Safety and Comfort in Aging Individuals

Lead organization: Government of New Brunswick, Department of Health and Horizon Health Network

Principle investigator(s): Marla Calder

About the project:

The issue

Many older adults have health conditions that impact their ability to do daily activities such as socializing, leisure, self-care, and household tasks. Challenges with these activities may adversely impact the well-being of older adults and their caregivers.  This pilot will educate older adults and their caregivers about mainstream technologies that are available to support their daily living and facilitate ageing in place.

The importance

Over a third of older adults in New Brunswick have a health condition that affects their activities of daily living. Mainstream technologies can provide inexpensive and easy to use devices that can promote connectedness, reduce isolation, and increase independence among older adults and decrease the stress on their caregivers. However, older adults may have concerns about the safety, usefulness, and cost-effectiveness of these technologies or be unsure of which ones are right for them. The Connected Communities program aims to address these barriers to technology use and increase the use of these technologies to age in place. 

What makes this project different

A team at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation has developed the Connected Communities program to provide older adults with the opportunity to hear about, and get a hands-on opportunity to try, assistive technology while presenting it in a way that relates to an individual’s daily routine. The program includes six classes presented by an occupational therapist. The classes will address concerns such as isolation, aging at home, and supports for daily living.

Anticipated impacts

Given the timeline, this pilot project will be evaluated for impacts on the individual.

Our outcome measures aim to evaluate the effect of the Connected Communities program on independence, social isolation, technology use, safety and comfort and caregiver burden.

Based on previous research if improvements can be made to areas like medication regimes and social isolation, common areas of concern for seniors then the potential is there to reduce health service use and delay admission to long term care. In addition, we hope to see an impact on caregiver burden.

Based on the results of this pilot, future research could look to scale up the program, explore effects on health care utilization and modules/ program could be used in government and community settings.

 

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