The HealthTech Home project, a new initiative from The Brenda Strafford Foundation (BSF) and Health Cities, aims to address pressure on health systems by integrating and validating consumer technology and innovative health solutions in a residential setting.
As the largest generation of Canadians, the Baby Boomer Generation, reaches the senior age demographic, aging at home has become a priority in the health sector. Recent studies have shown aging at home can lower the cost to the health care system while enabling older adults to remain safe, independent, and connected to their homes and communities. However, understanding the technology required to support older adults to age at home is not always a straightforward selection, as many products are costly or do not integrate directly with existing consumer or health systems.
The HealthTech Home project creates a sandbox environment deployed within a BSF-owned condo unit for independent older adults that is connected to one of their continuing care homes. Health technology solutions are selected and installed to monitor the health of an independent-living condo tenant over the course of one year in an effort to slow, or reverse, any decline in health, and to aid aging in place. The selection, implementation, and evaluation of technology will build a framework that supports aging in place.
Project Deploys Consumer Health Monitoring Technology at Home
To ensure the HealthTech Home meets its objectives, an Innovation Council was formed with representation from the Government of Alberta, care delivery groups, a provincial knowledge hub for community-based senior serving organizations, post-secondary, and a national age technology organization. The established council provided insight into the HealthTech Home model development, champion the project, assist with area of technology selection, and will help to scale the HealthTech Home initiative to additional sites for greater impact. We are grateful for their contributions, commitment, and expertise provided to the HealthTech Home.
Chirp helps caregivers remotely monitor and support older adults. Their products offer a more convenient and dignified approach to home monitoring by using privacy preserving sensors. No wearables, buttons to push or devices to charge. If the user needs help, they can simply use their voice. Caregivers get peace of mind through real-time notifications and weekly activity reporting sent to their smartphone.
Rehabtronics develops technology for recovery, mobility, and independence. Their product, ReJoyce, is a rehabilitation workstation and patient evaluation tool designed to help people recover from hand and arm impairment. It motivates patients with practical games that engage patients in practicing typical activities of daily living (ADLs). The system includes the ReJoyce Automated Hand Function Test (RAHFT), which helps therapists quickly perform quantitative patient assessments, and create personalized therapy programs. With an at-home system, patients are also able to monitor their own progress with the RAHFT.
Hosted by Health Cities, Best Buy Canada, and the Brenda Strafford Foundation, key stakeholders participated in a Helpful Home Virtual Roundtable discussion to help develop a framework that can be used as a model for a helpful home in Alberta. Representatives from various sectors that have an interest in seniors and aging in place participated, including government, industry, service providers and patient groups. Outcomes of the session included identified barriers, required partners, and actions to support aging at home with technology.
Helpful Home Virtual Roundtable Summary