Senior Living Full Court Press Meets on Community-Based Senior Living, Dementia Care, and Technology

The November 1 Senior Residential Living Full Court Press meeting focused on creative models for community-based senior living. Through guest presentations on urban aging, living with dementia in the community, and applications of innovative technology, the team explored ways to maximize health and supportive care for older adults.

The team viewed a presentation by a group of fellows who developed and pitched a new model of senior care as part of the 2021 Patient Safety Fellowship, which offered a unique opportunity for participants to explore the challenges and opportunities facing senior residential living and senior care. The fellows developed a new model that supports safe living for community-dwelling seniors. Their proposed solution, urban aging, revolves around seniors' needs based on their level of independence, offers cottages paired with green spaces, and integrates smart technology.

JHF Senior Quality Improvement Specialists and Dementia Friends Pennsylvania Coordinators Stacie L. Bonenberger, MOT, OTR/L, and Anneliese Perry, MS, NHA, then presented on opportunities for providing supportive, compassionate care for people in the community living with dementia. Their presentation highlighted that more than two-thirds of people living with dementia are community-dwelling and need some sort of supportive services. These individuals often live alone and are cared for by their families. They emphasized the need for support to ensure that care partners can sustainably provide care while remaining healthy themselves and adequately financed. Bonenberger and Perry discussed Pennsylvania's response to needs of people living with dementia and how Dementia Friends Pennsylvania has collaborated with state leadership to increase awareness of dementia across the Commonwealth, particularly the program's inclusion in the State Plan on Aging 2020–2024. They noted ongoing opportunities to arrange Dementia Friends sessions for individuals, organizations, schools, or businesses and encouraged Full Court Press Team members to contact them if they were interested in arranging sessions for their organizations.

Reid Simmons, PhD, research professor in robotics and computer science, and John Zimmerman, PhD, Tang family professor of artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction (HCI) of Carnegie Mellon's HCI Institute, then presented on National Science Foundation AI-CARING (Artificial Intelligence Institute for Collaborative Assistance and Responsive Interaction for Networked Groups), for which they had been awarded a grant. This collaboration aims to establish interactive, intelligent technology that can support older adults and their care network. Examples include supporting day-to-day activities, mitigating cognitive decline, and assisting through abrupt life changes. Dr. Simmons and Dr. Zimmerman asked for the Full Court Press Team's insights on the applications of artificial intelligence for seniors and their caregivers. The team discussed needs and opportunities around medication adherence, emergency preparedness, tailoring voice-activated technology for people with Parkinson's, providing transportation, and supporting the differing needs of rural residents. In addition, the team emphasized the importance of fitting technology to the needs and cognitive capacity of each senior, avoiding stigma associated with use of assistive technology, introducing technology before it is needed, ensuring seniors and care teams have appropriate access to data collected by technology, and gaining seniors' trust to encourage adoption of technology.

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