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Briefing Paper: Technologies to Help Older Adults Maintain Independence: Advancing Technology Adoption

2009 | Download

Americans are living longer. And despite the health challenges of longevity, a majority of older adults hope to remain in their homes as long as possible. Fortunately, many technologies have the potential to help older adults maintain their independence and health.

Technology is an enabler in creating systems of health and longterm care that are more integrated and reliable, and that address the needs of older adults in a more efficient and effective way. If these technologies could also mitigate the workforce shortages and financial burdens that are inherent to long-term care today, both older adults and society at large will benefit.

Created by PHI's Center for Technology and Aging, this paper is intended to inform potential grant applicants and other key stakeholders, including older adults, health and social service practitioners, technology vendors, payers, policy makers/regulators and others about technologies that are ready to be quickly taken to scale.

Download the report.

Drawing from the array of existing telemonitoring, telehealth, assistive, and communication technologies that are used in the management of chronic disease, we identify specific technology domains that have proven benefits and have significant potential for diffusion. We further identify those technologies that offer the greatest opportunity to accelerate the pace of diffusion; have the support of a long-term, sustainable business model; and have the greatest likelihood of alignment with public and private policies designed to improve outcomes and reduce spending. As the Obama Administration starts on the path toward health reform, the need to improve the delivery of care for older adults in home and community settings will be unavoidable. The broad diffusion of transformative technologies offers a significant means to advance the effort of improving quality and reducing cost of care.


Supported by a grant from The SCAN Foundation, the Center for Technology and Aging was established to advance the diffusion of technologies that help older adults lead healthier lives and maintain independence. The Center will identify promising technologies and adoption strategies, and provide grant funding to test these strategies. In collaboration with grantees and key stakeholders, the Center will identify and disseminate best practices and lessons learned from grantmaking initiatives. The Center will promote further adoption of successful technologies and serve as a state and national resource for those involved in this arena.

The SCAN Foundation is dedicated to finding innovative solutions to the health and longterm care needs of older adults in California and throughout the nation. The Foundation’s vision is a society where older adults receive medical treatment and human services that are integrated in the setting most appropriate to their needs and have the greatest likelihood of creating a healthy, independent life.