Pennsylvania’s aging population is growing rapidly. According to the Pennsylvania State Data Center, the number of adults age 55 or older grew by 14.2% between 2010 and 2017, the largest increase among all generational groups. Alternatives to support options for people to stay in their homes longer will reduce the pressure put on facilities that cater to older and disabled adults. The location of Penn State Harrisburg provides significant access to a large population of older adults, with six retirement communities located within fifty miles of campus. Research in the topic of “aging in place” positions Penn State University to advance innovations and apply smart technology research to help older adults and individuals with disabilities maintain or improve their heath and quality of life, as well as make our homes and buildings more accessible and sustainable. Smart Home research promises to allow more older and disabled adults to stay in their homes by creating electronic sensors and interactive devices that help care givers, family members and the home owners better monitor the health and status of these adults remotely. It also investigates expanded options for home health care, energy sustainability, and resident quality of life through optimizing technological solutions.
This initiative advances the area of Smart Home Research with the hub at Penn State Harrisburg. This hub will find ways to adapt current approaches to the technologies employed in homes, retirement facilities and in hospitals to expand the monitoring of people so that their lives can be improved. It will also explore what barriers exist to the implementation of these new technologies including needs in education, policy, cyber security, and social integration. This activity would capitalize on an extensive network of supporting enterprises and organizations that have a vested interest in advancing smart technologies for homes and healthcare in our region.
The initiative has a multi-disciplinary focus involving several public and private entities. Examples of areas we are initially exploring include the following:
- Monitoring and Assistive Technologies
- Implementation Strategies for these technologies
- Policy and Education
- Renewable Energy and Sustainability
- Quality of Life Initiatives
Please contact us if you are interested in being a partner on this project.