AGE-WELL teams are making remarkable strides in harnessing the power of new technologies to provide solutions for healthy aging.
From brain-strengthening games to high-tech in-home therapies, AGE-WELL researchers are producing innovations that will the improve quality of life for older people and caregivers, and create economic and social benefits.
Dr. Arlene Astell and co-investigator Erica Dove developed a group-based 20-week digital bowling program and tested it at four day centres in Durham Region attended by seniors with differing cognitive and physical abilities. Their study showed that playing the game has a range of benefits. Seniors learn a new skill, feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement, get some physical exercise and participate in it together.
Richard Ratcliffe, soon to be 91, has had his life transformed over the past three years thanks to Connections, an AGE-WELL-supported communications platform designed to prevent social isolation by keeping older adults in contact with family and friends.
“I’d be lost without it. It opened up a whole new world,” says Ratcliffe, a resident at Sunnybrook.
Vast distances and differences in expertise and experience separate Dr. Julie Robillard, a neuroscientist at the University of British Columbia, and Dr. Jesse Hoey, a computer scientist at the University of Waterloo. But the two AGE-WELL investigators are combining these diverse academic specialties in their shared determination to help older adults make better use of technology.
Hundreds of young researchers have joined AGE-WELL’s EPIC training program (Early Professionals, Inspired Careers), which prepares future innovators in the field of technology and aging. Find out why trainees value this unique program – and meet some of our amazing trainees – in this new video series.
Vancouver, BC – A new mobile app aims to help people with early dementia or mild cognitive impairment to manage daily activities and keep track of how they are doing, providing greater independence.
AGE-WELL research came to the world stage last week when network investigator Dr. Rosalie Wang presented to a session at United Nations Headquarters in New York focused on digital skills for the aging population.
Sixty per cent of people with dementia-related memory problems become lost at some point, according to the Alzheimer Society of Ontario. The number of Canadians living with dementia is expected to reach 937,000 by 2031, a 66% increase from current numbers. Given this stark statistic, it is no surprise that a policy change is underway which aims to improve the process of finding Canadians who wander or get lost.
Braze Mobility Inc. has launched an add-on system that can transform a regular wheelchair into a “smart” wheelchair able to help prevent collisions.
The novel system uses sensors to detect obstacles and provides visual, audio or vibration feedback to drivers. It can be added to any powered or manual wheelchair.
A unique online resource that allows consumers to find the right locator device for loved ones with dementia who may wander has been created through the support of AGE-WELL and the Alzheimer Society of Ontario.
The AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE) and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation (NBHRF) are pleased to announce the launch of a national innovation hub to advance policies, practices and services in the field of technology and aging.
Over eight million Canadians are caring for family members or friends. One of the biggest risks they face is injuring their backs while helping loved ones with activities such as chair and bed transfers, dressing, toileting and bathing. Enter PostureCoach—a new, wearable device that provides caregivers with real-time feedback through a vibration or an audio signal when they are in a posture that puts them at high risk for back injury.
A clinical trial funded by AGE-WELL is underway to test a novel treatment for overactive bladder (OAB), a condition that affects 18 per cent of Canadian adults—and up to 500 million people worldwide.
As a student of civil engineering, Mark Elias learned how to stabilize buildings against earthquakes and wind vibration. Now, he’s applying that knowledge to a problem that affects millions of people worldwide: hand tremors.
Elias and colleagues have developed a glove that uses the same ‘vibration damping’ technology that he studied at university and used on construction projects to decrease hand tremors from Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor and other movement disorders.
Games that run on a browser or mobile device and can be played at varying levels of difficulty are being tested as assessment and intervention tools for people with cognitive decline caused by age, disease or trauma.
Jackie struggles to find practical products, services and information online that can help her to care for her mother with dementia. “It’s hit-and-miss at best and at times overwhelming, especially if I am not sure what solutions are out there,” says the retired paramedic and nurse.
Addressing the problem Jackie describes is exactly the goal Dr. Jan Miller Polgar of Western University, and Dr. Frank Rudzicz of Toronto Rehab-University Health Network and the University of Toronto have in mind with their AGE-WELL project called CARE-RATE.
Within a few years, older Canadians could have their own affordable, mobile, intelligent robots specifically designed to help them stay healthy, independent and living at home.
Dr. Goldie Nejat, director of the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics at the University of Toronto, and Dr. François Michaud, founding director of the Interdisciplinary Institute for Technological Innovation (3IT) at Université de Sherbrooke, are leading the AGE-WELL-funded project to create assistive robots that can be used at home, as well as in hospitals, seniors’ residences and long-term care.
A new technology that analyzes a person’s natural speech to detect and monitor Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders has won the AGE-WELL Pitch Competition: Technology to Support People with Dementia.
The new tablet-based assessment tool records short samples of a person’s speech as they describe a picture – even a family photo – on the screen. It extracts hundreds of variables from the samples, producing results in under five minutes.
In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Dr. Alex Mihailidis, AGE-WELL scientific director, describes an array of ‘intelligent’ systems his team is developing to help older people and those with cognitive impairment.