New Technologies in Elder Care

Jerry Jacobs, Sociology, the University of Pennsylvania

Abstract: This study of new technologies in elder care is a multi-faceted project designed to better understand technological adoption both by elder-care institutions such as Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) and elderly individuals in their homes. New technologies such as health monitors, breathing systems, and cardiac sensors can be adopted both in the institutional setting and at home. Understanding the rate and success of adoption across these two settings will shape the future of medical care costs as well employment trends in this area. Only by studying the industry as a whole rather than its distinct segments will this picture become clear. In many cases, such as telemedicine and medical data systems, institutional settings might appear to have a distinct advantage, but it may be that accessing these systems from home will enable elders to delay entry into institutional care. I am working with an elder-care staffing company as part of this project. Funds are request to attend conferences and trade shows that will help me better understand emerging technologies and their potential impact on this important, expensive and growing sector of our economy and society.