Bringing Communities and Technology Together for Healthy Aging

A five-year, $9.5 million grant has been awarded to a collaborative research program led by the Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies (CHESS) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The purpose of the grant is to develop innovations that help older adults remain in their homes as long as possible. The grant comes from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), whose mission is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness of health care for all Americans.

The grant will bring the center’s research team together with engineers from two other research centers based in the UW-Madison Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering: the Driving Simulation Laboratory and the RFID Laboratory. Experts from UW-Madison’s Mass Communication Research Center, geriatricians, specialists from Wisconsin’s State Bureau of Aging and Disability Resources and community advocates from around the state will also participate in the collaborative. The Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging and some of the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Centers will be implementing and demonstrating new approaches. All will work together as an Active Aging Research Center to solve the problems that often cause older adults to leave their homes: falls, unreliable home care, difficulty managing a chronic disease, and declining driving skills.

Principal investigator David H. Gustafson, professor of industrial engineering at UW-Madison, directs the project, titled “Bringing Communities and Technology Together for Healthy Aging.”  You can view a video of the kick-off and read about partner organizations:

Says Gustafson, “This study holds great potential for helping older adults continue to live long and productive lives in their own homes. It’s also an exciting opportunity for state and local governments to work together with the university to achieve this goal.”