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What role can technology play in enhancing the ability of seniors to age in place—in homes and in communities? View the full forum.

By Loren Colman

The Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Continuing Care Administration has worked for the past several years to beef up the use of technology to help seniors age in place in their homes and communities. We have utilized grants within our community service/community Development grant program to fund providers that will move technology out of campus settings into the homes of seniors in the community. Prior to our efforts, the development and use of technology had largely been driven by providers of campus and congregate settings. Our senior housing industry has used technology in many ways, including substituting technology for staff, use of sensors to track frail elderly for urinary tract infection and falls, and for emergency response.

Our goal is to get technology into the homes of seniors who are still in the community. Once the technology is tried in the home, we will have a better sense about how seniors and their families use it and how they view its value. We are also interested in helping providers develop a sustainable business model for placing technology in seniors’ homes, so they can continue to offer these services when the grant funds are finished.

Included below are links to several of the websites of organizations we have funded to develop and place technology in the homes of seniors.

The Lutheran Home Association’s projects:

The Knute Nelson Communities’ projects:

Loren Colman is assistant commissioner of Continuing Care for Older Adults.

Welcome to the BPC Health and Housing Expert Forum. Each month contributors from different parts of the health and housing sectors will be invited to respond to a discussion topic. Have a question you’d like us to consider? Please leave it in the comments.

Any views expressed on this forum do not necessarily represent the views of the Health and Housing Task Force, its co-chairs, or the Bipartisan Policy Center.