Will You Be Able to Age in Place?

An older business woman leaning on her desk.

Do you have any idea how many people in the U.S. are currently caring for a child, older adult, other loved one or a friend' 65.7 million?

The health care debate has stirred a lot of controversy about what role government should or should not play, but you cannot argue that there are millions of folks who are working and have caregiving responsibilities. Earlier this month I attended the inaugural Care Summit 2010 and heard from leaders of all aspects of caregiving. AARP was there, as was Gail Hunt the president and CEO of the National Alliance for Caregiving a non-profit coalition of national organizations focusing on issues of family caregiving. Several employers that provide child and elder care supports attended, along with several organizations that offer interesting ways to meet the demands and challenges posed by caregiving in the U.S. A.very interesting organization called Aging in Place Technology Watch presented. I encourage you to visit the Web site http://www.ageinplacetech.com/ Laurie Orlov, technology guru from the organization presented an interesting approach to considering how the continued evolution of technology will support the ability for older adults to stay in their homes as they grow older.

This is a key component to quality of life and the aging population. She addresses the four categories that encompass aging in place. The first is technology that supports communication and promotes individual engagement (staying interested in what's happening in the world). The second addresses home safety and security (the help I have fallen and can't get up supports). Then there is technology to support overall health and wellness (such as medication reminders, activities that exercise the brain). And finally there is technology that support learning and contributing. The goal is not just to grow older and be at home, but to continue to personally contribute and feel a part of what's important. I thought this was a nice check list that reminds us of the comprehensive ways we can support aging gracefully in the comforts of our own homes.

Written by: Andrea Wicks Bowles

About the Author

Andrea Wicks Bowles at Bright Horizons

As Senior Consultant, Director Global Initiatives, Horizons Workforce Consulting, Andrea works with Bright Horizons clients to enhance the effectiveness of their employees and strengthen their position as an employer of choice. Her knowledge of global child care policies, organizational effectiveness, and work/life industry trends combined with analytical skills is used to help clients uncover their unique issues and challenges. Andrea, a frequent speaker at work/life conferences, is a key contributor to Bright Horizons' research investigations.