San Diego County’s Age Well Action Plan

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Like many urban areas across the globe, San Diego County has a rapidly growing population of older adults. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2030 adults over the age of 65 will represent 21% of our county’s population, compared to 13% right now.

How is our community preparing to meet the needs of older adults in the years to come?

In 2016, the County Board of Supervisors decided to join forces with AARP’s network of Age-Friendly communities as well as with the Dementia Friendly America Network to develop a vision for healthy aging in San Diego. This began a five year process of collaboration among consumers, professionals serving older adults, and county employees to build an Age Well San Diego Action Plan. With the planning phase now complete, the county and its community partners are beginning the implementation of the plan.

San Diego County’s Age Well Action Plan centers on five important themes affecting the lives of older adults in our area:

  • Health and Community Support
  • Housing
  • Social Participation
  • Transportation
  • Dementia-Friendly

Specific goals have been set within each theme area. For example, a goal in the area of social participation is to create policies that facilitate inter-generational engagement, i.e. bringing kids, adults and seniors together. Another goal, this one in the area of health and community support, is to encourage the development of village-like community support systems.

How can you get involved? Read the San Diego County Age Well Action Plan, think about the issues that are most important to you, and then join a “theme team” to participate in the goal implementation process. All members of our community are encouraged to get involved. To get a print copy of the Age Well Action Plan, or to learn more about volunteering, call 858-495-5500 or e-mail [email protected]

Windward Life Care’s team members are actively engaged in the San Diego aging community and can link you with resources to enhance your safety and quality of life. Contact us if you have questions or need help creating a plan for your well-being.

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Technology for Living Independently and With Dignity at Home

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The great majority of older adults have a strong desire to live in their own homes and communities; but many adaptations need to be made in our homes to accommodate this. Technology is one piece that empowers older adults to live in their homes with dignity.

Technology has been challenging for many mature adults to comprehend and use; first it was computers, then came smartphones, both of which required investments to own and skills to use. With the advent of voice enabled technologies and AI software (artificial intelligence), access and interaction with technology has never been friendlier. Voice assistants like the Amazon Echo or Google Home which start to retail at $49, users can in their own native language interact with a whole slew of services and hardware products which earlier could only be accessed using a computer or a smartphone.

Increasingly, the ground zero of senior well-being is now shifting to their lifestyles at home; sensors are becoming more context driven, data captured and analyzed by non-intrusive sensors and wearable devices help us predict potential health situations and challenges ahead of time moving us to the realm of predictive healthcare.

Here are the many ways that technology enables us to interact with our homes to enhance our well-being and lifestyle:

Comfort and Convenience
Control lighting switches, thermostat temperature and your entertainment system with voice commands.

Security & Safety
Routine activities and social support are especially suited for elders suffering cognitive decline. These systems detect changes in patients location or environment and provide verbal assistance as needed, or if needed, notify caregivers.

Isolation and Loneliness
Using voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home to communicate with family friends and caregivers, staying informed, ordering supplies, booking transportation, conducting basic banking, restaurant delivery services.

Monitoring & Predictive Health
Smart sensors for monitoring activity and behavior; which serve as advance warning systems for potential health challenges.
Video devices for security.
Video cameras with AI for facial recognition, automated door locks for locking, video doorbells managing visitors without getting to the front door.

Wearables for Health Analytics
Health monitoring systems to monitor blood pressure, pulse, and movement of the patient as well as environmental data, such as ambient temperature.

Fall Protection and Management
Sensors that can detect a fall both inside and outside the home and notify emergency services and caregivers in real time.

Lighting for Well-being
LED circadian rhythm lighting for normal sleep patterns, and creating a positive environment.

Going Forward
The next phase of technology for seniors is being designed using Ambient intelligence; which combines AI (artificial intelligence) and IoT (internet connected devices), will provide real-time monitoring of an environment and event-driven response to changes in that environment. Sensors designed to detect changes in sound, motion, physiological signals, as well as more generalized image processing are core components of an ambient intelligent environment.

About Smaart House

Smaart House is a San Diego based technology provider for senior care, our purpose is to empower mature adults to live independently and with dignity in their home environment and communities. We work with individual homeowners, senior care communities and assisted living facilities to integrate and adapt technology in their environments. Please visit us at www.smaart.house for more information.

The author Bijou Lulla is the Founder and CEO of Smaart House, he can be reached at [email protected].

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