While aging affects everyday living in many ways, the latest technological advances in the medical, consumer and lifestyle fields have the potential to help older adults live better for longer.
The UCLA Center on Aging's second annual "UCLA Technology and Aging Conference: Living Better Longer Through Technology" will feature national academic and industry leaders who will explore cutting-edge innovations affecting every aspect of senior life, from driving and home design to health monitoring and medical advances. The one-day symposium takes place Friday, Oct. 30, at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
Designed for seniors, their families and caretakers, the conference will provide information to help enhance quality of life, with a focus on everyday things seniors can do to live and thrive independently longer. Many conference speakers have been featured in the national media for their research and work in the field.
"Building on last year's successful event, we hope to continue sharing the latest cutting-edge advances and exploring how these innovations can help us age more successfully," said Dr. Gary Small, UCLA's Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging and director of the UCLA Center on Aging.
Small's morning keynote address will explore how frequent use of technologies such as cell phones, video games, BlackBerrys, iPods and computers impact the brain. He will present the latest research demonstrating how surfing the Internet may stimulate and possibly improve brain function in middle-aged and older adults, as well as strategies and tools to help individuals adapt and excel in this modern age.
David H. Murdock, chairman and owner of Dole Food Co. and Castle & Cooke, will deliver a luncheon keynote address discussing successful aging through good nutrition and active living.
A special lifetime achievement award from the UCLA Center on Aging will be presented to Dr. S. Jerome Tamkin and Judith D. Tamkin, whose outstanding contributions to society and active living exemplify the center's motto, "living better longer." The award introduction will be made by Dr. Gerald S. Levey, UCLA vice chancellor for medical sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and the presentation will be made by legendary radio and TV personality Art Linkletter.
An afternoon keynote address by Dr. Kathryn A. Atchison, vice provost of intellectual property and industry relations at UCLA, will address the future development and direction of technology for senior living.
Conference breakout sessions will take place throughout the day, designed around two key themes: "Aging in Place" will focus on technologies that will enable older adults to live longer and better in the comfort and safety of their own homes, and "Aging Healthier Longer" will address cutting-edge developments in disease management and treatment, adaptive and assistive devices and techniques, emotional health, and function and sensory enhancements.
Panels will include:
Architecture and Design: Designing for Independence
Panelists discuss home and community design to keep adults independent longer, including new construction and retrofitting and enhancing current homes for independence and safety. (Glen Simmons, Dahlin Group Architects; Jane Regan, HB Building & Design; Valerie Fletcher, Institute for Human Centered Design)
Behind the Wheel: Advances in Transportation and Driving for Seniors
Panelists discuss the effects of aging on driving ability, as well as safety programs and products, including a camera-based early warning system, to enhance awareness and effectiveness behind the wheel. (Dr. Jaime Fitten, UCLA Brain Research Institute; Anita Lorz, Automobile Club of Southern California; Skip Kinford, Mobileye Corp.)
Activity Sensors: Monitoring Behavior for Safety and Peace of Mind
Panelists discuss wireless and "smart" home monitoring technologies, including cellular-based locator systems, that can track behavior and give early warning of potential hazards like falls or accidents. (Charles Hillman, GrandCare Systems; Kellerey Lohman, Ingenium Care; Lisa Brodsky, EmFinders)
The Wired Senior: Computers and Connectivity
Panelists discuss the latest products and services to help seniors work with computers and the Internet — primary sources of information and social connections. (Richard Mander, Big Screen Live; Laura Nuhaan, Famililink; Peter Radsliff, Presto)
Med-Tech: Medical Treatment Technologies
Panelists explore advances in surgery and medical care — including telesurgery, new tumor treatments, long-term delivery of medications and surgical suite techniques — that are changing how care is delivered. (Dr. Neil Martin, UCLA professor and chairman of neurosurgery; Dr. Percy Lee, director of stereotactic body radiation therapy at UCLA's Jonnsson Cancer Center)
Not Science Fiction: Future Health Care Advances
Revolutionary health care technologies may radically change the physical effects of aging in the near future. Panelists examine some promising areas of research, including the use of nanotechnology to treat brain tumors, computer chips to help enhance function in a damaged brain, and stem cells to reverse aging degeneration. (Dr. Benham Badie, director of the brain tumor program at City of Hope; Dr. Irina Conboy, assistant professor of bioengineering and investigator at the Berkeley Stem Cell Center and California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences)
Staying in Balance: Fall Prevention and Recovery
Panelists discuss reducing the occurrence of falls suffered by seniors through balance training, exercise, gait modification and new products, including a "smart cane." (Dr. William Kaiser, UCLA professor of electrical engineering; Chris Otto, Halo Monitoring; Karen Hunt, Cequal Products Inc.)
Tele-Health: Remote Health Monitoring and Diagnosis
Panelists explore technologies that allow doctors to interact with patients and provide checkups without patients having to leave their home or care facility. (Steve Winner, Silverado Senior Living; Kent Dicks, MedApps; Dr. Nitin Nanda, Asana Telehealth)
Designing for Seniors: Consumer Products for Better Living
Panelists discuss how everyday living can be enhanced by products that meet the daily needs of consumers age 55 and older. (Mark Hines, Verizon Wireless; Bud Meyers, FirstStreet for Boomers and Beyond; Jeff Hill, MyGait, LLC)
Mind Games: Preserving and Enhancing Brain Function
"Brain games" and other electronic programs and activities that stimulate the brain and lead to better memory and brain function have surged into the marketplace. Industry panelists, joined by UCLA's Dr. Gary Small, who has been involved in the development of Dakim's brain-training software, will explore these products and the science behind their development. (Jeff Zimman, Posit Science; Dan Michel, Dakim Inc.)
Living Well: Emotional Health and Quality of Life
Panelists discuss improving health and quality of life through the latest products in sports, exercise, entertainment and stress relief that promote, inform and enrich an active lifestyle. (Dr. Ernie Medina, MedPlay Technologies; Bruce Cryer, HeartMath; Charles De Vilmorin, LinkedSenior)
Good Senses: Adapting for Vision and Hearing Loss
Panelists explore device solutions to help improve reduced vision or loss of hearing, which can impact confidence and ability to interact and engage with the world. (Michele Ahlman, Clearsounds Communications; Marc Stenzel, Enhanced Vision)
The Oct. 30 conference runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Skirball Cultural Center. For registration and more information, call 310-794-0676 or visit www.aging.ucla.edu/TechAgingConference.html. A full program description is also available on the website.
The UCLA Center on Aging is a nonprofit organization that aims to enhance and extend productive and healthy life through research and education on aging. Founded in 1991, the center brings geriatrics and gerontology to the forefront of public awareness and support and offers a number of programs to the public, including memory training, the Senior Scholars program and community meetings, as well as conferences on aging and technology and research.