At Brigham Young University’s 24th annual Russell B. Clark Gerontology Conference, keynote speaker and NINR director Dr. Patricia Grady spoke to an audience of interdisciplinary students, faculty and community members about gerontological nursing research.
“Advances in medicine and public health have resulted in longer lifespans—by 2030, an estimated 72 million people, 20 percent of the total population, will be 65 and older,” she said. “This also means more people are living with chronic conditions. Through research, nurse scientists are discovering ways to make a significant difference in the health and quality of life of older adults.”
In her presentation, “State of the Science for the Aging Population,” Grady described recent developments in gerontological nursing research by highlighting NINR-supported projects including:
- The development of an inexpensive, non-wearable infrared motion sensor, which includes passive motion detectors, hand-grip sensors, stove monitors and bed sensors—all of which feed information to health care providers via a web-based interface. The sensor system monitors pulse, breathing and restlessness while sleeping and alerts health care providers to potential illness or functional decline so that they can intervene early. “This technology holds the potential to help older adults stay independent and active and to remain in their homes longer,” Grady explained.
- The multisite Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE), which tested the longevity of training to improve cognitive abilities in older people. “The results suggest that some forms of training can help older adults maintain their cognitive functioning,” Grady said.
“By building the evidence base for interventions that are culturally appropriate, accessible and effective in diverse older adults, we can advance health care and improve health outcomes for all of our citizens,” she concluded.