Helping Older Adults Age in Place: Podcast with Dr. Shaun Owens
by Sheryl Monks
JPHMP Direct TALK is a podcast series that explores the many voices of public health and brings listeners conversations that bridge the gap between research and practice.
In this episode of JPHMP Direct Talk, we highlight the work of Dr. Shaun Owens, Director of the Healthy Aging Research and Technology (HART) Lab at the University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work, whose mission is to become a leader in community-driven, transdisciplinary research toward the development of innovative technologies for health communications, health decision making, health management, and healthy aging. The HART Lab emphasizes both home and clinical translations of the technologies that come out of the lab.
“A lot of the things that we’re doing are contributing to a person’s ability to make meaningful, quality decisions about their health in hopes that if they’re able to manage their health appropriately, they may be able to maintain their independence within their residences,” says Dr. Owens.Dr. Shaun Owens @uofsccosw Healthy Aging Research and Technology (HART) Lab looks at opportunities to help #Seniors age in place with the aid of innovative technologies such as #telehealth, remote monitoring, and #SmartHome building… Click To Tweet
Our conversation focuses on the challenges — and opportunities, he is quick to point out — presented by the aging population of baby boomers that some are calling a “silver tsunami.” As AARP reports, by 2030, people over the age of 65 will outnumber those who are 18 years of age or younger. The impact of this aging demographic on public health services is raising concerns for some, but Dr. Owens is optimistic that existing technologies such as telehealth, remote monitoring, and fitness trackers, as well as emerging technologies may be able to offset some of the challenges.
“Aging in place is not only about remaining in your actual home. It’s about the total package. It’s about the community that you live in, the larger community. Your support system. Your social networks. All of these things contribute to your quality of life.”
Listen to our full conversation in the podcast below to learn more about Dr. Owens’ thoughts on how we can better design and build homes to help reduce falls and improve the success rates of older adults who will be looking to age in place in the coming years. And stay tuned for part 2 of our conversation where Dr. Owens will discuss his research in health and cancer communications with diverse populations.
Related Research in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice:
- Estimating the Economic Burden Related to Older Adult Falls by State
- Calculating State-Level Estimates of Upcoming Older Adult Health Needs
- Who’s at Risk When the Power Goes Out? The At-home Electricity-Dependent Population in the United States, 2012
- Bringing Healthy Aging to Scale: A Randomized Trial of a Quality Improvement Intervention to Increase Adoption of Evidence-Based Health Promotion Programs by Community Partners
Sheryl Monks is the Editorial Associate of the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice. She manages JPHMP Direct.