Green Cove Cooperative and Retirement Miramichi Inc. have joined forces to provide a demonstration project and open laboratory for seniors and healthy living in place or residence. Our partners for the applied research end of the project (established in a meeting last August, 2017) are the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, NB Department of Health, NB Department of Social Development, and Dr. Eric Scheme (Chair at UNB in Innovation Research Medical Devices and Technologies).

Representing a community of nearly 500 seniors we want to take charge of our healthy ageing by building a technological infrastructure to promote feedback of accurate and timely information about one’s health status.

To do this will require the voluntary collection of data on any and all related activities which monitor and give feedback for the variables promoting healthy living: from personal critical care decisions like heart rate, blood pressure, and pulse, to routine daily living activities such as appliance use (fridge, stove, lights) and night movements (fall risk, toilet visits).

Input devices can range from personal health data collected from blood pressure readings, blood sugar levels, heart rate monitoring, mobile duress devices, and so on, to other kinds of sensors monitoring activity in the environment like motion detectors such as door alarms, cupboard,  to appliances: fridge, and oven/range/microwave use – etc.

Personal data would be used by residents for monitoring of personal situational health issues – both those existing and those emerging…as may be indicated by ongoing monitoring (thus providing a significant preventative component to ageing well in place). Residents can take appropriate situational responses to existing conditions as well as emerging health-related concerns: schedule an appointment with their Dr., see a diabetes educator, talk with an occupational therapist, get more exercise, eat more calories.

Aggregate data can also be shared with the larger community of participants.  The feedback would show how we are doing as a community. Community initiatives could be launched.  Aggregate data on blood pressure could result in initiatives to “lower” the aggregate scores over a month by having education of meditative practice – engaging in the practice and measuring the results.  In a sense, a whole slew of health-related behaviour could be “gamified” in a way that would galvanize and create some vitality in the community taking care of itself.

At this juncture the pace of change in technology is dizzying – and what we think might be a good idea today could easily be outstripped with better technology tomorrow.  Surely the nature and quality of the input devices will change – but the data and its use will remain as the paramount ingredient to monitor and situationally respond to factors which affect healthy living and aging.

What we need is a place to start.  Funding from the federal government monies being dispersed to the provinces in the “Healthy Seniors Pilot Project”.  Funding for the research project*, itself, Funding for the initial devices. Funding for the data storage, Funding for the software and related methods to make the data usable for personal and environmental situational responses for healthy living.

We want to take charge of our health and data will help us do this.  Ageing well in place with less chronic illness will save the taxpayers incalculable amounts of money.  We would like to be a model community of healthy seniors that can be replicated across the province.

*…possibly we should be considering a joint proposal from Dr. Scheme and our communities.

Vernon’s comments: a smartphone with a GPS tracker can provide a heck of a lot of situational information.  

Think about it.  

Bathroom visits, duration, visit to other places, exercise. ………… endless.  

Just thoughts.