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Georgia Institute of Technology
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Communication Technologies for Inclusion Across Housing Options

Depression is a growing health concern among the aging population affecting nearly 7 million aging adults in this country. Depression has been identified by the Centers for Disease Control as one of four opportunity areas that should be addressed to improve older Americans' health and quality of life. While studies of computing communication technologies within the aging population suggest that family communication and community support have a significant impact on reducing isolation, as a major cause of depression, and encouraging healthy aging, few studies have examined the role of intrapersonal communication and how technologies might be a portal to avoid loneliness. The goal of the proposed research project, that falls under the Health Systems Institute (HSI) research priority area of "Health and the Home", is to identify communication needs of older adults living independently across a range of housing options and to develop an inclusive communication device to help these individuals maintain personal and social connections within their communities. This understanding of interpersonal and intrapersonal communication needs and development of communication technology will create new opportunities for social inclusion and as such, the project has the potential to result in improved health outcomes (i.e., decreased depression) for older adults.

Investigators: Claudia Winegarden (GT, Architecture), Brian Jones (GT, Interactive Media)

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