Governors Get Hands-On Experiences at Aware Home

January 31, 2004

Governor Dirk Kempthorne, Chairman of the National Governors' Association and Governor for the State of Idaho , and Governor Sonny Perdue, Governor for the State of Georgia , visited the Aware Home in November of 2003 to experience hands-on demonstrations of the GVU Center Aware Home Research Initiative's latest technologies designed to promote independent and healthy aging. The distinguished list of visitors included representatives from the two Governors' offices, as well as the National Governors' Association, the Georgia Division of Aging Services, the Federal Administration on Aging, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Adult and Community Health.

NGA Chairman Governor Kempthorne is launching an initiative on long-term care and healthy aging to NGA Chairman Governor Kempthorne is launching an initiative on long-term care and healthy aging to help confront existing and future healthcare challenges in America . Georgia Tech's Vice Provost for Research Charles Liotta and the College of Computing's Imlay Dean of Computing Richard DeMillo, joined researchers of the Aware Home Research Initiative, led by members of the GVU Center, to emphasize Georgia Tech's dedication to developing new technologies to promote independent and healthy aging within the home environment. As the first wave of baby boomers will reach the retirement age within the next seven years, putting an unprecedented level of stress on the U.S. healthcare structure, it is becoming essential to develop awareness technologies that can provide assistance to the aging population, thereby enabling senior adults to stay in their own homes longer, as opposed to moving to an assisted living facility.

Former Director of the Aware Home Research Initiative and College of Computing (CoC) Associate Professor, Gregory Abowd, recently testified before both the U.S. Senate's Committee on Aging and the National Governor's Association chiefs of staff and health policy advisors, increasing state and federal level awareness of the interdisciplinary research endeavors within the Aware Home Research Initiative and encouraging the gubernatorial visit to the Aware Home. Elizabeth Mynatt, CoC associate professor and new director of the Aware Home Research Initiative as of January 1, led the Governors' visit with an overview of the AHRI, and then guided the distinguished visitors as they participated in three project demonstrations. The first demonstration, called "What was I Cooking?" illustrated Ph.D. student Quan Tran's research of memory aid technologies. Next, Psychology Professor Dan Fisk and Ph.D. students Anne McLaughlin and Yan Huang featured their work with the "Blood Glucose Monitor" project, demonstrating how technology can assist with the accuracy of self administered tests and activities. Associate Professor Irfan Essa, who is also working on the Blood Glucose Monitor project, was instrumental in addressing questions from the governors. Finally, Ph.D. student Jim Rowan provided the guests with a demonstration of the "Digital Family Portrait" project, which provides a visual display for an adult child to monitor the day-to-day activity levels of their elderly parent, who is living in a different location.