University of South Carolina
Health Sciences South Carolina
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, South Carolina's senior (over-65) population is projected to grow by 133 percent between 2000 and 2030. As Baby Boomers age, such a profound demographic shift will stress the state's physical and financial infrastructure. Unless society devises new ways to promote independence for older adults, the healthcare system and nursing homes will soon be hard pressed to accommodate the 80-and-over population.
This Center focuses on fostering independence for senior citizens. The Center’s work falls under three major themes: SMARTBrain™, helping seniors maintain intellectual activity; SMARTWheels™, promoting independent mobility outside the home for seniors; and SMARTHome™, helping seniors maintain independent mobility inside the home.
Collaborations for SMARTHome™ technology have begun with Lutheran Homes of South Carolina, Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community and Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute. One project involves a survey to determine seniors’ acceptance of home technology and monitoring. Three levels of test homes are being created for SMARTHome™ research; Lutheran Homes has donated two homes for laboratory settings, while Still Hopes is partnering with the University of South Carolina to create research laboratories at an Innovista facility.
Several projects are being conducted for the SMARTBrain™ component on novel rehabilitative techniques for chronic stroke. One project involves using video gaming systems to help seniors restore post-stroke movement and balance. The Center also has forged a SMARTWheels™ collaboration with CU-ICAR.
In 2010, the newly opened, Duke Endowment-funded Palmetto Health-USC Mobility and Research Clinic opened and is evaluating and treating patients and collecting research data.