A consortium led by Weill Cornell Medicine has been awarded a $14.7 million NIH grant for its research center, which focuses on emerging and existing technologies that provide support for older adults with cognitive impairments.
The Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement, or CREATE, was originally founded in 1999 to ensure older adults can use and realize the benefits of technology that improves daily living.
“We’ve matured and have a greater understanding of the issues and the nature of the populations we’re working with,” Sara Czaja, PhD, MS, professor of gerontology in medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, said in a press release. “Technology is increasingly being considered as a solution for the support needs of aging adults, and more technology products are marketed to seniors.”
CREATE has undergone four previous versions of renovation, as the landscape of aging and technology continues to change. CREATE V is a collaboration involving Florida State University, the University of Miami and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The expansion will also include three Cornell campuses: Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell Tech, as well as Cornell Ithaca.
According to the release, CREATE V will expand target populations to include older adults with mild cognitive impairment into research, and involve them in three integrated cross-site studies.
The first study will focus on how virtual reality technology can be used to foster cognitive and social engagement among aging adults. The second will focus on providing support for adults with mild cognitive impairment using innovative technologies to assess further cognitive decline. The final study will focus on developing digital assistant tools to help older adults with cognitive impairments manage health care tasks, such as enrolling in Medicare/Medicaid.
“Our specific aims are to understand how we can harness the power of technology to maintain, support and foster the emotional, cognitive and physical health of aging adults, to ultimately enhance their independence, wellbeing and quality of life,” Czaja said. “These are complex issues, but it’s very exciting.”