Taylor Patskanick Presents on AgeLab Research for National Aging in Place Council

by Adam Felts

The National Aging in Place Council hosted Taylor Patskanick for a presentation on the AgeLab’s ongoing work and research. Ms. Patskanick highlighted how the Lab’s current research questions and primary domains of interest intersect with the goals of many older adults to remain in their dwellings as they age.

First, Ms. Patskanick observed, connected home technologies can play a role in aiding older adults in their homes. Sharing economy services like Uber, Lyft, Taskrabbit, and Instacart, can connect older users (and people of all ages) to on-demand services. Smart home technologies can also make the home safer, more connected, and more user-friendly.

Second, Ms. Patskanick said, the AgeLab focuses on the idea that transportation is the glue that holds our lives together. Having a plan for getting around outside of the home in older age is crucial to a plan for longevity. While many people are holding out for autonomous vehicles, the technology is further out than most of us think, and challenges will still remain such as the “last fifty feet”—how to assist the needs of riders once they are out of the car.

Third, influencing the design of new products and services so that they are accessible to people of all ages is key to making our society longevity-ready for people to age wherever they please. The AgeLab’s Age Gain Now Empathy System, or AGNES, is a tool that helps designers better imagine what tasks, objects, and spaces may feel like for someone who is older —and so design better for them.

Finally, Ms. Patskanick said, with more people living longer, more of us will require care—or will provide care—at some point in our lives. Understanding the experiences of caregivers and care recipients—and for individuals, having a plan in place for care throughout the lifespan—is essential for a world where people can live where they want to as they age.

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About the Author

Photo of Adam Felts
Adam Felts

Adam Felts is a researcher and writer at the MIT AgeLab. Currently he is involved in research on the experiences of family caregivers and the future of financial advice. He also manages the AgeLab blog and newsletter. He received his Master's in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Boston University in 2014 and his Master's of Theological Studies from Boston University in 2019.

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