Optimal Aging event focuses on tech innovation

November 13, 2017
    Maureen Markle-Reid and Ruta Valaitis, School of Nursing, present on transforming stroke rehabilitation during the Technology + Design for Optimal Aging networking event on Nov. 9.

More than 50 researchers, graduate students and industry partners gathered on Thursday to explore new opportunities to collaborate and enhance aging research through technological innovation.

Held at the Alumni Memorial Building, the Technology & Design for Optimal Aging event offered a chance for those interested in aging to network and share knowledge on various research topics.

The event was a partnership between the Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging within the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging, the Faculty of Engineering and McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences.

“MIRA really focuses on creating new interdisciplinary connections,” said Laura Harrington, Managing Director, McMaster Institute for Research on Aging.

“We know that bringing different perspectives to a project or an initiative is a great way to make sure that the outcomes are best positioned to have an impact on the aging population.”

Researchers presented their age-related projects in a variety of areas, such as improving transportation for seniors, fitness, stroke rehabilitations, and smart home technologies.

“Events like this are absolutely essential given the complexity of the population that we are dealing with,” said Maureen Markle-Reid, Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Co-Scientific Director, ACHRU. “One single discipline or Faculty can’t address all of the different issues relating to optimal aging. We have to work together.” 

Several breakout sessions were held to allow researchers from different disciplines, including nursing, business, engineering, health sciences and communications, to brainstorm ways of working together.

“Many of our engineering researchers are working on technologies that can be adapted to help older adults,” said John Preston, Associate Dean Research & External Relations.  “This is a good opportunity to explore synergies with other academic disciplines.”