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How Technology Can Improve the Lives of Older Adults

Joseph Coughlin, the founder and director of MIT’s AgeLab, shares his insights on aging in place.

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What should we consider when creating homes for the long term?

Despite popular notions about people moving back to the city or the boom in senior housing, so far the vast majority of the baby boomers at the leading edge or the "Silent Generation" just ahead of them want to age in place. Their marriages, their mortgages, and their memories are in the homes they live in. For those who do want to move, they need homes that are for a lifetime, not a lifestyle. That means homes that are profoundly flexible, that are open and easy to negotiate, that optimize physical and emotional well-being, and that facilitate activities as well as visitors—not just family and friends but the home-care professionals who are going to be coming to your home as regularly as the mailman.

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