GMU Professor Names Top “NANA” Technologies for Elders in 2010
List Describes Technologies that Can Improve Quality of Life for Older Adults
In honor of National Grandparents Day and Assisted Living Week, George Mason University
professor Andrew Carle has released his annual list of the best high-tech products for older adults. Carle,
director of Mason’s Program in Assisted Living/Senior Housing Administration, coined the term “Nana”
Technology in 2004 to define the growing industry of microchip-based products for seniors. “With the first
of 78 million Baby Boomer’s turning 65 on January 1st, these technologies will become an integral part of
our society,” says Carle.
Top “Nana” Technologies for 2010 include:
1. GlowCaps™: “Individuals 65 and older are 12% of the population but consume one third of all
prescription medications,” says Carle. Medication errors in turn are among the largest cause of
hospitalizations among seniors.
Designed to replace the cap on standard prescription bottles, GlowCaps include an embedded microchip
that provides both light and sound reminders at programmed times. Failure to remove the cap triggers a
wireless, automated phone call to a family member or professional caregiver – who may also receive
weekly email reports. The caps can additionally “call” a pharmacy to order refills as pills deplete.
Available through participating pharmacy providers. http://www.vitality.net
2. Wellcore™: An update of the wearable emergency pendant, the Wellcore activity monitor resembles a
stylish pedometer, while incorporating automatic “fall detection” technology, 24/7 call center assistance,
and daily activity reporting for wearers or caregivers. The device can also be coupled with a compatible
cell phone to allow access to services outside the home. According to Carle, the device, “Removes the
stigma of wearing a ‘granny pendant’, while allowing emergency response when the wearer is outdoors,
or even unconscious.” Base unit and activity monitor beginning at $199, monthly service beginning at
3. DriveSharp™: A computer-based program, DriveSharp users “click” through 20-minute, 3-5 days per
week training programs consisting of exercises that sharpen both attention and peripheral vision. In
studies the program demonstrated a 50% reduction in crash risk, 200% increase in field of vision, and a
reduction in stopping distance of 22 feet among participants. According to Carle, the ability to maintain
driving skills in later years is significant. “Once seniors lose the ability to drive it’s easy for them to
become prisoners in their own home, which exacerbates all the issues of aging.” $89, $69 for AAA
4. ActiveONE™ – Personal Assistance Locator (PAL): Dubbed by Carle as an “OnStar™ for people”,
the “PAL” is a cell-phone size device providing 24/7 live operator assistance at the bush of a button.
Services range from emergency assistance and falls detection, to medication reminders, directions, or
placing phone calls to a family member. The device additionally includes GPS tracking and “geo-fencing”
capabilities, sending an alert if the user wanders beyond a programmed distance from the home or other
location. From $59.99/month. www.activecare.com
Carle is an internationally recognized expert on senior housing, care, and technology. His work in “Nana”
Technology has been featured in or on CNN, CNBC, USA Today, US News & World Report, NPR,
Agence France Presse, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, among others. The list reflects his
opinions and is not based on formal criteria.
About George Mason University
Named the #1 national university to watch in 2009 by U.S. News & World Report, George Mason
University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields.
Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural
experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country. Mason offers strong
undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational
psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting
groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George
Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university. George Mason University—
Where Innovation Is Tradition.