People on the Move – Andrew Carle

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Term used to define technology intended to improve care for the elderly

FAIRFAX, Va.””George Mason University’s Andrew Carle, assistant professor for the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) and director of its program in assisted living/senior housing administration, recently gave a name to the multibillion dollar industry serving the rapidly-growing seniors population — what he, and now others, refer to as “Nana” technology.

“This industry has exploded over the past few years with the aging of the baby boomers,” said Carle. “Yet, there was no single term to describe the innovative new products being created to help improve the lives of older adults.”

Carle specifically defines “Nana” technology as “technology designed, intended or that can otherwise be used to improve quality of life for seniors.” Carle further defines five categories for the technologies that are being produced or developed by companies such as Intel, GE, Philips and Kimberly-Clark, among others:

  • Health products, such as robotic medication dispensers designed to reduce errors;
  • Safety products, such as wireless sensors that can track movements, location, and identify falls;
  • Cognition products, such as computer software programs that quiz elderly residents or patients regularly and send the data to a health care professional or family member;
  • Lifestyle products that provide a convenience factor for seniors, such as mailbox sensors that alert the user that mail has been delivered; and
  • Whole-house/whole-facility products that provide overall home monitoring and management.

“Nana technology has the potential to serve the entire seniors population, whether living independently or in a community,” Carle added. “The applications are endless, and we will continue to see the development of these products over the next two decades.”

Carle’s term has been featured in USA TODAY and is being used widely in the industry. The program has recently signed an agreement with The Mature Market Resource Center to establish annual “Nana Technology” awards as part of a national competition recognizing the best new products and technologies for the elderly. The first “Nana’s” are scheduled to be presented in each of the five categories in 2007.

Carle has more than 20 years of senior housing and healthcare management experience, and is a nationally known presenter and writer on the seniors housing and care industry. He was one of 15 executives nationally to be named to the Expert Panel on Assisted Living of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), and has received numerous awards for his work in the field.

About the Program in Assisted Living/Senior Housing Administration
The Program in Assisted Living/Senior Housing Administration offers the nation’s first undergraduate and graduate curriculum dedicated solely to this rapidly growing field. The program is designed to provide graduates with the operational, marketing, resident care and hospitality services skills required to become effective leaders and managers of assisted living/senior housing communities. Equally important, the program provides exposure to and understanding of the unique philosophy of assisted living/senior housing relative to choice, dignity, autonomy and quality of life for older adults.

About George Mason University
George Mason University
has the largest total student enrollment in Virginia and is the fifth-largest residential institution in the state. Located near Washington, D.C., in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor, George Mason boasts the first doctoral programs in bioinformatics, computational science and conflict resolution, and its economics program is the only one in the world with two Nobel Prize recipients. Founded in 1979, Mason’s School of Law is recognized by “U.S. News and World Report” as one of the top 50 law schools in the United States.

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