The Design and Technology for Healthy Aging Initiative is a multidisciplinary effort that brings together researchers, practitioners and service providers from Georgia Tech and the Atlanta area to identify, develop and implement new design and technologies for healthy aging that respond to the real everyday needs of older adults living in a range of community housing options.
Although there are a number of active research programs devoted to healthy aging at Georgia Tech, in the College of Architecture, College of Computing, Engineering Psychology and the Center for Healthy Aging in the Built Environment, each research program has its own perspective on problems related to design and technologies to facilitate aging in-place, livable communities and improved health outcomes, and lower costs options for healthcare delivery. In addition, Georgia Tech R&D lacks integration with providers of aging services, thus making it difficult to apply new designs and technologies in practice. To further complicate the situation, aging service provision in Atlanta (like many communities) is similarly fragmented, composed of a variety of providers with unique expertise in the areas of senior housing, community and home design for healthy living, healthy aging, universal design, aging in place and livable communities. The reality, however, is that healthy aging in the community necessitates a multidisciplinary approach that is the confluence of design, planning, building construction, technology, rehabilitation and service provision inputs. To facilitate this, the initiative provides a forum that integrates the various individual efforts at Georgia Tech and the community into a unified, holistic approach. It serves as the catalyst for a major shift in the way design and technology for healthy aging is conceptualized and implemented - from R&D that is investigator-initiated and technology-centered to a need driven, user-centered approach. As such, the DATHA initiative operates in a multidisciplinary effort at intersection of design, technology and aging to advance implementable technological solutions to the community of interest.