lose their autonomy. Winstein described a technology-based program called Preventing Falls in Aged People Living Locally, or PreFALL. This interactive app and Web-based system for health professionals and patients will enable them to use current evidence to identify and decrease risk factors for falling, identify and implement behaviors to prevent falling, and maintain healthy behaviors after one or more initial falls. It uses psychological theory, the best evidence from implementation science, and leading technology to create an interactive system that clinicians and patients can use through the convenience of their smartphone, tablet, or computer. This is an excellent example of how to close the gap between theory and practice in care for older adults and individuals with disabilities, said Winstein.

The Longevity Dividend

At the fourth corner of the pyramid is what Winstein termed the longevity dividend, which refers to the health, social, and economic benefits that result from slower aging. As an example of how to realize this dividend, Winstein described work being done at her center that uses the Kinect camera with seniors as they reach for virtual objects. By monitoring the cognitive load on participants, researchers have for the first time determined that the heightened attention during the virtual reality–based activity is associated with higher engagement in the task. The higher engagement leads to sustained participation and a more active lifestyle. The project has provided a wealth of data that improve our understanding of how these new technologies benefit those aging into and with disabilities. The increase in average lifespan was the great success of the 20th century, Winstein observed. The great challenge of the 21st century is disability.


Timothy Bickmore, Ph.D.

Northeastern University

Bickmore described a particular technology that he and his students have been developing for the past 8 years to implement health behavior change interventions. They have studied one-on-one, face-to-face counseling conversations between health providers and patients to understand the verbal and nonverbal cues that go on in such conversations. They have examined not only the verbal content of the conversations but the nonverbal channels such as the use of hand gestures for conveying information, gaze cues for taking turns, body postures, head nods for understanding, and facial displays of emotion. Face-to-face communication, in conjunction with written communication, is the best means of conveying information

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement