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New Smart Care center aims to make houses more livable for seniors and the disabled

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Smarter homes and better care are the goals of one of UT Arlington’s newest projects. At the Smart Care center, researchers from the College of Engineering and College of Nursing pursue technology to help senior citizens, people with disabilities, and injured veterans live healthier and longer in their own homes.

I’m proud to see that UT Arlington is once again leading the way when it comes to high-tech medical care,” says U.S. Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, who helped secure $634,500 in funding for the project from the Health Resources and Services Administration. “The technologies developed will give more seniors a chance to spend their golden years at home. Plus, Smart Care will reduce costs while at the same time allowing nurses and doctors to be more efficient with their time.”

Kathryn Daniel, a nursing assistant professor and director of UT Arlington’s Adult and Gerontologic Nurse Practitioner Program, serves as program manager.

Researchers will work with business and industry partners to integrate advanced sensors, wireless communication, and other technologies into a simulated home environment. Technologies slated for evaluation include a bathroom with a health-monitoring toilet and electronic mat, an electronic medication delivery and reminder system integrated into a computer network, and a sleep center equipped with sensors to monitor sleep disturbances.

Smart Care researchers will use UT Arlington’s Smart Hospital and lab space in the Social Work Complex to begin their work. They also plan to build relationships with area senior living centers where technology can be installed. Eventually, organizers foresee the Smart Care center being its own freestanding facility with a living environment and research stations.

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