© 2021 Maine Public
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

New Technology Could Help More Maine Seniors Live Independently

The Senate Special Committee on Aging Wednesday heard about developments in technology and assistive devices to help older Americans live independently.

"These devices are poised to change the future of aging," says U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who chairs the committee.

Collins says the fastest growing demographic in the United States is 85 and older. With a predicted dearth of caregivers in the future, she says technology will need to fill the gap for those who want to age in place.

Maine State Long Term Care Ombudsman Brenda Gallant told the Committee that the state's Homeward Bound program, launched in 2012, has proven a success, but needs continued federal support to function.

"We've seen people come out of nursing homes after 15 years,” says Gallant “So to make sure the funding is there to provide the technology to make this possible because people do want to be independent."

Gallant says more than 140 people so far have been able to transition from nursing homes to living in the community after being assessed and matched with technology devices to help them.

The program is funded through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.