Healthy Aging and Independent Living Program

Initiatives

The Healthy Aging and Independent Living Program within the Kogod Center on Aging designs, prototypes and pilots new services and technologies that can help keep older adults healthy and independent for as long as possible.

This research effort includes developing advanced technologies to promote independence; monitoring and predicting changes in function and clinical status; enacting and coordinating community-based pharmacological, physical and provider interventions; and educating patients and caregivers.

Focus areas

The centerpiece of the Healthy Aging and Independent Living Program is the HAIL Lab.

The Healthy Aging and Independent Living (HAIL) Laboratory helps researchers better understand and address the housing needs of older adults.

The HAIL Lab is a partnership between the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, the Kogod Center on Aging, and the Charter House, a continuous care retirement community that is structurally connected to Mayo Clinic.

The HAIL Lab, which is located within the Charter House, supports the concept of aging in place — helping older adults remain at home, healthy and independent. Through the HAIL Lab, researchers can develop services and technologies to help older adults remain independent.

The HAIL Lab has two mock apartments for experiments that simulate a typical home experience for older adults. The lab is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to help researchers observe and document their findings. The lab also includes space for focus groups and observations, an assistive technology lending library, and a design studio.

The HAIL Lab research team focuses on:

  • The living environment. Designing tools and environments that promote health and safety, while sustaining independence and improving quality-of-life.
  • Transitions. Investigating the planning and support necessary to prepare for and navigate major life transitions that come with aging, including social, physical and emotional changes.
  • Caregiver support and education. Addressing caregivers with targeted services and support that are better integrated into the care delivery system.

Specific projects being studied in the Healthy Aging and Independent Living Lab are:

  • Motivating healthy behaviors
  • Monitoring, managing and predicting health
  • Improving transitions between care environments
  • Adapting home for aging in place
  • Supporting caregivers

Program leadership

HAIL Lab co-directors: Nathan K. LeBrasseur, Ph.D., and Naomi L. Woychick

Watch a video about the Healthy Aging and Independent Living Program.

Transcript

Nathan K. LeBrasseur, Ph.D.

We're very obsessed with this very simple question of why do we get older. What makes us age? What is aging? I think we struggle with the very basic concept of that.

What I was witnessing in the clinical setting as a physical therapist was the fact that older individuals are struggling with doing very basic activities of daily living.

Our partnership formed when we developed a program called HAIL — Healthy Aging Independent Living. And it's an initiative where we're trying to understand ways to promote and enable older persons to live healthy and independently for longer.

Here we're actually taking clinicians and scientists and partnering them with designers, so we can try out that new technology and really kind of learn a lot about the human experience. What we're looking at are things that can be applied tomorrow. So there's nothing to kind of delay their transition into real life and people's homes to make a real impact.