Using technological innovations and data science to inform and improve health care services and health outcomes for older adults
JMIR Aging is an open-access journal that focuses on digital health, emerging technologies, health informatics applications, and patient education for preventative care, clinical care, home care, and self-management support for older adults. The journal also covers aging-focused big data analytics using data from electronic health record systems, health insurance databases, federal reimbursement databases (e.g. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid), and other large datasets.
The target audience of JMIR Aging includes physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, advanced clinical practitioners, patients and caregivers. We publish original research, viewpoints, and reviews (both literature reviews and technology reviews). In 2023, JMIR Aging received an inaugural Journal Impact Factor™ of 4.9 (Source: Journal Citation Reports™ from Clarivate, 2023). JMIR Aging is indexed in PubMed, PubMed Central, DOAJ, Scopus, and the Emerging Sources Citation Index (Clarivate).
Informal carers play a major role in supporting relatives and friends who are sick, disabled, or frail. Access to information, guidance, and support that are relevant to the lives and circumstances of carers is critical to carers feeling supported in their role. When unmet, this need is known to adversely affect carer resilience and well-being. To address this problem, Care Companion was co-designed with current and former carers and stakeholders as a free-to-use, web-based resource to provide access to a broad range of tailored information, including links to local and national resources.
Homebound older adults are a high-risk group for depression. However, many of them face barriers to accessing evidence-supported mental health treatments. Digital mental health interventions can potentially improve treatment access, but few web-based interventions are explicitly tailored for depression in older adults.
As the older adult population in the United States grows, new approaches to managing and streamlining clinical work are needed to accommodate their increased demand for health care. Deep learning and generative artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to transform how care is delivered and how clinicians practice in geriatrics. In this editorial, we explore the opportunities and limitations of these technologies.
The World Health Organization, Center of Disease Control, and the Gerontological Society of America have made efforts to raise awareness on ageist language and propose appropriate terms to denote older adult population. The Covid-19 pandemic and older adults’ vulnerability toward the pandemic has perpetuated hostile, ageist discourse on social media. It is an opportune time to understand the prevalence and use of ageist language and discuss ways forward.
The responsibilities of being a primary caregiver for a loved one with dementia can produce significant stress for the caregiver, leading to deleterious outcomes for the caregiver’s physical and psychological health. Hence, researchers are developing eHealth interventions to provide support for caregivers. Members of our research team previously developed and tested a positive emotion regulation intervention that we delivered through videoconferencing, in which caregiver participants would meet one-on-one with a trained facilitator. Although proven effective, such delivery methods have limited scalability because they require significant resources in terms of cost and direct contact hours.
Alzheimer disease and Alzheimer disease–related dementia represent complex neuropathologies directly challenging individuals, their families, and communities in the United States. To support persons living with dementia, family or informal caregivers often encounter complex financial, psychological, and physical challenges. A widely used solution such as a consolidated web-based assistance or guidance platform is missing, compounding care challenges.
Research suggested that institutionalization can increase the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. To date, recent studies have reported a growing number of successful deployments of virtual reality for people with dementia to alleviate behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia and improve their quality of life. However, virtual reality has yet to be rigorously evaluated since the findings are still in their infancy, with non-statistically significant and inconclusive results.
Informal caregivers of people with dementia frequently experience chronic insomnia, contributing to stress and poor health outcomes. Rural caregivers are particularly vulnerable but have limited access to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), a recommended frontline treatment for chronic insomnia. Web-based delivery promises to improve insomnia, particularly for rural caregivers who have limited access to traditional in-person treatments. Our team translated an efficacious 4-session standard CBT-I content protocol into digital format to create NiteCAPP.
The promotion of physical activity in individuals with dementia living in nursing homes is crucial for preserving physical and cognitive functions and the associated quality of life. Nevertheless, the implementation of physical activity programs in this setting is challenging, as the time and expertise of nursing home staff are limited. This situation was further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mobile health apps may be a sustainable approach to overcome these challenges in the long term. Therefore, the Individualized Cognitive and Physical Exercise-App (the InCoPE-App) was developed to support nursing home staff in delivering and implementing tailored cognitive and physical exercise training for individuals with dementia.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately and severely affected older adults, namely those living in long-term care facilities (LTCFs). Aside from experiencing high mortality rates, survivors were critically concerned by social isolation and loneliness (SIL). To address this serious public health concern and stay connected with LTCF residents, information and communication technology (ICT) platforms (eg, video calls) were used as an alternative to maintaining social interactions amid the visiting restriction policy.
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