The work of several WSU College of Nursing faculty was presented at a major gerontology conference in San Francisco this week.

Dr. Roschelle “Shelly” Fritz, an assistant professor at the WSU College of Nursing in Vancouver, Wash., co-chaired a symposium with Dr. Cory Bolkan, an associate professor in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resources Sciences (CAHNRS), also in Vancouver. They presented at IAGG World Congress of Gerontology & Geriatrics, a conference that drew more than 6,000 attendees.

Portrait of Dr. Roschelle "Shelly" Fritz gesturing to a wall-mounted sensor
Dr. Roschelle “Shelly” Fritz displays one of the sensors being used in a research project to monitor senior citizens’ health and safety from afar, installed at Touchmark on South Hill in Spokane.

Their symposium, “Gerontology Across the Continuum: From Independent to Assisted Living,” included a presentation on Fritz’s research into health-assistive smart homes; Bolkan’s research into technology to support aging in place, with College of Nursing Executive Assistant Dean Renee Hoeksel as a co-investigator; and a presentation on provider knowledge of assistive technologies, with Associate Professor Catherine Van Son of the College of Nursing as the lead researcher.

There were about 20 symposiums including about 100 presentations being held concurrently every two hours, but Fritz and Bolkan’s session drew the attention of the official conference Twitter feed. One tweet, for example: “Nurses are often the go between with smart technology and the person. These health prof need to be knowledgeable & adaptable.”

Fritz, who is investigating whether smart-home technology can enhance the health and safety of senior citizens from afar, said via Twitter as she was leaving the conference:

“Main takeaway from #IAGG2017 – my older adult years will be full of cool tech! Hope to be independent forever #gerontechnology.”