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PhD Defense - Dipanwita Dasgupta

Start: 3/24/2017 at 1:00PM
End: 3/24/2017 at 3:00PM
Location: 384 Nieuwland Hall of Science
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Dipanwita Dasgupta

 Dissertation Defense

 March 24, 2017                              1:00 pm                                     384 Nieuwland

 Adviser:  Dr. Nitesh Chawla

Committee Members:

Dr. Cindy Bergemen       Dr.  Dong Wang      Dr.  Ronald Metoyer




Successful Aging, or aging well, consists of the following components: the management of chronic conditions, maintenance of physical and mental health, and active social engagement. While tablet devices could be a potential medium for promoting Successful Aging, existing studies evaluating the usability of such tablets have been performed using older tablets. Therefore, these studies have not explored the potential complexities arising from the increasing number of features generated by advances in tablet technology. Moreover, several tablet-based applications have been developed to address each component of Successful Aging. However, the majority of these applications are not designed specifically for older adults and are generally targeted towards technologically proficient individuals. Furthermore, these applications provide limited to no integration with care providers, which is becoming exceedingly important due to the increasing number of older adults and decreasing number of care providers. In this dissertation, we present results from a qualitative study conducted for evaluating the usability of modern tablets for older adults and studying the impact of accessibility settings on the overall tablet experience. Additionally, to address the afore-mentioned challenges related to Successful Aging, we propose a novel, integrated tablet-based framework taking all the components of Successful Aging together into a single platform. Our proposed framework consists of a tablet-based application used by the older adults for tracking medications and activities. It also has a companion web-portal, accessible to the care providers, for managing missed medications. To evaluate the feasibility of the proposed framework, we conducted a preliminary study with 16 participants from a low-income, independent living facility. We found that this framework helped the participants to track their medications and lowered their risk for depression. Our study also highlighted the importance of care providers, providing personal support and medication tracking. Encouraged by these results, we conducted a larger study on 50 participants, consisting of two equal-sized groups. The experiment group used the proposed framework for 42 weeks, whereas the control group did not use any application for Successful Aging. Based on the analysis of responses to questionnaires, we deduced that our proposed framework had a significant impact on health-related quality of life and cognitive health of the participants in the experiment group, in comparison with control group. The experiment group expressed the desire to continue using our methodology as it helped them to be organized and remain focused. Thus, our proposed framework empowers older adults to take charge of their own health and integrates them with their care providers, representing an important step towards improving care and quality of life.


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