We like to brag about the fact that our SmartHomes are full of integrated technologies that allow our residents to live fulfilling lives of independence and quality.
But we are realistic. We understand that the concept of building many of these homes is not sustainable – they are too expensive. Note that the funding for our two homes came entirely from private donations and government grants.
That is why we are using our SmartHomes as laboratories for “SmartSupports.” The homes will serve as sites for research into the use of technologies that will benefit the long term needs of individuals with disabilities in both residential and family home settings.
Here’s a quick explanation of why this is so important. The average annual cost to provide residential services for an individual with a developmental disability in Colorado is $65,000. Now, instead of moving into a residential setting, say a single piece of technology, or maybe two or three pieces of technology, were to allow an individual to live independently, or with their family, for another ten or twenty years. Even if the cost of those technologies were $20,000 or so upfront, the savings would still be substantial over the long term.
Or, conversely, if one or two technologies can reduce the operating costs for organizations (for profit or not for profit) that run residential sites serving multiple individuals with developmental disabilities and related concerns such as Alzheimer’s or elder care, those savings could be passed on to the people and organizations charged with covering the costs of those services.
This is why we are so excited to announce that we are working with Colorado WIN Partners to conduct studies on the effectiveness of technology in improving the lives of SmartHome residents. Members of the WIN team toured the Charles SmartHome yesterday, and tomorrow they will be meeting with SmartHome staff and residents as the preliminary steps in preparing their study.
The study will be funded by a $10,000 grant from IBM.
We look forward to partnering with Colorado WIN Partners as well as exploring other research options as we enter the second phase of our ambitious SmartHome project.
Save The Date: CORE/Labor Source Art Show June 21
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