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R3. Telewellness Technologies

Principal Investigator: 
Tracy Mitzner, Ph.D.
Elena Remillard, M.S., Kara Cohen, B.S/B.A., Laura Rice, Ph.D., MPT, ATP, Jenay Beer, Ph.D.
Lelah Cochran, B.S.
Project Alumni: 
Megan Bayles, B.S., Grace Cha, M.ID., Lawrence Chan, MS-HCI, Jordan Chen, B.S., Lucile Dupuy, Ph.D., Christina Harrington, Ph.D., Jordan Hartley, B.S., Nida Javaid, B.S., Laura Matalenas, Ph.D., Sean McGlynn, Ph.D., Kaitlyn Shinault, B.S., Rachel Stuck, M.S., Dann Rhee, B.S.
Tai Chi for Health Institute
Group exercise classes, such as yoga and Tai Chi, have the potential to provide both physical and social health benefits. However, substantial barriers exist for adults aging with lower-body mobility disabilities to engage in group exercise classes, including lack of transportation to classes, inaccessible buildings where classes are held, and lack of appropriate modifications. Tele-technology, such as video-conferencing software with audio and video exchange, provides the opportunity for people to deliver and attend group exercise classes remotely, with great potential to support people aging with mobility disabilities (Beer, Mitzner, Stuck, & Rogers, 2015). 
Building on our earlier TechSAge research on the acceptance and usability of such “Telewellness” technologies, we are using video-based conferencing to translate an in-person, evidence-based Tai Chi class to an online, social experience. The Tele Tai Chi intervention study will explore whether or not the Tele Tai Chi program can increase social interaction and positive health behaviors (i.e., physical exercise frequency) among older adults with long-term mobility disabilities. 

  Screenshot of Tele Tai Chi class on Zoom   


Project Status: 

In preparation for our Tele Tai Chi study (set to launch Fall 2020), TechSAge team members (Tracy Mitzner, Elena Remillard, Kara Cohen, & Lelah Cochran) completed a 2-day workshop with the Tai Chi for Health Institute and are now certified to teach Tai Chi for Arthritis (seated and standing versions). Recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Council on Aging (NCOA) & Arthritis Foundations around the world, this evidence-based program has been shown to be effective in improving arthritis symptoms and preventing falls. Dr. Paul Lam, founder of the Tai Chi for Health Institute, has generously agreed to provide our study participants with online access to the Seated Tai Chi for Arthritis Lessons and the Tai Chi for Health Online Global Community. 

TechSAge team members (Elena Remillard, Lelah Cochran, Kara Cohen & Tracy Mitzner) pose with certifications for teaching Tai Chi for Arthritis, alongside master trainer Jocelyn Simpson.

Select Publications: 

Mitzner, T. L. & Remillard, E.T. (2019). How one telewellness project focused on helping older adults with mobility disabilities age in place. The Journal on Active Aging, 18(4), 72-77.

Mitzner, T. L., Stuck R., Hartley, J. Q., Beer, J. M., & Rogers, W. A. (2017). Acceptance of televideo technology by adults aging with a mobility impairment for health and wellness interventions. Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering, 4, 1-12. 10.1177/2055668317692755

Beer, J. M., Mitzner, T. L., Stuck, R. E., & Rogers, W. A. (2015). Design considerations for technology interventions to support social and physical wellness for older adults with disability. International Journal of Automation and Smart Technology (AUSMT), 5(4), 249-264. 10.4017/gt.2015.

Wu, X., Thomas, R. C., Drobina, E. C., Mitzner, T. L., & Beer, J. M. (2017). Telepresence heuristic evaluation for adults aging with mobility impairment.  Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, 61(1), 16-20. 10.1177/1541931213601499

Stuck, R. E., Hartley, J. Q., Mitzner, T. L., Beer, J. M., & Rogers, W. A. (2017). Understanding attitudes of adults aging with mobility impairments toward telepresence robots. Proceedings of the 12th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction [Late Breaking Report], 293-294. 10.1145/3029798.3038351

Wu, X., Thomas, R., Drobina, E., Mitzner, T. L., & Beer, J. M.  (2017). An evaluation of a telepresence robot: User testing among older Americans with mobility impairment.  Proceedings of the 12th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction [Late Breaking Report], 325-326. 10.1145/3029798.3038324