How to integrate global population aging and technology development to help address the growing demands for care facing many aging societies–such as China–is both a challenge and an opportunity for innovation. In research supported by the Jiangsu Industrial Technology Institute in China, the authors propose a social technology approach that promotes use of technologies to assist individuals, families, and communities to cope more effectively with the disabilities of older adults who can no longer live independently due to dementia, serious mental illness, and multiple chronic health problems. The main contributions of the social technology approach include: (1) fostering multidisciplinary collaboration among social scientists, engineers, and healthcare experts; (2) including ethical and humanistic standards in creating and evaluating innovations; (3) improving social systems through working with those who deliver, manage, and design older adult care services; (4) promoting social justice through social policy research and innovation, particularly for disadvantaged groups; (5) fostering social integration by creating age-friendly and intergenerational programs; and (6) seeking global benefit by identifying and generalizing best practices.
Kleinman, Arthur, Hongtu Chen, Sue E. Levkoff, Ann Forsyth, David E. Bloom, Winnie Yip, Tarun Khanna, Conor J. Walsh, David Perry, Ellen W. Seely, Anne S. Kleinman, Yan Zhang, Yuan Wang, Jun Jing, Tianshu Pan, Ning An, Zhenggang Bai, Jiexiu Wang, Qing Liu, and Fawwaz Habbal. 2021. “Social Technology: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Improving Care for Older Adults.” Frontiers in Public Health 9:729149. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.729149.