Featured Researcher Dr. Carmen SteggellCarmen Steggell is an Associate Professor in the Department of Design and Human Development and the Department’s Housing Program Coordinator.  She is also the Director of the Gerontechnology Core for the Center for Healthy Aging Research (CHAR). She received an M.S. in Consumer Studies from Utah State University in 1988 and a Ph.D. in Family Resource Management with minors in housing studies and sociology from Oregon State University in 1991.  Carmen’s work at OSU began in 1999.  Prior to that, Dr. Steggell was an Assistant Professor and Director of the Family Life Center, Department of Human Environments, College of Family Life, Utah State University. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Housing and Education Research Association from 2007 – 2009 and currently serves as Vice President.  She has also served on the Editorial Board of Housing and Society since 1995.  She is a frequent mentor for the CHAR Life Scholars Program and the 2006 recipient of the Oregon State University Faculty Teaching Excellence Award.

My Research

My research is centered on the interaction between human behavior and residential environments, with a special emphasis on technologies to support aging-in-place. Technology has great potential in monitoring and preventing disease, and enhancing quality of life for older people and their caregivers, as well as extending independent living.  At the same time, gerontechnology advances require an examination of myriad social and ethical issues, including privacy, autonomy, and control over monitoring, recording, and analyzing relevant data. Likewise, social and cultural differences may have an impact on the acceptability of technologies.  For instance, along with my colleagues Karen Hooker and Sally Bowman, I recently explored the acceptance of four monitoring and communication products that might prolong independence in older rural women: a medication reminder and dispenser, a video telephone, and an activity monitoring/emergency response system. This investigation was funded by the Oregon Roybal Center for Translational Research on Aging (ORCATECH) Grant #0409A.

My recent investigations have also included:

  1. The role of gerontechnologies in the homes of rural and minority older women
  2. Perceptions of gerotechnologies among caregivers
  3. The impact of residence-installed technologies on older adults’ well-being

My current research involves an evaluation of the State of Oregon’s implementation of the federal Money Follows the Person project, On the Move in Oregon(OTM).  OTM hopes to demonstrate that “long-term institutionalized populations of people with complex medical and long-term care needs can be served in their communities with wrap-around packages of supports and services.” Application of new monitoring/response technologies that have the potential to improve client outcomes and improve the caregiver experience while reducing program costs will be integral to the project. The three year project evaluation is funded by the State of Oregon and involves the measurement and documentation of OTM outcomes.  We are currently preparing to collect base-line information through direct interviews/surveys with individual clients, informal caregivers, and formal caregivers.  Measures will include social interaction, quality of life, and the caregiving experience. The evaluation will conclude with solid, evidence-based recommendations for a potential scale-up of the OTM project.   

Selected publications:

Steggell, C.D., Park, K.O., Kim S.J., & Kwon, M.H. (2008). Study on opinions of Korean feminine seniors on the life support appliances for healthy aging. Journal of Korean Home Economics Association, 46 (4)83-96.

Mahmood, A., Yamamoto, T., Lee, M., & Steggell, C.D. (2008). Perception and use of gerotechnology: Implications on aging-in-place. Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 21 (3). Kim, S.J., 1540-353X, Volume 22, Issue 1, 2008, Pages 104 – 126

Steggell, C.D., & Hooker, K. (2007). Older Korean women’s perceptions of gerotechnologies for aging in place. . In Laquatra, J. (Ed.), Bringing back the city: Housing & neighborhood renaissance, pp. 111-116. Conference proceedings of the Housing Education and Research Association.

Mahmood, A., Steggell, C., & Bowman, S. (2007). Older Latina women’s perceptions of gerotechnology:A pilot study on the role of technology in healthy aging. In Laquatra, J. (Ed.), Bringing back the city: Housing & neighborhood renaissance, pp. 135-141. Conference proceedings of the Housing Education and Research Association.

Steggell, C.D., Yamamoto, T., Bryant, K, & Fidzani, L. (2006). The use of theory in housing research. Housing & Society, 33 (1), 5-20.