Loss of smell may affect over 20% of the population, specifically among older age groups and can result in significant health impacts. Smell loss can substantially affect an individual's overall well-being and quality of life. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impacts of smell loss on neurologic disease (such as Alzheimer's and dementia) and on the risk of death over a 10-year period. We hypothesize that decreased sense of smell is associated with development of neurodegenerative disease and mortality. Participants in this study will fill out an electronic questionnaire (about 30 minutes long) at study entry, and a shortened electronic questionnaire (about 15 minutes long) every year after that for 10 years. No in-person visits are needed.
Falls are extremely common. For persons over the age of 65, 25% will fall in any given year. Falls are the leading cause of accidental death in the elderly. Risk factors for falling include previous history of falling, gait and balance difficulties, lower extremity weakness, cognitive dysfunction, peripheral neuropathy and other conditions. Many non-injurious falls go unreported but they present a significant risk factor for the identification of individuals at risk for subsequent falls. We propose a small installation (less than 10 units) of our fall detection system at Still Hopes retirement community and track both reported falls as well as falls as detected by our system. We will use this data for validation of our system. Gait is felt to be the equivalent of the "next vital sign," as it predicts health care utilization, hospitalization and poor outcomes particularly when the gait speed is slow and declining. Part of our project is also to develop the capabilities to measure gait speed in the home environment.