The Community at Sunset Wood and the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York have partnered to continue supplying seniors with Google Smart Home technology as demand rises to keep them engaged throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The $10,000 investment from the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York will build upon Sunset Wood’s momentum for their Google Nest Hub Max Smart Display program, by funding Phase 2. Sign-ups for Phase 1 of the program filled within 24 hours with seniors eager to learn how to utilize this smart display technology to play YouTube videos, watch old television program favorites, and video chat with family and friends.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected senior citizens the most as they have been isolating to remain safe for over one year. The goal of implementing these devices is to provide seniors with social benefits like video chatting with loved ones or listening to music, and also for aging-in-place initiatives like setting reminders for medication administration or controlling utilities within their homes.

“The demand for these devices was surprisingly overwhelming,” said Dominick Manfredo, CEO of The Community at Sunset Wood. “We are so grateful to the Health Foundation for Western and Central New York for recognizing the importance of this technology when it comes to seniors aging-in-place, and helping with social isolation during the pandemic. Their grant will go directly toward getting devices into the hands of seniors who have been on our Google Smart Display waiting list for a few months now, so they will be able to enjoy the many benefits that these devices have to offer.”

“Social isolation and loneliness are serious risks for many older adults, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made it more challenging for us to address these issues,” said Nora ObrienSuric, Ph.D., President of the Health Foundation. “We applaud The Community at Sunset Wood team for taking an innovative approach to improving the lives of their tenants. This technology will help older adults feel connected with their loved ones and friends while staying safe at home.”

To study how seniors interact with these smart devices, as well as their perception of how these devices can keep them independent, The Community at Sunset Wood has partnered with the Ph.D. program in Business Administration and Department of Marketing and Professional Sales at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. A longitudinal research study will collect data from seniors before they have even touched their Google smart devices, three months after receiving them, and six months after utilizing the devices. The aggregate data will be used to study how seniors perceive smart devices like these, and how their attitudes change over time after using the devices.

“We’re very excited to have partnered with Sunset Wood on this research study and to have the opportunity to understand how seniors engage with smart technology over time,” said Kate Nicewicz, Ph.D. candidate in marketing at Kennesaw State University. “This will give us valuable insight on what influences, or deters from, device utilization among seniors.” Dr. Mona Sinha, associate professor of marketing at Kennesaw State University and chair of Kate Nicewicz’s dissertation committee, said, “I am so proud that Kate is using her doctoral training and her research interest on smart devices to make a positive impact on society especially for this segment of the population that is especially vulnerable. The opportunity that Dominick Manfredo and The Community at Sunset Wood has provided, not just for their tenants but also for us as a business school to give back to society, is greatly appreciated.”

To learn more about this project, visit

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