Baby Boomers, Aging, and Ambient Assisted Living

July 8, 2015 § Leave a comment

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Roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 today, and about 10,000 more will cross that threshold every day for the next 19 years. The aging of this huge cohort of Americans (26% of the total U.S. population are Baby Boomers) will dramatically change the composition of the United States. The good news is Baby boomers, who are between 50 and 68 years old, expect technology to move into predictive analytics, offer enjoyment, and help them live better (healthier) lives while connecting with friends and family. Applying cloud technology to medical care is transforming the lines between being a patient and being a consumer. Ambient Assisted Living is addressing important issues such as mobility, independence, social interaction and meaningful activity. The ultimate goal (currently) is to enhance the health, autonomy, security and quality of life for older adults, while also supporting families and caregivers. In the near future we will see Ambient Living yielding benefits for all age groups becoming pervasive in our everyday lives. Included below are just a few of the many (AAL) projects currently emerging in this area:  

ALICE: Meant to help prevent senior isolation and enhance connectivity, ALICE is a set-top box connected to a older persons TV, integrating a video camera, microphone, and remote with a variety of simple applications for social interaction, including video communication, photo sharing and games.

ExCITE: This intriguing device uses telepresence technology in the form of a “Giraff” robot to help caregivers and professionals remotely visit a senior’s home, virtually move around and communicate using videoconferencing technology.

FoSIBLE: This solution promotes social interaction through games, shared interests, physical activity, and communication with friends and relatives via a TV-based “Social Media Center” that is controlled via gestures, tablets or even “smart furniture”.

M3W: Maintaining and Measuring Mental Wellness is a project that uses online games to help collect data on mental and motor abilities to help monitor cognitive fitness and recognize early signs of cognitive decline.

SeniorEngage: Seniors in a particular profession can share their expertise and continue to participate in society post-retirement by using this networking platform to network with other retirees, mentor young professionals and provide advice to business and organizations.

ALFA: Active Living for Alzheimer Patients offers personalized support for people with dementia through a three-part technology – visual stimulation of mirror neurons in Alzheimer patients, an interactive agenda or diary, and a movement monitoring system.  

Bank4Elder: This program targets people over 50, aiming to develop smart banking interfaces for web, ATM, and mobile devices that can be tailored to individuals’ needs and technological abilities.

MobileSage: With elderly people staying active and independent for longer into their golden years, they will be looking for user-friendly tech services to help them with anything, any time. MobileSage, a smartphone based technology, provides context sensitive, personalized, and location sensitive tools which allow them to carry out and solve everyday tasks and problem when and where they occur, “just-in-time”.  

vAssist: Provides voice controlled home care and communications services to elderly people, particularly those with motor impairments and chronic diseases.

ALMA: ALMA’s objective is to provide a modular, low-cost, integrated system to support autonomous mobility and orientation for the elder and, more in general, for the person with cognitive and mobility impairments. The modules could be customized depending on the individual, and help with navigation, indoor localization based on smart cameras, mobility for electric wheelchairs, and more. 

CONFIDENCE: With this program, people suffering from mild to moderate dementia are provided with a virtual companion on their smartphone that can help them reorient themselves if they are lost, provide location tracking, give voice directions, and connect them with family or caregivers.

E-Stocking: This is just what it sounds like, a compression stocking that is not only equipped with sensors that respond to physiological variations in real time, but also is pre-programmed for each specific patient.

iWalkActive: Many older adults utilize walkers to get around, iWalkActive is a state of the art version with a mobile device dock enabling the user to interact with navigation and assistance services in the cloud using a touch screen, microphone, and speaker.

SAFEMOVE: This is a full service program of physical and cognitive training activities, based in the home and delivered using customized software and hardware, aimed at helping seniors with mobility issues feel more confident when traveling in the home or out of the home.

ANIMATE: By connecting experienced older professionals with younger workers, ANIMATE hopes to facilitate the transfer of knowledge between generations and also promote continuing feelings of usefulness among senior professionals in the working world.

AXO-SUIT: AXO-SUITs are assistive robotic “exoskeletons” that would help seniors with mobility problems perform various everyday physical tasks such as lifting groceries or helping others with volunteer work.

Elders-Up: This project helps seniors continue to feel involved with their professional skills and network by enabling them to collaborate with small companies and lend their valuable experience and expertise to a new organization.

IronHand: IronHand provides a smart glove to address the problem of reduced grip and hand functions that are common with aging. The IronHand can also provide personalized training and monitoring of hand function.

REVOLUTION: The Realtime Volunteering Solution aims to be a free mobile service to bring together local needs and voluntary assistance in all situations of daily life, whether it’s seniors looking for volunteer opportunities or the seniors themselves who need volunteer help.

As you can see, Ambient Living is a vast, ever-growing technology and Big Data market. I look forward to exploring this topic further in future posts. RH

 

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