RegionAAL: Digitisation for the elderly
Active and Assisted Living (AAL) test region project focused on the urban centres of Graz, Leibnitz and Deutschlandsberg
The aim of RegionAAL – an AAL test region project focused on the urban centres of Graz, Leibnitz and Deutschlandsberg – is to support older adults in being able to reside for longer in their own surroundings. This should be achieved through the implementation of those information and communication technologies (ICT) that are likely to be actually accepted and used by end users. In order to meet this requirement, needs will be assessed and via an analysis of evidence, ICT that is potentially useful for, and acceptable to, this group will be identified.
Existing technologies will be adapted, extended and combined. Around 100 households will be equipped with the assistance systems. The test phase in the households, to run for one year, will be accompanied by a scientific evaluation to assess the effectiveness of ICT in meeting the stated aims.
JOANNEUM RESEARCH participates in the project RegionAAL with its institutes DIGITAL (integration of ICT solutions and project coordination) and HEALTH (evidence analysis and scientific evaluation of the test households).
RegionAAL takes as its starting point existing ICT components, which are acceptable to this target group and have been proven for use, to develop them further and combine them into a coherent structure, which is then to be implemented in a study setting involving a scientific evaluation of effectiveness. RegionAAL seeks to integrate already available technologies which have been developed for a general population and to implement them in such a way that a potentially higher quality of life and the potential for remaining longer in one’s own home are made possible. Another important aspect in the choice of technology, especially for the care organisations in the project, is that the technology can be used beyond the timescale of the project.
Supportive technologies are only one aspect. Care and support through established social structures (friends and family) and formal care structures is the most essential factor. It is not the aim of RegionAAL to reduce personal contacts by replacing them with technology. On the contrary, the aim of RegionAAL is to develop and implement technologies, which not only support personal contacts but enable them to be strengthened by allowing time and resources to be diverted to other aspects of care and interaction. AAL-technologies can potentially contribute to a reduction of the burden among informal care givers, among whom women are disproportionally represented, and thus here too contribute to a longer stay in familiar surroundings.
The project RegionAAL is partially funded by the benefit programme of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (bmk).