1. December , 2018

Research from Carinthia – FH Seniors take control into their own hands

New technologies enable elderly people to monitor their health. The FH Carinthia conducts tests for this purpose.

Report of the Kleinen Zeitung from 01.12.2018

Smartwatch on wrist and app in the hand: This is how you keep track © Fotolia/DragonImages

Blood pressure values, weight, blood sugar levels, heart rate. The so-called “vital parameters”, which should be monitored regularly in old age, are not easy to keep track of. Chronically ill or elderly people in particular face the challenge of having their “values” under control.

Technology can help – and improve the quality of life of the elderly. This is at least the ambition of the FH research project “Smart VitAALity”, which is being promoted in the Engineering & IT study area. The person in charge is Johannes Oberzaucher, whose area of expertise lies in medical information technology:

“The system we are testing is designed to enable elderly people to monitor their health themselves and thus give them back some control over their lives.”

110 households in Ferlach, Klagenfurt and Villach have already been equipped with a tablet computer and a Smartwatch. The devices enable pulse measurement, movement control and an alarm function to call for help. The project is not only about medical issues, but also about social issues:

“We want to encourage the participants to communicate with each other. For this reason, we have also set up a digital neighborhood assistance service, which can be used to request support from the surrounding area for minor everyday problems. This should stimulate social interaction,” says Oberzaucher.

But also in medical matters the users are not left alone: The recorded health data is monitored by medical staff who can intervene in an advisory capacity if necessary. There is no need to worry about data security, assures Oberzaucher: “We use state-of-the-art encryption”.

The pilot test is primarily intended to examine the suitability of such technical support systems for everyday use and their effect on the quality of life for senior citizens – and also to clarify whether a business model is behind them. Because demographic change is progressing, geriatric care will not be possible without technical assistance.

“We can already see that senior citizens’ acceptance of technology is very high,” says Oberzaucher.

Smart VitAALity is based on the concept of Active and Assisted Living (AAL). Senior citizens should gain more independence with technical support. The project is endowed with 1.2 million euros, with Joanneum Research, ilogs mobile software and Hilfswerk Kärnten on board.

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