Ambient Assisted Living - How High-tech Helps In Everyday Life

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Ambient Assisted Living - How High-tech Helps In Everyday Life
Ambient Assisted Living - How High-tech Helps In Everyday Life

Video: Ambient Assisted Living - How High-tech Helps In Everyday Life

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Video: Ambient Assisted Living - English 2023, January
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Ambient Assisted Living - how high-tech helps in everyday life

Ambient Assisted Living (AAL, also: age-appropriate assistance systems for an environment-supported, healthy and independent life) is an area that deals with the use of communication and information technologies that are intended to support people's everyday lives - for example those of senior citizens or People with physical impairments. Modern technologies can help to make everyday life safer and more pleasant, and thus help to lead an independent, self-determined and socially integrated life for as long as possible.

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The term Ambient Assisted Living encompasses concepts, products and services that combine technologies and the social environment with the aim of increasing the quality of life for people. For the health-related use of assistive technologies, the terms “telemedicine” or “home monitoring” are mostly used.

These technologies are of particular interest because they help sick people to seek medical help more quickly if their state of health deteriorates or if medical products (e.g. pacemakers) malfunction. You thus increase the safety of the patients, but can also reduce the stress caused by frequent check-ups. Their use is particularly useful in those cases in which inpatient admissions - be it in a hospital or in a care facility - can be avoided.

Security & independence

The subject areas of “environment-assisted life” are relatively broad and include mobility, communication, social interaction, networks and autonomy etc. The possibilities of assistive technology are diverse and range from structural measures to intelligent but relatively simple technical aids - such as walking aids or the automatic reminder to take medication - up to more complex technical systems such as fall notification systems. Ideally, several measures are combined with one another. For older and / or mostly (chronically) ill people this means: solutions that are adapted to their specific needs and lifestyles and enable them to live in their familiar surroundings for as long as possible.

AAL systems can be useful, but not only pose challenges of a technical nature, but also raise various questions - including ergonomic, ethical, social, legal and, last but not least, economic.

The opinion “Assistive Technologies” of the Bioethics Commission deals with ethical aspects. Among other things, it addresses problems of responsibility, data protection and the requirements that are necessary to ensure access to assistive technologies for all concerned. You can download the statement from the website www.mehr-als-ethik.at.

Products & services for the elderly

Some “assistive products” are already available on the market, many are still in the research and development phase. The ideas and solutions of "Environmentally Assisted Living" are extremely diverse. So there is, for example

  • Fall detection systems that can detect a fall using sensors in the ground or in shoes and trigger an alarm, or
  • Call for help systems to be worn on the body. A call for help can be sent via this in an emergency, for example. For information on the call for help, which is sent at the push of a button on a wristwatch, see Home security.
  • Special universal remote controls, which can be used to operate various household appliances, are also intended to make everyday life easier for older people. The same applies to systems that, in addition to integrated TV, telephone and Internet access, report, among other things, the forgotten, switched on hotplate and open windows.

Internet portals with special services (memory training, food delivery, etc.) that are adapted to their needs can also contribute to the social integration of older people.

There is already a large number of offers for different clinical pictures in the health sector. The main areas of application of telemedicine, however, are chronic diseases such as heart disease or diabetes mellitus. In Austria, a start has been made to test technologies for improving health care. The "ET Award" (eHealth / Telemedicine Prize for innovative patient communication) is intended to help establish new communication options between partners in the healthcare system, especially with patients.

National & international programs

The EU supports the development of “Environmentally Assisted Living”. The research and development program "Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) Joint Program" for innovative products and services with a focus on older people was launched in 2008. Austria is also participating with the national “benefit” program.

You can find more information about this on the following websites:

  • Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT)
  • The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)
  • AAL Joint Programs (English)

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