Europe’s biggest project for the application of the Internet of Things (IoT) for elderly care and active ageing presents its results
– ACTIVAGE Press Release –
The results of ACTIVAGE show that technology can not only promote an active ageing, but also can do so cost-effectively by optimizing and relieving social services intelligently.
Living longer and better: ACTIVAGE services improve the autonomy, freedom, health, and safety of their users by gathering and interpreting data obtained through IoT devices.
Madrid, October 26th 2020 – According to Eurostat, the percentage of the working-age population will be in continuous decline until 2050. In this period and until 2080, the number of the elderly will continue to rise until making up approximately one-third of the total population, a progressive ageing that will spur a greater demand for specific services for this age range.
ACTIVAGE, the largest European project on the application of the Internet of Things (IoT) for the care and active ageing of the elderly, has just released its results after more than three years of pilot program. The findings bring to light the key role new technologies are playing in solving one of the problems Europe will face in the coming decades: an ageing population.
Last Wednesday 21st, ACTIVAGE marked the end of the project with an event to present the main results and findings of a three-year pilot program involving nine regions in seven countries. The results revealed that the technology and intelligent use of IoT are capable of improving the life quality of the elderly, proven by a series of indicators.
Divided in four sessions, the event was hosted by the Spanish presenter Ainhoa Arbizu, along with the project’s lead and the European Commission representatives, and featured statements and testimonials from users, families and caregivers from the countries involved in the project.
Live longer and better, without sacrificing a dignified, healthy, and autonomous quality of life
It is estimated that the population of the European Union will reach its highest levels of ageing in the coming decades, causing an unprecedented transformation of the age pyramid and society.
With a total investment of €25 million and as part of the European HORIZON 2020 program, ACTIVAGE aims to help Europeans live healthy, autonomous lives for longer, improving their quality of life, reducing the burden on the welfare system and generating local innovation.
The current care system for the elderly is neither effective nor sustainable: the digitalization of elderly care and support services
According to data from Eurostat1, the old-age dependency ratio is projected to increase from 31,7% to 51,6% by 2060, a figure the current elderly care system is unable to support.
ACTIVAGE takes advantage of and promotes the opportunities created by the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as digital development, to create new forms of assistance and monitoring for the elderly (Active and Healthy Ageing Solutions), adapting their environment to make it safer.
It aims to minimize the effects of the inversion of the demographic pyramid and ease the burden of the public spending to provide the services needed by an ageing population. “ACTIVAGE is about innovation, first and foremost in terms of technology. Secondly, because we have developed Europe’s largest IoT ecosystem for social support services. Thirdly, we have created a key tool for the transfer and management of all this innovation using the digitalization of all health and social support systems in Europe,” declares Sergio Guillén, Deputy Project Coordinator of ACTIVAGE and Chief Innovation Officer at MYSPHERA.
ACTIVAGE has risen to the challenge of an ageing population with solutions based on new technologies
IoT technology allows the homes and devices of users to intelligently (and privately) gather data, which can then be processed and translated in real time via various interfaces for users, their families, and caregivers, through services such as:
LIVING INDOOR & OUTDOOR WITH FREEDOM
▶ Daily activity monitoring ▶ Mobility monitoring and advice for active ▶Exercise promotion
FEELING SAFE AT HOME
▶ Safety, comfort, and security at home ▶ Emergency trigger ▶ Notification of abnormal situation
TAKING CARE OF DISEASES
▶ Integrated care ▶ Health parameter monitoring ▶ Support for caregivers
PREVENTING MENTAL DECLINE
▶ Prevention of social isolation ▶ Cognitive stimulation
According to Leocadio Rodríguez-Mañas, who holds a PhD in Medicine from the Autonomous University of Madrid and Head of the Geriatrics Unit at the University Hospital of Getafe, “Classic health systems have long focused on illness. What we really need is to focus on the real problem: the functioning of the elderly. This means we need to transform our healthcare systems to provide facilities capable of maintaining the physical and cognitive functions of the elderly, with coordinated, ongoing, and comprehensive care using technology.”
The results: ACTIVAGE has shown there can be a cost-effective improvement in the life quality of its users
ACTIVAGE has helps make elderly people in Europe safer, allowing them to continue to be independent and participate in society, as well as reducing the negative impact and deterioration from chronic illness
The project has involved over 8,000 users (elderly people, families, caregivers, and health professionals) and has shown an improvement in the quality of life of its users through the analysis of the following indicators:
a. Life quality: through a series of indicators that measure their baseline and end responses. b. Technology acceptance: how the use of technology has contributed to this improvement. c. Cost-effectiveness: the data show that managing this type of users would be more efficient and profitable through services such as ACTIVAGE, in terms of cost-effectiveness.
According to Manuel Alcina, one of the ACTIVAGE users in Valencia:“The fact that my family knows how I am and where I am brings me the peace of mind and freedom to make the most of my time. Undoubtedly one of the greatest advantages of ACTIVAGE is that I’m never alone.”.
“For health professionals, it makes ongoing follow-ups easier, broadening the knowledge of patients and allowing us to anticipate any complications that may arise, reducing the number of visits to our offices,” adds Miriam Iglesias, Hematologist at the Ourense University Hospital.
New opportunities and challenges in the post-COVID-19 era
These findings and conclusions have become even clearer during the COVID-19 health crisis, with lockdowns in several European countries forcing millions of families to distance themselves from relatives that may have needed regular checking up on or visits.
During the pandemic, ACTIVAGE ensured its users had remote social care and health assistance, helped them adapt from outdoor activities to indoor exercise and virtual social events, ensured continuous contact with family and caregivers, and much more. The ACTIVAGE Daily Monitoring service, for example, allowed caregivers and families to monitor the activities, reactions and state of health of users at all times.
“If we live longer, we will probably live with more illnesses, and the saturation of the system will be imminent,”explains Germán Gutiérrez, ACTIVAGE Project Coordinator and director of Integrated Health Solutions at Medtronic Ibérica. “Comprehensive care is one of the solutions to this challenge and we know that digitalization is one of the means of achieving it,”adds Gutiérrez.
ACTIVAGE.ORG: the birth of a new era
At the presentation of the project results, the creation of ACTIVAGE.ORG was announced, an association that will continue the work of ACTIVAGE, promoting and encouraging the expansion of services and technologies for active and healthy ag in Europe and the world over.
The mission of ACTIVAGE.ORG is to create the first European digital marketplace for solutions and services for independent living, ageing and wellness for the elderly, taking advantage of the constantly changing ecosystem, services and standards of ACTIVAGE.
Globally, the ACTIVAGE consortium has 49 members in nine countries, involving industry, research organizations, public entities, universities, and new tech companies