Helping older people live at home for longer is the aim of a low-cost and non-invasive sensor, monitoring and support system we're developing.
Delivering healthcare to an ageing population
As we grow older, our health becomes more fragile, can decline quickly and the risk of falls and related injuries increases.
Certain day-to-day activities can become difficult, and certain appliances and furniture around the home can pose a safety risk.
With an ageing population and Australia's health expenditure in excess of A$110 billion annually, improved and cost-effective ways to reduce these risks and manage age-related health issues are needed.
Thanks to broadband connectivity, such as that being provided by Australia's new national broadband infrastructure, there is an opportunity to create smarter and safer homes for Australia's elderly and help them live at home for longer.
This will improve the quality of life of elderly people and meet the needs of carers and the health system.
Sensing activity in the home
Through the Australian e-Health Research Centre, we have developed a low-cost, non-invasive sensor, monitoring and support system for use in either individual homes or a supported-living community.
The system will have sensors able to:
Healthcare workers, older residents and their families took part in a trial of the technology in New South Wales. With the help of an aged care facility and a local general practitioner, sensor networks were installed in 20 broadband-connected residences.
The participants helped design a service to serve the needs of older residents, their families and healthcare staff.
Improving quality of life
This new system could enhance the quality of life of older people and those who care for and support them.
Elderly people may be able to live in their home for much longer, as a better system will be in place to monitor their health and care.
The project will result in:
The initial Smarter Safer Homes trial was funded through a New South Wales Government initiative. We are now undertaking a number of trials and seeking more partners in order to provide different services to the aged and disability community.