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Integrating Supports for Ubiquitous Eldercare

Integrating Supports for Ubiquitous Eldercare
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Author(s): Dario Bottazzi (Guglielmo Marconi Labs, Italy), Rebecca Montanari (University of Bologna, Italy) and Tarik Taleb (NEC Research Laboratories, Germany)
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 17
Source title: Healthcare and the Effect of Technology: Developments, Challenges and Advancements
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Stéfane M. Kabene (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-733-6.ch015

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Abstract

The demographic compression, along with heightened life expectancy and decreases in fertility rates, is dramatically raising the number of older adults in society, thus putting many countries’ healthcare systems under significant pressure. Eventual loss of physical and cognitive skills makes it quite difficult for elders to maintain autonomous life-styles and often forces them to move to assisted living environments, with severe emotional and social impacts. The main challenge for the years to come is, therefore, to identify more sustainable approaches to eldercare, capable of improving elders’ independence in order to avoid, or at least to delay, hospitalization. Providing suitable support for elders is, indeed, a highly challenging problem. However, recent advancements in pervasive computing enable the development of advanced eldercare services. The main focus of eldercare research to date has been directed towards the development of smart environments capable of assisting elders, for example, in monitoring their psychophysical conditions, and of reminding and facilitating their routine activities. Few research efforts have been directed towards the investigation of solutions capable of improving social engagement for elders living alone, and of facilitating the coordination of care-giving efforts. The chapter provides an overview of the state-of-the-art technology in eldercare research and suggests the extension of available solutions by adopting integrated approaches that aim at addressing both assistance and social/coordination issues stemming from eldercare.

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