Adaptive care technology is increasingly being used help older people stay at home, including devices that greet users with a “good morning”, monitor their actions, ask if they are okay and alert carers if there’s no reply.
An ageing population with a preference to remain at home as long as possible is driving technological developments as companies vie for a slice of the market.
One of these is Australian tech company Unisono which was founded in 2016 to develop and commercialise the SOFIHUB range of intelligent assisted living technology.
“With a larger percentage of the elderly community opting to live at home for longer, we saw an opportunity to create technology that assisted them in maintaining their independence and continue to have good quality of life, while giving their carers peace of mind,” says CEO Peter Scala.
The SOFIHB home tech device works alongside tracking personal alarm systems to track the movement of users via sensors placed around the home.
If it detects a change in behaviour asks if the person is okay. If there is no response, a carer is contacted.
The device also provides personal reminders about things like medication, birthdays and appointments. Information can be updated by logging onto an online portal.
It is also designed to provide companionship and communicates with the older person by saying “good morning”. While some may find this mildly creepy, its maker describes it at “not just a device but a warm presence within the home”.
As well as positioning sensors around the home, elderly people can also wear a beacon around their neck or keep it in a pocket or handbag. Once activated, the device alerts carers to the person via GPS.
While critics have suggested that leaving older people in the care of electronic devices can lead to a false sense of security and contribute to isolation and neglect, Mr Scala believes the technology has the potential to revolutionise the way older people lead their lives.
“We are really excited about our technology as it’s going to completely change the way the elderly are able to function on a daily basis,” he says.