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 Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Introducing ICT innovations in the elderly care not only contributes to a better life for seniors, but also saves costs on social and healthcare systems. Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS, Joint Research Centre, European Commission) presented the preliminary findings of two case studies of ICT in long-term care from Scotland (UK) and the Limousine Region (France) at the Social Innovation Conference in Brussels in May 2014. The two cases studies are part of the ongoing project called “Long-term care strategies for independent living of elderly people (ICT-AGE)”.

Scottish Telecare Development Programme
The programme addressed the need to reduce healthcare costs of elderly people aged 65+ in 2006-2011. By installing remote emergency systems in elderly homes, the programme achieved €91 million of cost savings and increased the quality of life, safety and independence of more than 43, 000 users. It helped to reduce hospital admissions and stay length, admissions to care homes, and, caring tasks, thereby reducing stress for informal carers and increasing their ability to retain paid employment.

Home Automation and Advanced Telecare
The project in the Limousine region (Creuze, Corrèze and Haute Vienne Departments) in France began in 2010 and focused on preventing falls. Falls are a  major public health problem, costing an estimated €2 billion each year. Sensors, light paths, and alarm systems connected to a Telecare centre aimed to reduce the number of falls, and resulted in reduced hospital admissions, depression of the elderly, and their overall need for care. This programme saved the Corrèze Department an estimated €6.300-7.300 per person a year.

Key Success Factors
Public funding is necessary to support such business models. Nonetheless, other funding sources (user) also contribute to the sustainability of the business model. In addition, political engagement and local stakeholders’ involvement, extensive training to all involved actors and mainstreaming strategies prove to be crucial as well. It is important to run awareness campaigns and promote such projects to drive the development, deployment and adoption of ICT-based services and to inform societies about future solutions in elderly care.

Project website:ICT-AGE

(Source: Careplus)