Valencian pensioners are taking part in a large-scale project funded by the European Commission to extend the average lifespan of the elderly by two years by providing real-time monitoring using a variety of Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Francis Maguire reports.
Europe faces a tough challenge in dealing with its ageing population. People are living longer and that's putting pressure on social care budgets. But a new pilot project set-up by the European Commission aims to help governments deal with a potential crisis. Spanish firm Mysphera are among companies whose technology is being trialled in the Activage project. Mysphera's sensors are placed both inside and outside the home of triallists, like 84 year-old Sara Casademunt. Any changes in routine or behaviour are sent to an App on the carer's phone. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) SARA CASADEMUNT, 84-YEAR-OLD ACTIVAGE PROJECT PARTICIPANT, SAYING: "I feel relaxed knowing that my relatives are monitoring me through the server or whatever camera they have, I think it's great and I feel comfortable." Sara's granddaughter is also part of the project... Which looks to increase the ability of elderly people to live more independent lives. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) MAR AREGO, SAYING (ON THE USE OF THE APP MONITORING HER GRANDMOTHER): "I control her activity in her house, I see if she has left the house, if she comes back, if she had lunch or dinner. If something is different from her usual routine, it's a signal that something is going wrong." Increasing old people's independence could help governments reduce social care budgets. SOUNDBITE (English) MARIO LECUMBERRI, PROJECT MANAGER AT INICIATIVA SOCIAL INTEGRAL (INTEGRAL SOCIAL INITIATIVE), SAYING: "We can make longer the time this person lives in his or her own house, and this produces a very important reduction in the amount of the money from social services or even from their private services." The project began in January 2017 and is due to run for another three years. By that time all involved will hope to show that smart technology is key to improving the lives of Europe's elderly.