Providing adequate care to the elderly is essential to ensure that Europe's senior citizens are able to spend their later years living a healthy, happy and independent life. But without support, many face loneliness, a lack of mobility and exercise, and forgetfulness on a daily basis. However, with the use of modern technology and particularly the development of robotic solutions, Europe’s elderly population can feel young again and lead a much safer and richer life." (European Commission 2017, Review MARIO project – Results in Brief)
Responding to potential challenges that demographic change presents, and ensuring that the necessary framework is in place to help Europe take advantage of the opportunities that the sector can provide, has become ever more important.
This is why the European Commission has invested a great deal of resources into research and innovation (R&I) projects in ICT for active and healthy ageing. "In fact," the study authors note, "Active and healthy ageing has enjoyed an increasing presence over recent years in the key R&I European initiatives."
Impact on society
But what has this funding brought us? The European Commission study entitled 'Impact of EU-Funded Research and Innovation on ICT for Active and Health Ageing - The Top 25 Most Influential Projects' analyses key results achieved from EU-funded projects on this topic under Framework Programme 7, the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme and Horizon 2020.
The report, written by the European research and consultancy company Outsight, also includes recommendations for future R&I projects related to active and healthy ageing.
According to the authors, the 25 most promising projects in terms of impact and with regards to the European Commission’s Triple Win Strategy (improved quality of life, increased efficiency of health and long-term care, market growth and expansion of the EU industry), are - in alphabetical order:
- ACCOMPANY has advanced robotics for rehabilitation;
- Beyond Silos has delivered integrated care in 7 European regions;
- Carewell has delivered integrated care for frail elderly patients;
- CARER+ has equipped carers facing new challenges in the digital age;
- DEM@CARE has enabled dementia monitoring;
- eWALL has delivered an innovative home environment;
- FARSEEING has created a repository enabling research into the nature of falling;
- FATE has validated a digital solution for fall detection;
- GIRAFF+ has delivered a home monitoring solution and telepresence robot;
- GrowMeUp has developed a smart learning robot, while working together with seniors and listening to their needs. They also explored innovative cloud-computing technologies;
- I-DON’T’T-FALL offers a range of tools for fall prevention;
- INCA has developed a cloud platform for continuation of care, less hospitalisations and greater efficiency, now implemented in seven EU countries;
- inCASA has created and demonstrated technologies and a services network that help protect frail elderly people and prolong the time they can live well in their own homes;
- iStopFalls has developed and implemented a system to predict and prevent falls, including exercise games;
- I-SUPPORT has provided service robotics for bathing tasks;
- PERSSILAA: multiple services addressing frailty;
- IN LIFE has implemented a range of innovative solutions and services improving elderly care;
- LONG LASTING MEMORIES has validated a unified solution for better cognitive and physical health;
- MARIO has established that service/companion robots are accepted as part of social care for people with dementia and have an important role to play in combatting loneliness and isolation;
- RADIO: smart home/assistant robot system;
- ROBOT-ERA has implemented and demonstrated the general feasibility, scientific/technical effectiveness and social/legal plausibility and acceptability of advanced robotic services;
- SILVER offers a mobile personal assistant in the shape of a walker that can help with daily routines and housekeeping;
- SOCIABLE provides an easy to use and fun cognitive training solution. Medical experts can use it for structuring and keeping track of cognitive training sessions;
- STOP AND GO made innovative care and cure solutions mainstream in Spain, the UK and the Netherlands;
- UNIVERSAAL: showroom and meeting point for Ambient Assisted Living services and companies.
Read the full study:
An interactive version of the results from the study has been added to the EIP on AHA policy dashboard: In the section '25 most influential ICT for AHA projects' you can click on the project category you wish to visualise and identify the projects on the map. When you click on each pin point, information appears about the project. Furthermore, in the lower part of the screen, full detail appears about the projects themselves and the impact they have had, reflecting the findings of the study.