The pan-European Brain @Home project, coordinated by SIVECO Romania, proposes a viable solution for maintaining an active life for elderly
According to the World Health Organization, (OMS), due to improvement in the health condition worldwide, the number of elderly is growing. One estimates that, by 2050, over 22% of the world’s population will be over 60 years old. This phenomenon is already a fact in some developed countries such as Germany, Italy or Sweden.
On the other hand, a fast growing rate of chronic illnesses is recorded everywhere across the world.
Thus, if in 2001, the chronic diseases were representing 46% of all diseases, being responsible for 60% out of the 56.5 million deaths reported annually on the planet, one anticipates that, by 2020, this ratio will become overwhelming. For the chronic neurologic diseases only the growth will be of 57%.
This is statistics based on the realities of modern society.
The ageing process is a complex one, without a direct link between the physical and mental skills, meaning that help one person needs has to be adjusted in a unique manner to his/her individual requirements.
However, how can we transform the challenges that elderly are facing into opportunities for them and for the entire society, too?
This is not just feasible, but also handy, with help of intelligent solutions, made available especially to those senior citizens whose social and health condition can increase their (action) independence, and by default, their quality of life.
Despite the traditional concept that the use of modern technologies is very low among the population of very senior age, there is a huge volume of data acknowledging that senior persons have high capacity to absorb technologies adjusted to their needs, and that they are extremely interested in the self-management of the symptoms of chronic diseases they are ailing of.
Thus, given they are receiving help and useful tools through programs dedicated and adjusted to their needs, the elderly can considerably improve their physical and mental health condition.
Such a program is Brain @home.
Launched in June 2016, this pan- European project is coordinated by SIVECO Romania in collaboration with 5 partners from 3 countries: Casa di Cura Privata del Policlinico (Italy), MediaHospital (Italy), Pannon Business Network Association (Hungary), InfomatiX (Hungary) and University of Bucharest (Romania).
Over the next two and a half years, 3 pilot centers will be implemented in Romania, Italy and Hungary. 40 beneficiaries each, aged over 65, will be recruited in each of the centers.
The project’s activities include the following:
- Developing an IT-based platform by means of which the elderly shall have access to a motivating, interesting and exciting environment, which will help them train their brain and get involved in physical activities in a safe space, their own house/ home.
- Building a hardware system composed of portable devices dedicated to stimulating the mental training.
- Building a gaming type of platform with role in social training. All interactive games and applications are stored in cloud. The score one user marks in a game can be compared with that of other users.
- Setting up a virtual community for the elderly and their caregivers, families and friends, where they shall share and disseminate knowledge and unique aspects on travel and interesting places.
- Implementation of a system storing medical results and allowing users, caregivers, physicians/ GPs access (web-based, on the mobile phone etc.) to this data and evolutions.
- Carrying out an analysis on improvement of the general health condition, quality of life and cognitive status, after attending the training program.
The main benefits this project is bringing are as follows:
- Improving the quality of life for the participants in the program.
- Improvement of the physical, cognitive and social functions that the elderly are slowly loosing during the natural ageing process – this aspect is especially monitored in persons confronting themselves with the lack of functional skills, as the platform plays also a role of early detecting the risk of cognitive decline and of signaling the needs for a clinical examination.
- Elaboration of a valid model for large scale replication of the Brain @Home solution, at the level of the entire Europe, while observing the social-cultural diversity.
- Platform’s adoption by museums, opera theaters and historical sites, as a means of reaching former visitors, who have this way remote access to their spiritual treasures.
“We are honored to coordinate such a project, where we can capitalize on the results of research undertakings within SIVECO. Brain @Home is a project targeting a hot topic at European level, providing solutions for an ever growing social category. In today’s world, technologies make social inclusion possible for all citizens, going beyond barriers created by time and space. The quality of life is the most important aspect making a difference for an elderly. And Brain @Home is a solution for its improvement“, states Monica Florea, manager of European Projects department within SIVECO Romania.
This work supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation, CCCDI - UEFISCDI and of the AAL Programme with co-funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme project number 64/2016 within PNCDI III.