Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Building a Next Generation Personal Emergency Response System

Devastating falls in the home are the most common cause of injury among the elderly and the most expensive category of injury for the Canadian healthcare system, costing over $6.2 billion in 2004 alone.

Guardly has been adapting our new smartphone-based personal safety service into a next-generation automated emergency response system for the elderly. Our service will improve their safety and well-being and allow them to remain independent longer, while reducing the burden on long-term care facilities.

For those new to Guardly, our service instantly connects emergency victims to authorities and a trusted network of friends and family. The service combines voice conference calls, email and text messages, location tracking, and the web in efforts to decrease overall response time and ensure calls for help are quickly answered.


Next Generation Personal Emergency Response System

The Guardly Team has been working with groups like the University of Toronto’s Intelligent Assistive Technology and Systems Lab (IATSL) to adapt our new emergency communications technology and jointly develop a next-generation personal emergency response system for our aging population.

IATSL is developing ceiling mounted devices that use artificial intelligence and advanced sensing; the solution will automatically detect a fall and converse with the person to determine the type of assistance needed. If they request help or their response isn’t understood due to injury such as a stroke, the system will automatically initiate an emergency alert using Guardly to selectively notify 911, family or neighbors.

Research into aging-in-place isn’t just happening in North America. A European project called Netcarity is researching and testing technologies for the elderly.

Netcarity participants include academics, technology firms, psychologists, sociologists, care centre designers and government authorities. Their goal is to turn older peoples’ homes into supportive environments that include them in society and postpone or avoid the expensive and traumatic move into long-term care centres or nursing homes. The group recently authored a discussion paper titled “The Business of Ageing” that explores the commercial challenges and opportunities in ambient assisted living.

It’s not hard to see that the combination of Guardly with advanced sensors is a significant improvement over current systems that require a senior to remember to wear a panic button as well as be physically and mentally capable to trigger an emergency alert after being injured in a fall or from a heart attack or stroke

In the short-term, we expect to achieve positive results from several trials to be conducted at nursing homes and rehabilitation centres. However, in the long-term, we expect to see the combined Guardly/IATSL at-home patient monitoring service to become a new standard form of care for the independent aging-in-place population. True success would be defined as achieving an increase in our customers’ quality of life for a price that is less than the current standard of care for those that want to remain independent of long-term care facilities.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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