Health and medicine

IBM and Nokia develop Aging in Place solution to help elderly in their homes

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‘Getting old is not for sissies’, said Bette Davis, famously. That’s certainly true – and for many it’s a subject we prefer to ignore, especially if it’s happening to us. But it’s also true that aging is better than the alternative, and increasingly, technology is helping us see the way to a better quality of life in our old age.

Offering personalized wellness solutions with IoT

One such assistive initiative comes from IBM and Nokia, and it’s called ‘Aging in Place’. The solution is designed to help monitor the health and wellness of elderly people within their own homes, enabling them to stay put for as long as possible and deferring the need for assistive living care.

In December 2016, IBM opened an ‘Aging in Place’ environment in its Austin Research Lab, to try and understand the types of interactions elderly people have in their homes. Using insights from this research, Nokia and IBM have developed the Aging in Place solution, which was announced at this year’s Genius of Things event in Boston. The solution combines motion sensors in the home, a Nokia IoT-enabled wellness watch, Nokia Gateway, IBM Watson IoT Platform and Nokia Wellness applications. Together, these platforms and devices can provide personalized wellness patterns tailored to each individual, and provide early warning notifications if something seems wrong.

People using the system can elect to automatically notify select friends and family as well as care givers at certain points in the day – either to assure them that all is well, or make sure they are on the scene as quickly as possible should the occasion call for it.

Pilot and deployment

While thoroughly tested in laboratory conditions, the solution has yet to hit the market. To ensure that it’s fit for purpose, Aging in Place will be deployed as part of a pilot scheme involving 40 participants, for the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga (EPB) – an internet services provider in Tennessee. Following a successful pilot, the solution will be promoted to EPB’s existing customer base of around 140,000 subscribers.

It’s early days yet, but interest in Aging in Place is high. It could help prevent avoidable accidents and help elderly people keep in touch with loved ones, while giving them a comprehensive care solution that still leaves room for independence and privacy.

Learn more

To learn more about IBM’s work on aging and care of the elderly, visit our website.

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