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Age support
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FACTS

  1. More than eighty households in Vienna are involved in an 18-month trial of the WAALTeR tablet and the Smart Watch with emergency button.
  2. 78% of Austrians aged between 60 and 69 years use the internet. Only 38% of the over-70s do so. Public initiatives are needed in order to include older people in an increasingly digitized world.

The research project WAALTeR (Wiener Active and Assisted Living Testregion) looks into ways of exploiting the growing digitalization of every day life for seniors. New technologies and services are employed to keep older people in touch with their community and to extend the time the elderly can remain in their habitual environment and enjoy an autonomous life. Health care, safety and mobility support serve to maintain a high quality of life for seniors. First responses from over eighty Viennese trial households have shown that seniors have a keen interest in the new digital possibilities and gain a lot of value from them in their everyday lives.

www.waalter.wien

Photo: © Bohmann/Andrew Rinkhy

„I belong to a generation who grew up without mobile phones, the internet and tablets. Learning about project WAALTeR got me interested. As soon as I had attended the first information event, I knew that I wanted to join this project. Participating in this scheme is increasing my digital abilities and reducing some of the insecurities I have using a tablet. I am a very active person myself (I volunteer as a carer in the City of Vienna contact visitor service for seniors, for example), and I think it is important to become more familiar with these technologies so that I will be able to handle them when I am older. I use my tablet very regularly, and like reading the daily papers and accessing the events calendar. The route finder is very useful; it has added events notices. The size of the symbols and the easy navigation make it easy to use. It’s a fun, low-pressure way to becoming more comfortable with using these technologies. Using a smart watch and telemedicine are certainly means of supporting an independent and autonomous experience of older age.“ Susanne Biri, WAALTeR user

Viennese Active & Assisted Living Test Region

© Bohmann/Andrew Rinkhy

In 83 Viennese households, seniors test a tablet and a smart watch for 1.5 years to find out if this technology support increases their quality of life in everyday life.

Social inclusion, safety, health and mobility are the addressed factors in WAALTeR. 150 seniors who want to live a contented and self-determined life in their familiar environment for as long as possible are participants in the WAALTeR research project.

WAALTeR stands for Viennese AAL test region, AAL for active & assisted living, i.e. intelligent technology support in everyday life in the form of various assistance systems and smart home applications. The idea is to introduce the elderly to the technologies and to familiarise them with information and communication technologies pre-emptively as long as it is still easy in order to prevent the need to overcome an inhibition threshold when they need technological assistance.

Social integration and mobility are the key factors for a high quality of life for seniors. WAALTeR wants to support seniors on the one hand to familiarise themselves with the technologies, and on the other hand to use the technologies to inform themselves and participate in activities. For this purpose, existing technologies were combined into a system on the WAALTeR tablet, which displays the offers and services according to the wishes of the elderly. The centrepiece is the neighbourhood network, which works like a digital black board. You can participate in or offer activities, join groups, or simply stay up-to-date about what happens in the neighbourhood. On the tablet you can directly access the news of individually selected newspapers without having to search for a long time. The calendar reminds users e.g. drink regularly or take medication. The events they want to participate in are transferred to their calendar and linked to the route planner with their individual mobility profile. The camera with photo storage, access to the internet and selected apps complete the social integration package.

In the area of safety, the emergency button on the smart watch supports the participants on the way. If the emergency call button is pressed, the emergency call centre will call the smart watch and either start the rescue chain or switch off in case of a false alarm. The subjective sense of safety is supported by the neighbourhood network: people who do not like running errands alone or need a helping hand find support here. An interior fall detector will be used in a later test phase as of autumn 2019, as well as a presence detection and an alarm function for the apartment.

In the field of health, a lot of information about existing offers from the city and private providers as well as fall prevention exercises are made available on the one hand. On the other hand, there is a telemedicine area where participants can easily transfer and store medical data. In the later test phase from autumn 2019 on, there will be a collaboration with doctors, to whom the data will be transmitted.

In the WAALTeR model apartment in the Johanniter residence Schichtgründe in the district of Floridsdorf you can try out all the WAALTeR technologies as well as other smart home applications. Every last Friday of the month the doors are open. A registration under forschung@johanniter.at or +43 1 4707030-2222 is absolutely necessary. If there are no registrations, the model apartment will remain closed.

In the course of the research project, 87 test households and 63 households without technology support will be monitored for 18 months as part of an empirical-experimental evaluation study. Every three months, the subjects are interviewed with a standardised questionnaire. In addition, there are three interviews at the beginning, middle and end of the study. All 150 participants are invited to participate in accompanying workshops on various topics, such as diet in old age or special offers for seniors.

So far it has become clear that the participating seniors like to meet and exchange their experiences, questions and problems with the tablet and the smart warch. They like to learn from each other and explain each other how to cope better. That is why regular WAALTeR round tables have been introduced where participants can now meet in groups.

The results from the evaluation study are to be taken into account in future care and support processes. The project runs from December 2016 to November 2019.

Project Partners

WAALTeR is supported through the BMVIT/FFG programme “ICT of the future: benefit – demographic change as opportunity (IKT der Zukunft: benefit – Demografischer Wandel als Chance)” and commissioned by the City of Vienna, Chief Executive Office – Executive Group for Organisation and Security – Work Group for Process Management and ICT-Strategy (MD-OS/PIKT). The Smart City Vienna Agency (Urban Innovation Vienna GmbH) holds the project lead. There are eleven project partners: Austian Institute of Technology; Wirtschaftspsychologische Unternehmensberatung GmbH; TU Wien; Wiener Sozialdienste Alten- und Pflegedienste GmbH; Johanniter Österreich Ausbildung und Forschung gemeinnützige GmbH; Fonds Soziales Wien; Microtronics Engineering GmbH; Dr. Bernard Rupp; CogVis Software und Consulting GmbH; ILOGS Mobile Software GmbH und FragNebenan GmbH.

Contact

DI Julia Sauskojus

UIV Urban Innovation Vienna GmbH

E-Mail: julia.sauskojus@urbaninnovation.at

Sponsors

FFG

Partners

This post is also available in: German