A Report on the advancements of smart homes for care of the aged and impaired in Australia. Made for the minister for health and ageing:
The Hon Nicola Roxon, MP
There are many different applications of smart homes, from power saving solutions, increases in convenience and comfort, greater peace of mind due to their security features, the ability to process medical essential medical information and passing said information on to the appropriate authority and even the ability to help users monitor their own behaviours, such as with trying to lose weight or keeping blood sugar at the appropriate level for diabetics. The advancements in technology have allowed product developers the freedom of wireless data transmission (although in some cases connection to a power socket is required) which has resulted in immense innovation allowing nearly any electronic device in smart homes to be controlled from another location remotely or from a central, often portable device within the home. The smart home concept is not without its issues however. Legal, moral and ethical issues have arisen, most prominently in the medical field and these issues must be sorted out before much expansion in this field can occur.
Table of Contents
Abstract…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….………2 1.0 Smart homes for the aged and impaired4
1.1 What is a smart home?4
1.2 Wellness and disease management 5
1.3 Remote monitoring5
1.4 Flaws in the system 5
1.0 Smart homes for the aged and impaired
In the five years to June 2008, the number of people aged 65 years and over increased by 300,000 (or 11.8%) to reach 2.8 million. The proportion of the population in this age group also increased, rising from 12.7% to 13.2%. (3) In Australia alone (3) predicts that the number of people aged 65 and over will increase by just under 5.4 million people from 2007 till 2056. This translates to an increase of fivefold for people in the 85 and over age bracket. With the numbers of aged people in Australia rapidly rising both in total number and in percentage our society must find a way of coping with the increasing number that will require monitoring and medical care. TEST
Image: POPULATION AGED 65 YEARS AND OVER, Statistical Divisions, Australia - 30 June 2008 (2) 1.1 What is a smart home?
One possible way to contribute to the solution of this problem is through smart homes. Firstly one must ask oneself, what a smart home is and how can it help the aged and impaired and or their friends, family and health care practitioners. Well a smart home build specifically for care of the elderly “ is a promising and cost-effective way of improving home care for the elderly and the disabled in a non-obtrusive way, allowing greater independence, maintaining good health and preventing social isolation.” (5) This is done by equipping the home “with special electronics to enable the remote control of automated devices specifically designed for remote health care.” (4) examples of these devices include: “local intelligence unit (LIU) responsible for sensor data analysis and the detection of critical or suspicious situations” (4) the LIU is then connected to a “remote control center (RCC). The RCC ensures response in case of emergency and the interface between the patient at home and a set of people involved in the health care process such as alarm response operators, doctors, nurses, emergency specialists, social workers, family or voluntary caregivers and helpers, technicians, and system administrators.” Obviously this is very helpful as it allows the patient to maintain their independence while also alerting the necessary individuals the instant anything seems to have gone wrong. 1.2 Wellness and disease management
There is what is known as “Wellness and disease management” where the individual must be “actively participating in the management process.” (6). There are a...