Ageing, Chronic Disease, Technology, and Smart Homes: An Australian Perspective

Ageing, Chronic Disease, Technology, and Smart Homes: An Australian Perspective

Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-825-8.ch002
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This chapter explores ageing, chronic disease, technology and social change. Healthcare has been transformed through medical technology but there is much still to be done to enable seamless exchanges between all carers, which is expected to improve safety, quality and efficiency. There is massive potential for technology to transform the experience of ageing including assisting with the management of chronic disease, coordinated care and guided self-care for consumers. Innovative technologies are increasingly available to assist in maintaining health and independent living. This includes telecare, telehealth, assistive technologies, robots and smart homes. A challenge is in providing access to and support in the use of technologies where there are clear benefits to consumers, carers, providers and funders of healthcare. The chapter also reports on the Queensland Smart Home Initiative which is one of several organisations internationally that share a mission of assisting people to be supported through these technologies.
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Technology And Social Change

There are many aspects to the grey digital divide that will be explored in this paper. These include a lower level of use of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) by older people (Madden & Savage, 2000), the unequal availability of ICT across sectors of healthcare and aged care, the need for ICT infrastructure and applications for home and community care, the need for technology to assist with chronic illness and the need to help consumers and carers with access to information.

That our lives have been and continue to be transformed by technology is a given. It has liberated people from drudgery and has been the key to social transformation over millennia. Where modern technology is applied, there are many-fold increases in productivity, higher quality, greater convenience, lower costs and lower prices. Technology usually results in a range of changes including simplification of work processes and disintermediation as whole steps in the production process are eliminated; it also provides for both greater standardisation and individual customisation.

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