Challenges, Opportunities and Solutions for Ubiquitous Eldercare

Challenges, Opportunities and Solutions for Ubiquitous Eldercare

Paolo Bellavista (University of Bologna, Italy), Dario Bottazzi (University of Bologna, Italy), Antonio Corradi (University of Bologna, Italy) and Rebecca Montanari (University of Bologna, Italy)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-658-7.ch006
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Abstract

A non-negligible number of elder citizens, who represent a growing fraction of the population in developed countries, have to face a number of daily-life problems stemming from their partial and progressive loss of motor, sensorial, and cognitive skills. That often makes it difficult or impossible to live autonomously and, in today’s small families, often forces elder hospitalization. Device miniaturization and ubiquitous connectivity can provide the technological support for valid alternatives to hospitalization, capable of reducing welfare costs, elder sense of loneliness, and elder exclusion from social relationships. On the one hand, wired and wireless sensors and actuators can improve elder life independence, for example, by transforming homes in smart eldercare environments with remote health-status monitoring, remote diagnostics, and facilitated house activities. On the other hand, pervasive wireless computing enables novel opportunities for caregivers, elders, and their family members, friends, and neighbors to collaborate and coordinate in an impromptu way to provide eldercare and social support anytime and anywhere. The chapter overviews the state-of-art of solutions for elder assistance, typically at home, and for coordinated-care networking by pointing out the need for advanced context-aware frameworks to properly establish ubiquitous and spontaneous communities of helpers when needed.

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