Spinning off Gerotechnology Business Activities: The LLM Care Best Practice Paradigm

Spinning off Gerotechnology Business Activities: The LLM Care Best Practice Paradigm

Evangelia D. Romanopoulou, Vasiliki I. Zilidou, Panagiotis E. Antoniou
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8234-4.ch023
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Aging is an economic and societal challenge for the 21st century in Europe. With the percentage of elderly increasing, the national health and social care services face the need to adapt the increased costs. In this chapter, LLM service is going to be described as it comes in response to market research in the area of ICT, providing an opportunity for seniors to improve their cognitive and physical condition and continue to feel active members of society. The objectives of LLM Care are: Establishing a self-financing project. Utilizing existing infrastructure (Marketing, Financial, Management and IT) of the research institution from which it emerged (Research Committee of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki). Deploy a network of organizations and stakeholders that will support seniors with Alzheimer's disease as the first customers in the first year of operation. Become established as a self-sustained, viable company in Greece developing future LLM services in the Greek market for homes, care centers and medical healthcare facilities.
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The number of elderly people worldwide is constantly increasing. Specifically, by 2050, the number of people aged 65 or older is expected to be 1.5 billion. This number is estimated to increase almost by three times compared to the one in the previous 40 years, representing 16% of the world’s population (United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division [UN], 2011). This remarkable phenomenon occurs in eighteen out of twenty countries in the word with the highest percentages in Europe. These countries are estimated to include between 13.2% and 17.9% of the population aged 65 or older and are expected to age further in the next decades due to overall longer life expectancies (National Institute on Aging, 2011).

A range of important and interesting data of the European Commission statistical service, show that the Greek population follow the European trend and increases in overall age. People aged 65 or older represented 18.9% of the country’s total population in 2010. This number by the year of 2030 is expected to rise up to 24% (General Secretariat of National Statistical Service of Greece [GSNSSG], 2005)

Moreover, according to the Greek Household Budget Survey (Greek Household Budget Survey [GSNSSG], 1999) the percentage of elderly people living alone or with their husband/wife has significantly increased over the time. Data extracted show that during the period 1974 -- 1999 this percentage increased by 22%. Co-residence at intergenerational level has traditionally been a substantial source of family support for the elderly people. The elderly have the opportunity to enjoy financial and social support, companionship and personal care while they co-reside with their relatives. At the end of the 20th century, the percentage of elderly living with their relatives substantially declined (approx by 32%).

Due to the percentage of the elderly people growing, important impacts on health services, employment and society as a whole are observed (Daniilidou 2008). The elderly population is inextricably linked with a variety of diseases such as ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, depression as well as Alzheimer’s disease (amongst other forms of dementia) (Lopez et al., 2006). These elements increase strain to the health care systems, as an extensive care effort is involved with elevated health costs that are created by the escalation of health care through increasing medical services, devices, or pharmaceutical products that are needed. As a result, the national health and social care systems face the ever pressing need to have to adapt to these increased expenses.

By the year 2050, according to the baseline projection of Eurostat the proportion of elderly people for all member states of EU-27 is foreseen to increase within the coming decades (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Old age dependency ratio for EU-27 from 2004 to 2050 (estimation, in %)

(European Commission: Special Report No1, 2004-2050)

The old age dependency ratio of 50.42% in 2050, with the increase of elderly people in society, will place a heavy financial burden on social costs, such as pensions, health and long-term care systems. Thus, there is increasing consideration in various national authorities on the effective distribution of the available budgetary resources for healthcare.

The healthcare expenditures for all member states (as % of GDP) as they are compared to the forecasted numbers for 2050, are depicted in Figure 2. In general, the public spending on healthcare will significantly augment from 2004 to 2050 expressing an overall trend towards higher rates of public spending.

Figure 2.

Public spending on healthcare by member states of EU-27 (in % of GDP)

(European Commission: Special Report No1, 2004-2050).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Ambient Assisted Living (AAL): Concepts, methods, electronic systems, products and services, which transparently assist the daily lives of people in need of support.

Gerotechnology: The interdisciplinary field that observes the connection between older people and technology. It uses the appropriate design and new technologies to promote independent living and autonomy in the elderly people, while strengthening the support of their networks.

Spin-Off: The divisions of companies or organizations that then become independent businesses with assets, employees, intellectual property, technology, or existing products that are taken from the parent company.

Serious Games: Electronic games that have entertainment only as an incidental objective. Usually refers to software and hardware solutions that utilize game design principles in order to motivate the user towards a productive real life activity.

Exergaming: Serious games that are designed and implemented towards the aim of motivating and enabling their users to adhere to exercise regimens that will facilitate health and quality of life maintenance and/or improvement.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Technologies that provide facilitate the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals), computers as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio-visual systems, which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information

Public Affairs (PA): A term that is used for public policy and administration associated with government relations, media communications and public interest.

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