Fujitsu uses Gerontechology to alleviate the pressure of ageing population and enable “Ageing in Place”

The problem of ageing population in Hong Kong is becoming more serious. According to the Elderly Commission1, in 2014, the number of the elderly aged 65+ accounted for 15.4% of the total population in Hong Kong. However, this number will increase to 30% of the population in Hong Kong by 2034. In addition, the ratio of the elderly person to the working-age persons will become 1:2.4 by 2030. The ageing society will pose heavy pressure on the entire medical system and elderly care services.

Facing these pressing societal issues, all walks of live are anticipating using technology to alleviate the burden on society. More importantly is to achieve “Ageing in Place", enabling the elderly to live in a familiar and safe home environment which have positive effect on their physical and mental health.

It is feasible to promote "Ageing in Place" through the adoption of gerontechnology. For instance, it can monitor the health of the elderly by using equipment with advanced technologies such as IoT and 5G. It can also be used for remote consultation, reducing the cost of medical care and accidental casualties. Moreover, using artificial intelligence and robotics to increase daily communications can reduce the loneliness of elderly. In a nutshell, gerontechnology can provide support to caregivers and strengthen community connections to create a better care environment for elderly.

Analyzing health status by sounds detection

To improve the quality of life and create a better society, Fujitsu has developed an "Intelligent Care Solution". It can be used to detect the living environment and health condition of the elderly in real time through the non-invasive remote monitoring station and IoT technology. It can collect and analyze the sounds, including coughing, snoring, breathing, talking, TV, abnormal loud noises such as falling, and even monitors vital signs and track locations with other sensing devices. The sensing algorithm will have diagnosis. In the case of abnormal event, it can identify and send alert to the service center automatically, so that the caregiver can immediately follow up and take appropriate actions. In addition, the device can be used as a mean for service center to actively communicate with the elderly and issue medication reminder.

In view of the shortage of caregivers in Hong Kong, such technology can indeed provide a 24/7 protection to elderly while not intruding their privacy. This can also help family members to take care of elderly at ease.

Monitoring patient’s condition by Healthware Smart Sensing Platform

Another solution "Healthware Smart Sensing Platform" is for the elderly with long-term illnesses. It can be used with the wireless blood pressure monitor and pulse oximeter to monitor the heartbeat, blood pressure, respiratory rate and blood oxygen level of the elderly throughout the day. The platform allows medical staff to remotely monitor the health condition of elderly patients, reducing the need for clinical visits and hospitalization. In conjunction with the "Intelligent Care Solution", elderly with chronic health problems do not have to stay in the hospital while the daily medical care and round-the-clock health monitoring are available at home.

The ageing population is an undeniable fact and the best way is to use gerontechology to overcome these challenges. The elderly can stay at home comfortably and safely while reducing the burden of the medical system. Whether it is individuals, institutions, or public service providers we should realize the benefits of gerontechology and apply in life to create a better living environment for our future.

1Elderly Commission (2017). Elderly Services Programme Plan
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