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AAL4ALL Project First Results

The first results of the AAL4ALL project, which is currently being developed by Fraunhofer AICOS in cooperation with 34 Portuguese interdisciplinary partners, ranging from areas as industry to academia, R&D and social disciplines, are already available and were presented in the end of June at the pHealth 2012 Conference, in Porto.

The first steps of the AAL project were to specify the requirements of senior users by using dedicated surveys whose data will allow the AAL project researchers to understand how ICT technologies are already part of the daily activities of the target users and to define new markets for care products and services.

The results of these dedicated surveys allowed researchers to draw insights about the socio demographics of the Portuguese population over 50, concerning their health, families and social networks, economic situation, housing conditions, autonomy in developing the basic and instrumental daily activities, fears and insecurities and needs and attitudes towards technology.

The survey was answered by 1174 Portuguese citizens aged 50 and over in 18 different regions of the country, ranging from the Northern region of Bragança until the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, and these were its most relevant results:

- The large majority of respondents consider their health as fair, good, very good or excellent. Only a fifth of participants reported a weak health.

- In the evaluation of the current health condition, 39.2% of participants reported their health condition as healthy while 37.1% self-reported a chronic disease. Cardiovascular diseases are the most prevalent chronic disease to be commonly reported.

- Climbing stairs and bathing are the most frequently reported problems in what relates to difficulties with the basic activities of daily living. However, most of the respondents classify themselves as independent persons with a high level of autonomy.

- The main insecurities reported by the respondents are related with the fear of falling, burglary and fire.

- Regarding recreational and social activities, most of the respondents are very or even extremely satisfied with their participation in these events. In fact, the majority of individuals report a regular participation in this type of activities. However, more than a quarter report loneliness.

- Most of the respondents are satisfied with their access to the services, whether community, formal or legal services. However, the existence of a solution that could ease the access to services related with bureaucratic information, rights and duties is identified by the majority as very important.

- The results obtained indicate that the majority have access to cell phones, whilst one third of the respondents do not own such a device. Most of them have access to Internet at home. However, approximately two thirds of the inquired individuals have never used it.

- An analysis more focused on the use of AAL technologies reveal that one third of the respondents has never used this type of solutions. The majority, however, report some experience with AAL technologies independently of their type. Difficulties in the use of this type of technologies are reported by most of the subjects and half of the sample population refers the availability to invest in the acquisition of AAL technologies.

These results are very important in order to understand the needs of senior population and how can AAL solutions improve their general quality of life.

In fact, as population is ageing fast - in 2011, there were, approximately, 2 millions of older adults in Portugal – it is most necessary to facilitate healthy ageing, with autonomy and independence, by allowing older people to remain active in labour market as long as possible.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can play an extremely important role in achieving these goals. ICT can contribute to improve the quality of life of older people, ensuring a healthier and more independent life by helping them to overcome daily problems.

This is the motivation of the AAL4ALL project, which main goal is the mobilization of an industrial ecosystem of products and services in the scope of AAL and is specially focused on the definition of specific standards.

Source: 31.08.2012, Fraunhofer Portugal