Monitoring older citizens@risk for optimal interventions
The consequences of demographic ageing are higher population proportions of
physical frailty, cognitive impairment and social exclusion. This can lead to
transforming citizens from being active, productive members of society to becoming
increasingly dependent on health and social care.
We need a paradigm shift to prevention strategies, a new approach that puts the
citizen at the centre of their wellbeing and more responsible for it. The philosophy of
SPRINT is early risk detection and intervention for Active Ageing using self-
management supported by ICT. SPRINT aims to implement, test and evaluate a
prevention solution, minimizing the effects associated with normal ageing by early
sensing and intervention based on ICT solutions for declining physical and cognitive
conditions and hence promoting social inclusion. But prevention must begin earlier
than 65, ‘downstream’ from expensive care, so we target people from the age of 50.
So how can ICT help? Technology has advanced to allow unobtrusive sensing and
feedback of the vital information necessary to promote healthy living. But alone
sensing is insufficient; a paradigm change is needed with the individual as a self-
manager of his or her own health, encouraged and empowered by behaviour change
therapy and delivered by ICT tools. This solution must be fuelled by appropriate
nutrition and healthy lifestyle support to assist with prevention.
SPRINT will produce, evaluate and disseminate sensing and intervention prototypes
to promote physical and cognitive wellbeing, social inclusion and better nutrition.
Integrating the data from these domains will provide a holistic viewpoint of normal
ageing by determining features that contribute to physical and cognitive wellbeing.
We already know that proper nutrition is a key factor that has direct influence on
both physical and cognitive wellbeing. Indeed, poor diet leads from malnutrition at
one extreme to over-eating and eventual diabetes at the other. The consequence to
the individual and society in the longer term are significant and costly. On the other
hand, by utilizing behaviour change to enhance physical and cognitive wellbeing,
social inclusion will be positively affected. For example, the older person will have
the confidence in their physical and cognitive capability to continue to leave the
home, to continue longer in the workplace, to maintain a wide circle of friends and
hence to contribute positively to the economy and society. This approach will
directly benefit Carers and relatives.
Of course as the older person’s physical and cognitive abilities naturally decline over
time then it is inevitable that they may wish to stay at home more. Such decline
should be graceful, personalized, context-aware and managed by the individual in
association with a carer or relative, if appropriate. Software has advanced to
provide this context- aware and personalized support, providing we can gain an
understanding of the complex data that makes up an older person’s interaction with
their environment. In such a case SPRINT can assist with maintaining social contact
through the traditional means of telephone and social media, encouraging
acquaintances to continue to visit, in line with the ‘more years, better lives’
philosophy. An ethical approach is paramount. SPRINT cannot be overly intrusive; it
cannot override the rights of the individual to self-determination. SPRINT can assist
all the stake-holders: the older person, their relative or carer, the health care
system, the future economy and society in general.
SPRINT will use behaviour change approaches to improve physical and cognitive
wellbeing, social inclusion and nutrition. SPRINT will investigate the relationship
between these components and with behaviour change theory, to provide significant
advances in the ‘state of the art’ (SOA). These advances will be in sensing and
intervention of the attributes; feedback using a Dashboard (which we have named
‘Health E-Dashboard’) to improve self-management and in the understanding the
interaction, by data interpretation. Early risk identification is key; it is associated
with insufficient physical and cognitive activity, poor nutrition and potential
exclusion from society.
By adopting an approach of risk identification and intervention, SPRINT
will significantly impact on the quality of life of older people and ameliorate the
effects of Demographic ageing on the health system, economy and society.
SPRINT will deliver impact in both research and innovation. The research will focus
on how behaviour change strategies can promote health by allowing the individual
to self-manage their physical and cognitive wellbeing, supported by appropriate
nutrition. Adherence to these positive lifestyle approaches should improve social
inclusion. Big data analysis will investigate the effectiveness of the approach across
three regions in Europe, with contrasting health systems. Innovation will be in the
form of the creation of bespoke apps for user devices, supported by a cloud-based
Dashboard service delivered to people in their own homes using ICT appropriate to
need and user choice (e.g., connected television, smartphone, and tablet).
Commercial sensing devices will be used which have emerged from the burgeoning
Ambient Assisted Living marketplace (AAL marketplace 2015).
Hitherto, the important areas of physical, cognitive, nutrition and social inclusion
have been studied separately in national and European research projects. They
constitute many of the activities within the European Innovation Partnerships on
Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP 2015). However an understanding of the
multivariate factors associated with successful active ageing is an ambitious
objective, which begins with sensing and intervention, uses behaviour change
theory and needs the power of big data analysis. Self-management of these
components and their interaction based on an accessible Dashboard that is
delivered to the user by appropriate ICT constitutes a novel concept. SPRINT will
accomplish this objective by bringing together the stakeholder disciplines that are
vital for active ageing research: experts in behaviour change, computing science
and artificial intelligence, engineering, nutrition; supported by clinicians, industrials,
economists and of course older people that contribute to a user-centred,
participatory design philosophy.
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