Technology-based services supporting ageing in place

1. Introduction

The demographic changes in the developed countries, which is leading to the so called ‘inversion of the demographic triangle’, will have a most dramatic impact on these societies. An increasing number of older citizens, with reduced physical and mental abilities and most often also with chronic and degenerative diseases, will need support in order to remain independent and ‘age in place’ in their homes. Independent living is an important target not only because it usually represents a strong wish of the older person, who wants to maintain a good quality of life, but also because it reduces the burden on hospitals and long term care facilities, which represent expensive care settings. ‘Ageing in place’ is an important element of a new strategy for increasing the quality of healthcare while keeping costs under control: moving from what Andy Grove, Chairman of Intel Corp., calls the ‘mainframe age’ of healthcare to a more distributed model, where each single house becomes a setting for preventing or managing diseases.
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