Using Ambient Assistive Living to deal with the COVID-19 Pandemic

In light of the most recent world events around SARS-CoV-2 (COVID -19), a lot of people can’t stop wondering how this is affecting the most vulnerable group out there ‘The Elderly’. The Office of National Statistics in the UK has reported that 1 in every 5 adults in the UK is over the age of 65, in a population of approximately 66 million, these numbers are quite significant and to provide for them is a challenge for the government. As per WHO (World Health Organization) the Elderly and individuals with predisposing medical conditions are the most at risk of contracting the virus which has affected them in several ways. The Elderly are suffering from social isolation that has a direct impact on their mental health, lack of accessibility to care and inability to obtain their essential food and medical needs.

AWTG’s Ambient Assistive Living (AAL) technology can provide a solution for the welfare of the elderly. It can reduce the burden on NHS (National Health Service) and social care during these testing times by reducing the incidence of avoidable injuries. Assistive Living combines ambient technology to provide an ecosystem of sensors, computer devices, mobile devices, wireless connection and software to support the needs of the Elderly living alone.

AAL technology can benefit not only the users but the caregivers, the remote monitoring feature allows family members to maintain a safe distance from the vulnerable individuals whilst ensuring their safety remotely. These technologies are linked with telecare, telehealth, smart home and mobile technology to facilitate an easier method of monitoring the Elderly’s health, increase accessibility to medical professional without having to leave their homes and sending out alerts and notifications to their caregivers if they ever surpass a sensor’s threshold.

AAL uses intelligent technology to process the information provided by the monitoring devices in detecting fall, smoke detection, tracking of the individual’s whereabouts, medication intake and unauthorized movement into or out of the house. This technology can be a great asset for concerned family members and social care providers during the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID -19)pandemics. It allows the Elderly to have more frequent communication with members of the family and community. This helps boost the morale of the individuals most affected by the strict self-isolation policies of the government.

Falling is one of the most common causes of trauma for individuals aged 65+ (NHS, 2018) with an increasing number of emergency room admissions and prolonged hospital stays due to increased healing time in the Elderly, this not only increases their risk of contracting the virus with hospitals being the primary areas of infections but also contribute to the expenses encountered by Government during the pandemic. Elderly can reduce the risk of other health damages whilst falling by using wearable devices that alert the caregivers of their fall and allows for immediate assistance to be dispatch. The activity recognition software (using cameras or movement sensors) can use the data collected to detect any form of high-risk activity and alert the care providers in advance.

AAL from AWTG could be the difference between a neglected individual and an Elderly that is well cared for with the help of technology and robust monitoring systems. The need to reduce the cases of hospitalization during this pandemic has highlighted the benefits of fall detection by AAL and by implementing this technology into the homes of the Elderly we can continue to provide round the clock care and support without risking their lives and exposing them unnecessary to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID -19).