Kurt Majcen, coordinator of RegionAAL, was again invited to deliver a session at Graz University about Active and Assisted Living (AAL) as part of the course “Interdisziplinäre Ringvorlesung Alter(n)“. On June 14th 2016 he presented the topics of AAL and RegionAAL to an interested audience. The title of the lecture was “RegionAAL – the AAL testregion in Styria”.
A lively discussion of a really wide range of topics (e.g. expected interest of older adults in the new technologies, motivation opportunities in the recruitment process for both the test and the control group, user interfaces today and in the future) followed the presentation. This brought forth new ideas and practical considerations for both the listeners and the lecturer.
The party of engaged students was quite limited this time. This was probably due to the parallel event of the Austrian football team playing in the Euro 2016 and the inclement weather.
A comment from the audience proved that this type of activity was deemed valuable nevertheless: “This session was a real benefit!”
All represented regions told about their different experiences. The deviations between the regions were used as starting points for discussions. Especially the discussion about lifestyle brought new ideas concerning the value chain. Another hot topic was the recruiting process and problems that were encountered at the various stages including how to motivate people for the control groups (and keep them motivated throughout the project life cycle). The discussion proved valuable for all participants as ideas and possible solutions were exchanged.
The first part of the project explored for which technologies is evidence on effectiveness and acceptance in our potential user group already available. For some of these issues, existing products were gathered which support the elderly.
However, we wanted to find out what our potential users say to the application of such existing technologies. Exemplary technologies were therefore presented in two workshops at our partners in Kirschallee and Geriatric Health Center Graz – partly in the form of pictures and partly as real products which the interested participants could take into their hands and closely observe.
Our team received a lot of useful feedback and questions about how the products are used in practice. It was also important to us during the workshop to get some of our questions answered, so that we can better target the needs of our potential test participants during the integration- and installation phase. These questions include:
What do you find good in the presented devices and facilities?
Do you have any concerns about the presented devices and facilities?
Can you imagine wearing such devices in everyday life, or using them in your apartment?
We were obviously also asked when the testing will start and how to participate. At this point, we had to somewhat disappoint the participants because things are still under preparation.
But the longest journey so far had been that of Gerd Hartinger from the Geriatric Health Centers of the city of Graz. His mission to Shanghai, China to present our project took place between 3rd and 8th April 2016 with a group of about 20 persons from organisations such as the KFU, FH Joanneum, provincial government of Drexler, various media etc.
A big part of the RegionAAL team (13 people) took off on 19 January 2016 to visit and learn from two other Austrian AAL test regions: the ZentrAAL in Salzburg and West-AAL in Innsbruck.
Following the team’s arrival at Salzburg and a short refreshment
break, the group was warmly welcomed by Cornelia Schneider and Victoria Willner (both from Salzburg Research) and we discussed some topics that are particularly interesting for us, including:
Requirements and users
Selection of technical components
On the same day, the RegionAAL team continued its journey to Innsbruck, where they had a chance to visit the beautiful old town and finish the day with a nice dinner. Not only did it provide the opportunity to reflect on the visit to ZentrAAL, but also for the development of further ideas for the project.
RegionAAL at West-AAL
The visit to West-AAL took place on 20 January 2016. The team was greeted by Felix Piazzolo and Luka Cotelj (both from the University of Innsbruck) in the senior residence Veldidenapark. The test region West-AAL operates one year longer than ZentrAAL; hence, beside the above mentioned issues, advice could be sought on other topics due to the experience of the team at West-AAL:
Rolling out technologies that are planned to be installed
Equipment and construction of a model apartment
These visits were certainly a very valuable experience for team RegionAAL, and they could take on a lot of experience for their own project. Presumably, the next AAL test region will also request an appointment to visit us in a year’s time … 🙂
Part of the RegionAAL project team gathered on 10 December 2015 for a visit to the AAL-Test Region modulAAR in the Care Competence Center of the Austrian Workers’ Samaritan Federation in Lackenbach.
The aim of the visit was to learn about the various aspects of these types of test regions in more detail. Since modulAAR was the first test region in Austria, a lot of experience could be shared about the initial set-up of requirements, technical implementation of different solutions and recruitment of suitable test households, and scientifically observed studies, including the subsequent evaluation and reporting.
Following the interesting results of this visit, we look forward to next year’s visit to the two other Austrian AAL test regions.
NORTEXCEL2020 is a common project between the Portugese region of Norte and JOANNEUM RESEARCH, and currently focuses on developing ideas on how the industrial structures of the regions could be improved during the next few years.
The partners from Portugal spent a few days (30 November – 3 December) in Graz to identify a number of projects and activities in the areas of health and AAL which can lead to future collaborations between Styrian and Portuguese partners.
RegionAAL is seen as an exemplary project within the area of “pilot regions for the use of AAL technologies and to show the effectiveness of such solutions” which can be further developed as a common initiative in the future.
Can Styria define itself as an international model region for projects and activities in the area of “Healthy Aging”?
This and other similar questions were presented to participants of the fourth Health Executive Lounge 2015 des Human Technology Cluster Styria. RegionAAL was presented by Maria Fellner (JOANNEUM RESEARCH) as an introduction to the topic. In the subsequent panel discussion, Gerd Hartinger explained the significance of the test region for the Geriatric Health Centers in the city of Graz (GGZ) and also provided numerous examples of assistive technologies which are currently being tested or used in GGZ.
Key results of the discussion were that “Active Aging” – also know as an actively supported life for all people – is becoming increasingly important for our society and is therefore even more desirable that the numerous existing technologies finally enter the market and, subsequently, are applied in real life settings.
RegionAAL was presented, amongst other previously launched AAL Austrian test regions, during the 7th e-Health Day in Salzburg, organised by Salzburg Research. This allowed for the description and discussion of various interim stages of the project (survey of requirements, technical implementation, rollout for evaluation, available reports of evaluation) where the Austrian test regions currently stand. This allowed an interesting insight into the event for participants and also generated further questions, for instance: What happens after the pilot projects? When will technologies be available for an individual or individuals, and how much will these solutions cost?