Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) involves the use of devices and ways to ensure that the older persons in the home stay safe and are able to age in place. It includes smart devices, wireless networks, software application, computer, and medical sensors. These technologies make aging in place possible. AAL makes lives easier and to some extent, self-dependent. The methods and techniques used in AAL are user-centric and are integrated into the living environment of the individuals. For older adults, it is a boon as it helps in the prevention, curing and enhancing their wellness.
Purpose of designing Ambient Assisted Living
The demographic change has led to the introduction of AAL technologies. The high cost involved in healthcare can be alleviated through it. People want a superior quality of life at every age. So AAL equips them with the potential to live alone without seeking anybody’s support. It addresses the comfort needs as well as the security concerns through integration with the social environment.
Situational examples where Ambient Assisted Living is useful:
Here are certain daily life examples where you will find Ambient Assisted Living quite beneficial:
1. When you have the cooker on the gas stove and forgot to switch it off, you will be protected against kitchen fires.
2.Protection against burglary.
3. Turning the light on and off contextually.
4. Setting the temperature of the room with a smart thermostat.
5. Controlling the music as per the user’s choice.
6. Intelligent detection of smoke with a smart smoke detector.
7. Use during hiking.
8. In case of a self-learning system, there is a networking of the sensors. The fusion and evaluation of data, help in performing routine tasks. The system provides assistance as per the user’s age, to resolve the issues.
Benefits of using Ambient Assisted Living
According to the requirements of the individuals, the technology gets adapted but the reverse doesn’t happen. Not only the older people but also normal humans can also make use of Ambient Assisted Living for increasing the quality of life. Even the doctors, nurses, and everyone in a family can find this useful as it improves communication and facilitates social interaction.
Let us see the benefits which a person can get using AAL in the following section:
1. Reduction of the number of caregivers through the use of Ambient Assisted Living:
In the case of an elder in your home, who are dependent on the caregivers for every small work, this is a huge relief. It is because AAL provides enough support that reduces the dependency of older persons to a great extent. They can control simple things such as switching on/off the TV, lights, opening the doors, preventing kitchen fires with a product like FireAvert, etc. with ease.
2. Ambient Intelligence (AmI):
This is the capability of a computing system to sense its surroundings and provide a response to the people. On the Ambient intelligence, systems which are built are referred to as AAL tools. Among the variety of such tools, medication management tools, and medicine reminders play a vital role in controlling the health conditions.
3. Emergency response system:
Today everyone uses smartphones. AAL technology helps in ensuring a high-level safety through the use of a mobile emergency response system. Other such systems include fall detection and video surveillance. All such facilities can keep the family members alert and take quick action in case of any discrepancy.
4. Ambient Assisted Living helps in mobility and automation:
This lets the seniors work on their own without waiting for the caregivers to provide support. It also monitors the regular daily activities and issues reminders whenever required.
5. Disease management:
Thanks to the advancement in Information technology which has made AAL more beneficial. Such systems are capable of managing diseases that a patient is suffering from. This helps the patient take control of the situation without having to visit the hospital often. Thus there is a significant reduction in healthcare costs.
The real-time monitoring of the health parameters creates alerts whenever the situation is critical. All the family members will get a signal regarding the matter. Thus at the right time, you can seek the attention of the doctors and prevent the situation from worsening further.
6. The non-invasive systems of Ambient Assisted Living for providing health signals:
There are a lot of sensors in our smartphones today. This includes a global positioning system (GPS), gyroscope, proximity sensor, accelerometer, all of which helps in real-time mobility detection. Besides this, the patches, wearable devices, and other smart garments help in providing health signals at the right time.
The infrared sensing, optical sensing, and oscillometer are different techniques which help in measurement of sugar levels, blood pressure as well as cardiac output. It is accomplished through the use of wearable sensors that are not only handly but also reduces worries of the caretakers.
7. Pill dispensers:
With the increase in age, people take a lot of medicines to maintain their normal health condition. In such a scenario, there is a high probability of missing some dose. The pill dispensers have a great role in avoiding this because they are designed to dispense the medicines at specific times. Thus the chances of forgetting any medicine are eliminated.
When a senior takes a number of medicines, you can store them in the various compartments of the device. At specific times, it releases the right dose of the medicine automatically into a compartment. You can also hear an alarm when it is time to take the medicine. The concerned person can open the compartment and consume it, without having to remember a specific time or dose.
In case the person fails to take the medicine despite the alarm, the device sends another signal to the patient’s contacts. Thus through the monitoring system, the family or caregivers come to know this and take the necessary steps.
8. Assistive Robots:
This is another aspect of the Ambient Assisted Living technology which helps in the elimination of the physical limitations of elderly persons in your home. It does this by providing them support in carrying out their routine activities with ease. Thus they can lead a balanced social life.
The assistive robots can basically guide in the following activities:
a) ADL or Activities of Daily Living:
Grooming, dressing, feeding, detection, grasping of household objects transferring an elderly person from the bed to the wheelchair, picking dropped objects, etc. are all included in ADL. A person can easily perform these with the help of ADL assistive robots.
b) IADL or Instrumental Activities of Daily Living:
These are the activities that need the assistance of instruments such as preparation or consumption of food, movement, shopping, maintaining hygiene, etc. The IADL robots have specialization for such functions. There are robots that can even check vitals with the help of a stethoscope.
c) EADL or Enhanced Activities of Daily Living:
The social activities such as communicating with others, doing hobbies, learning, etc. come under this category. There are service robots and companion robots for such tasks. The former helps in interaction and the later behaves like a companion to improve the emotional well being of the person.
9) Other activities:
Besides the above three categories of activities, there are robots that help in telepresence, providing assistance in identifying where certain objects are kept, monitoring as well as interfacing with the devices. All this makes caregiver stress free. It saves a lot of time as the elders and other beloved members can lead an independent life.