Assisting older people to age in place

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Our partnership with Umps Health has enabled us to use assistive technology to support older people with diverse care needs to remain living safely and independently at home.

The needs of older Australians are changing, and assistive technology is fast becoming a common feature to support older people to live safely and independently in their own homes.

Last year, Mercy Health Foundation and Mercy Aged and Community Care partnered with Umps Health to develop innovative new services to help older people with diverse care needs to age in place, and improve the quality of both formal and informal care.

The Umps Health project involves the use of non-invasive, passive sensors to detect how and when people interact with their everyday household appliances like their kettle, TV and microwave. Patterns of interactions with devices are mapped to each individual, with Umps Health analysing these patterns of behaviour to detect subtle abnormalities in our clients’ routines. The aim of the technology is to predict when an incident, like a fall, might occur, as well as providing reassurance to family members that their loved one is maintaining their usual routine at home. This information is then presented to family members in the form of a dashboard, accessible anytime, anywhere via mobile, tablet or computer.

Our partnership with Umps Health is already yielding great results. For example, Umps Health’s initial home detection system included a number of sensor lights to indicate that the system was functioning. Through feedback from our clients, we discovered that people were unplugging the devices as these lights made them uncomfortable. Within two weeks of getting our feedback, Umps Health had redesigned their hardware to reduce the number of sensor lights in their system, without compromising the safety features. This has greatly reduced the incidence of people unplugging the devices at home.

Our collaboration with Umps Health has allowed us to co-design our services with our clients and their families, and enabled us to better support our clients’ diverse needs.

Last reviewed March 9, 2018.

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