Ambient assisted living technology: Comparative perspectives of users and caregivers
Developed societies are currently facing severe demographic changes: the world population is ageing at an unprecedented rate. This demographic trend will be also followed by an increase of people with physical limitations. New challenges are being raised to the traditional health care systems, not only in Portugal, but also in all other European states. There is an urgent need to find solutions that allow extending the time people can live in their preferred environment by increasing their autonomy, self-confidence and mobility. AAL4ALL is a project currently being developed in cooperation with 34 Portuguese interdisciplinary partners, from industry to academia, R&D and social disciplines, which employs a novel conceptual approach through the development of an ecosystem of products and services for Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) associated to a business model and validated through large scale trial. This paper presents a comparative perspective of the needs and attitudes towards technology of the AAL users and caregivers identified in the analysis of a set of three different surveys: a users survey targeted at the Portuguese seniors and pre-seniors; an informal caregivers survey targeted at the family, friends and neighbours who provide care without any financial compensation; and a formal caregivers survey targeted at physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, and direct-care workers providing care to elders. The first results indicate that AAL solutions must be affordable, user friendly and have a true perceived benefit to their users.