For many reasons, it is important to help elderly individuals maintain as much mobility and independence as they can reasonably handle, in spite of physical and cognitive limitations. But as mentioned here recently (see “Are Health Tech Devices Designed for the Elderly?“) some older people have difficulty working with many wearable devices. That’s why a new research project from Fraunhofer IPMS is so interesting; it is a wrist-worn device that performs limited, programmable tasks designed from the ground up for the needs of older patients.
With funding from BMBF, the German Ministry for Education and Research, Fraunhofer researchers developed a system that includes a watch that uses mobile phone signals to connect to emergency services, caregivers, and family members. The buttons on the device can be programmed to meet the specific needs of an individual patient. Communication is bidirectional; the patient can signal for help or navigation assistance, and the system can provide reminders to take medication or appointments. Only the available options are displayed, making it much easier for the patient to navigate the system.
Fraunhofer IPMS representatives will be demonstrating the system at the MEDICA show in Dusselforf, Germany, this week.