Ambient assisted living
A serious health care crisis is the horizon. The aging population will soon be faced with a significantly understaffed medical system. To help deal with this shortage and increase access to preventative medicine, medical professionals are turning to technologies that can improve patient care.
At the heart of this development is a concept called Ambient Assisted Living. By placing passive sensors throughout living spaces, data can be collected that medical professionals can then use to monitor the health and activity of patients. About this idea, the Globe & Mail writes, “Emerging technology can be used to detect everything from a seizure to whether a senior has left the stove on.”
The challenge in the idea of remote health monitoring lies in society’s adoption which begins with the media professionals. Although they are quick to realize the benefits, there is of course government approval that can often slow down adoption. In Canada, the population over 65 will increase by 126 percent between 2000 and 2030. However, the government is not funding any type of assisted living research programs.
Medical professionals in Canada are faced with a government that is disinterested in ambient assisted living, those at the forefront of research and technology see things differently:
“It’s simply a matter of when, not if, these products make it into the home,” says Alex Mihailidis, an associate professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in the development of intelligent home systems for elder care and wellness and director of the school’s Intelligent Assistive Technology and Systems Lab. “I think the acceptability of these technologies is increasing every day because people are realizing that the technology can help keep them at home.”
Though there is opposition and slow adoption of ambient assisted living, its integration into our lives in imminent. Society seems to have had little problem with actively making very personal information publicly available through our participation in online activities. Now, we need to consider how technology can help monitor our actively in a more passive way and what lasting and life changing benefits this could bring.