We're developing a low-cost, non-invasive sensor, monitoring and support system to enable older people to live in their own homes for longer.

The challenge

Delivering healthcare to an aging population

As we grow older, certain day-to-day activities can become difficult as our health becomes more fragile. Within our own homes, the risk of falls and related injuries increases. The aging global population requires improved and cost-effective ways to reduce these risks and manage age-related health issues.

To help older people live in their own homes for longer and reduce the strain to them, their families and the healthcare and aged care systems, there is an opportunity to create smarter and safer homes for the elderly and help improve their quality of life.  

Improving care for elderly in their own home.  ©iStock, SilviaJansen

Our response

Developing a system for smarter safer homes

Through the Australian e-Health Research Centre, we have developed a low-cost, non-invasive sensor, monitoring and support system for use in either individual homes or a supported-living community.

The Smarter Safer Homes system can:

  • Sense the physical environment including motion, light termperature, humidity, vibration and power usage throughout the house
  • Build a picture of a person's daily routine and detect deviations that may indicate illness or injury
  • Connect with video-conferencing systems, facilitating social connections with family and friends
  • Collect disease-specific health information such as blood pressure, glucose levels, weight and body temperature using wireless biomedical devices that transmit data to remote servers for examination and follow-up by healthcare providers

The results

Improving quality of life

Since 2013, the Smarter Safer Homes system has been trialed in a number of lcoations across Australia to support older people in a range of contexts involving their families, healthcare and aged care providers, and local general practitioners.

The wireless sensor networks were installed in more than 70 broadband-connected residences with user feedback helping to continue to tailor the platform and its interface for purpose.

We are continuing to trial Smarter Safer Homes and are seeking new collaborators, with the aim of providing: 

  • A decision support system for clinicians and healthcare workers that provides alerts and triage for the care of older people living in their own homes
  • a communication and support system for families and carers as well as for older residents.
  • real-world testing of systems in a broadband-connected house.

The initial Smarter Safer Homes trial was funded through a New South Wales Government initiative. We are now undertaking a number of trials and seeking more partners in order to provide different services to the aged and disability community. 

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