Creating an integrated IT platform to connect a broad range of digital solutions dedicated to improving the health, well-being, and independence of ageing people – this is the aim of the SHAPES (Smart and Healthy Ageing through People Engaging in Supportive Systems) innovation project of fourteen European countries. The Czech Republic is represented in the project by Palacký University Olomouc and University Hospital Olomouc.
The four-year project, with the budget of €21 million and supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, also includes the development and improvement of fifteen technological and social solutions focussed on providing support to elderly people. These solutions will be tested on more than 2,000 seniors in the participating countries to ensure that they are meaningful and suitable for users from different countries and cultures.
Experts from almost forty participating organisations, led by the Assisting Living & Learning Institute of Maynooth University, Ireland, will investigate the participants’ health, environmental, and lifestyle factors; a subsequent analysis will enable them to identify their needs and provide personalised solutions in a way that respects the requirements for protection of personal data and ensures that the citizens will have trust in digital innovations. The project will also have an impact on the long-term sustainability of healthcare and social care systems in Europe, where, according to the UN, elderly people make up a quarter of the population.
The guarantor of the segment of the project focussed on understanding the lifestyle of the elderly is the Olomouc University Social Health Institute (OUSHI) of the Sts Cyril and Methodius Faculty of Theology (CMFT) of Palacký University Olomouc. “Our main task is to design categories of people, called ‘personas’, which should describe typical users, especially in terms of their abilities, and then define the individual needs of various people who can benefit the most from digital technologies. We will use qualitative methods, in-depth interviews with seniors based on the DIPEx methodology, which we obtained from the University of Oxford. The collected information will serve as the ethos of the project, and its results will benefit not only senior citizens, but also their families and service providers,” said Zdeněk Meier, the project manager for OUSHI.
“For CMFT, this involvement in an international project funded by Horizon 2020 is a highly prestigious affair. We will benefit from the cooperation in the international DIPEx International network under the auspices of the CMFT Dean and the OUSHI team leader, Peter Tavel, when we recently created a thematic module Ageing for the Health Talks portal, based on interviews with seniors. Participation in the project was made possible on the basis of several years of cooperation between OUSHI and Malcolm MacLachlan from Maynooth University, the main coordinator of the project, at whose workplace I completed a several-month internship,” added Zdeněk Meier.
Olomouc University Hospital is represented in the SHAPES project by the National Telemedicine Centre, whose task is to verify new technologies in the field of Smart Homes using the latest digital solutions for data collection, such as a patient’s movement around their apartment, monitoring their environment, but also changes in behaviour connected with fall detection etc. The Centre is also involved in a pilot campaign related to the use of telemedicine services in order to improve its own system according to the latest approaches currently available in Europe. It will also verify the available methods for monitoring the use of drugs in the elderly person’s home environment. All of these activities are carried out in tandem with the Department of Social Affairs of the City of Olomouc.