The Potential of Telecare/Aal Technologies for Enabling ‚Ageing in Place‘ in Rural Areas in Poland and Germany

Friday, July 18, 2014: 6:30 PM
Room: Booth 40
Oral Presentation
Jolanta PEREK-BIALAS , Department of Demography and Statistics, Warsaw School of Economics & Jagiellonian University Cracow, Warsaw, Poland
Andreas HOFF , Faculty of Social Sciences, Zittau-Görlitz University, Goerlitz, Germany
The vast majority of older people wants to continue living independently in their own homes for as long as possible. This preference poses a particular challenge in rural areas where family members are often not available for support since they moved to the economic hubs in the big cities for earning a living and care providers have to travel long distances. Telecare and other ambient assisted living (AAL) technologies can provide an alternative if linked to emergency care services. This paper will explore the potential of these technologies for enabling older people in rural areas to ‚ageing in place‘ in two regions in Poland and Germany with a particularly high share of older people – the Małopolska region surrounding the city of Cracow and Upper Lusatia („Oberlausitz“) to the east of the city of Dresden. Both areas are characterized by outmigration of the younger generations, declining fertility and growing shares of older people.

This research analyzes the potential of telecare/AAL technologies for improving older people’s quality of life based on two explorative pilot studies focusing on the provision of telemedical services to senior citizens. Thereby, the analysis considers opportunities as well as risks of telecare/AAL application in older people’s homes. In the Małopolska region, a group of older people was provided with telecare/telehealth equipment monitoring bodily functions, such as ECG or blood pressure, which are monitored by telemedical/telecare systems enabling remote examination, consultation, and diagnosis. The German study takes a slightly different approach in focusing on matching older people with an interest in AAL/telecare technologies with providers of the latter. The process will be evaluated in a longitudinal user survey measuring their experiences before, during and after using the technology, which in turn will be compared with findings from an independent sample.