News Lundestad1

Published on December 25th, 2012

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Invention Might Solve the Problem of the Welfare State

By Eirik Brinchmann Lundestad

The end of World War 2 brought a baby boom to many western industrialized countries. In 2020 this generation will reach retirement age, which will affect society as we know it for decades.

The European welfare states will face even greater challenges than today, as it is not feasible that the governments can take care of all senior citizens that require care. It is therefore necessary that the many of them are able to keep living in their own homes.

A main struggle for the elderly is deteriorating memory and the adverse effects this has on everyday life and duties. Senile dementia weakens short-term memory, and also affects long-term memory. As a consequence many patients are not capable of remembering what happened before they became ill. Capacity problems in the public health care sector are increasing demand for alternative solutions to help the elderly manage their daily lives.

Smarthouse technology is a possible solution to the problem, and further development is necessary. According to interviews with health personnel, there is a market for new technology to assist elderly. This technology has to be simple enough for the old to understand and to use. A simple and intuitive mechanism is needed. Any system that is too advanced may just confuse and dishearten them.

The Smarthouse system is built around an automatic system which gives simple instructions if something has been forgotten, such as turning the heat off after cooking a meal. A possible solution is a computer connected to all the electrical functions in the home that may alert the old if something vital is forgotten.

The best solution would be a fully automatic system which gives simple instructions for the users. To provide for life and security it should mainly be connected the household’s electronic devices.

 

*Cover photo by Jonel Hanopol, fire photo by Steve Wilson

 

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