Providing health to a rapidly aging population with the same or even fewer resources has become one of the grand challenges of this century for many governments in developed countries. A matter of particular urgency is to increase the autonomy and social participation of elderly people, since much evidence points into the direction that elderly people residing in a homecare setting are much more independent and active and—from an economic perspective—more viable as if they would be treated in long-term care facilities. The iCare project aims at developing and evaluating solutions that help to maintain the independence of people with an increased need of care by means of smart and mobile information technology. A particular emphasis is given to increase the autonomy of dementia patients.
In Switzerland, there are 110.000 people affected by a form of dementia. In Germany there are 1.2 million suffering from this disease. In an early stage of the disease, frequently family members (e.g. wife/husband, children) oversee care, which presents a great psychological and social burden to them. Not only are they not really trained for this task, they also do not have the right tools to do so. Accordingly, contrary to other projects, we put family members and caregivers in the focus of our attention.
In a first step, we identified the specific potential of technological solutions that are already existing or in the process of development for an integration in an overall concept and realized prototypes together with partners from the mentioned interest groups. The objective is that after a systematic evaluation of the prototypes by the members of the research project, third parties are able to produce commercial products and services that are integrated in an overall concept for people with increased need for help.