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Welfare technology improves safety, security, social participation, mobility and physical activities

Development and implementation of welfare technology can keep aging people both physically and socially active and contribute to longer independent living thus making the care models more economicly sustainable. Currently, there are 219,000 elderly people above the age of 80 in Norway. By 2030, that number will increase to 320,000. In 2000, there were 4.5 employees for each elderly above 80 years. In 2030, the number is projected to decrease to 3.5.

At present, every sixth student in middle school transitions to the healthcare industry. By 2025, with the same service offering, every fourth middle school student will need to become a healthcare worker, by 2035, every third, and so on.

Simultaneously, illnesses are changing due to the increase in lifestyle diseases, dementia and mental disorders. Furthermore, elderly often suffer from multiple complex illnesses.

This illustrates the extent of challenges the European welfare model currently faces. Furthermore, it creates a necessity for strategic work and demands alternative ways to meet such challenges. Numbers have proven that current challenges are so significant that they cannot be solved solely by the care sector. New solutions are now requiring new measures throughout and affecting the entire chain. Collaboration both within different parts of the public sector and between public and private sectors is necessary.

Co-design of new technologies along with new housing solutions is considered to be an important strategic tool to address these challenges. This is why Omsorgsbygg Oslo wishes to concentrate their work in the DAA project on the benefits of welfare technology.

“Welfare technological solutions can in many cases prevent the need for services or admission to an institution. Welfare technology is used primarily for technological assistance that improves the ability of individuals to fend for themselves in everyday life despite illness and social, mental or physical disability.”

Welfare technology is closely linked to Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) but whereas AAL focuses on “addressing the needs of the aging population”, welfare technology addresses not only the elderly but also other users of public services such as the handicapped, schools, day care centers, drug abusers, etc.

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On 24 and 25 April 2014 the final conference of the Design-led Innovations for Active Ageing project took place at the Disseny…