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niCE-life project: beginning of the testing activities in Treviso!

During the first half of 2021, activities started at the niCE-life project pilot site in Treviso, aimed at testing the effectiveness of GPS-tracking technology in supporting elderly people, especially those suffering from cognitive disorders, ensuring a higher level of safety and a better quality of life also for informal caregivers.

The experimentation is specifically based on a bracelet worn by the elderly person and on a monitoring platform, accessible through a mobile application, which gathers a series of information linked both to the state of health and to the taking care of emergency situations. In particular, the digital ecosystem allows the following functionalities:

  • GPS localisation. This functionality constitutes the central element of the experiment. The GPS technology allows both formal caregivers and relatives to know the location of the elderly person wearing the wristband. Formal and informal caregivers will be able to know the location of the person wearing the bracelet through the monitoring platform.

  • Geofencing, a virtual perimeter associated with a real-world geographical area, is another essential functionality, closely linked to GPS technology and able to support monitoring activities through the platform. Within the niCE-life project, geofencing will allow formal and informal caregivers to receive an alarm if the person wearing the wristband leaves a predefined area.

  • Internal tracking. This functionality is widely underestimated, as it can play a decisive role in protecting the health of the elderly person by monitoring presence in one or more rooms.

  • The SOS button is one of the other functionalities that integrate with the platform with the aim of maximising the elderly person's safety level. This functionality will be extremely easy to use by the person wearing the wristband, in fact, it will be enough to press the button to activate an alarm that will be sent to the caregivers.

  • Fall alarm. our project seeks to offer a solution that provides a higher degree of safety for elderly people at risk of falling through a bracelet. From the point of view of the monitoring platform, the fall will be signalled automatically through the generation of alarms.

  • Heart rate. This is one of the indicators of the platform focusing more on the well-being of elderly people than on safety. Regarding the monitoring activity through the platform, it will be possible to define specific thresholds for each project participant which, if exceeded, will generate a specific alarm.

  • Sleep monitoring. This indicator is an extremely useful tool especially for the target group of the Treviso pilot, i.e. people at risk or suffering from cognitive impairment. Indeed, sleep plays an important role in maintaining brain health and lowers the risk of age-related cognitive decline. The results indicate that insufficient sleep is a risk factor for cognitive decline and the development of Alzheimer's disease.

The ability of these functionalities to support senior citizens and their caregivers will be the focus of the piloting and will be assessed mainly in two usage scenarios. The first is the context of Borgo Mazzini Smart Cohousing, ISRAA's innovative housing project, where elderly people will be able to use this technology in a peer-to-peer perspective, supporting each other. The second use scenario is for people with significant forms of decline who are currently supported by the home-based services offered by the Specialist Centre for Dementia (CSD). Through these usage scenarios we aim to get a clear picture of how GPS-tracking technology can in the future become an ordinary tool offered to senior citizens to ensure a higher level of safety and quality of life.

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