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No matter your age, the need for meaningful companionship remains a basic human need.
We are now living in an age where we have gone beyond the simple phone call.
Physical fitness is an important aspect of living a healthy life. Luckily, there are now different applications coming in the form wearable gadgets that can help guide and monitor your progress.
Today, the water heater market has evolved. Different models and technologies exist to meet the needs and expectations of older consumers. How do you know whether to choose an electric or thermodynamic water heater? Wall-mounted or pedestal-mounted?
The two main functions of a hot water system tank are to heat and store water, even before you can take a steamy shower at 40°c.
A heating element is installed at the bottom of the tank; once immersed in water, it heats the water to between 60°c and 65°c. The water is kept at room temperature thanks to the insulating foam that surrounds the tank.
The water you use is taken directly from the heater’s water and kept at room temperature. This is automatically replaced by cold water, which will be heated the following night. When you use hot water, it is mixed with cold water to achieve a pleasant temperature for a soothing shower or relaxing bath.
To choose a suitable water heater for your home, it is necessary to consider the water quality in your area. If the water is hard, the heating element will quickly scale up and reduce the appliance’s efficiency.
The different technologies of water heaters
Different water heater technologies have been developed to respond to the different levels of aggressiveness of the water.
How it works
The particularity of the electric water heater is the direct contact between the water contained in your water heater and the resistance installed at the latter’s base.
Without protection, the resistance is exposed to limescale. However, the electric water heater is equipped with a magnesium anode to limit its vulnerability to corrosion. To ensure that your water heater functions correctly in the long term, it should be descaled on average every two years. Without maintenance, the scale will concentrate at the bottom of the tank and damage the resistance. As a result, your water will heat up less quickly, and your electricity consumption will increase.
How it works
The main difference from other water heaters is that they do not have a storage tank. Instead, the instantaneous water heater produces hot water on demand using a high-powered electric heater. On contact with the resistor, the water reaches the required heat and then flows to the required distribution point (sink, shower, bath).
The small size of the electric instantaneous water heater makes it suitable for small spaces. It is also beneficial as a backup water heater for a space in your home that is too far from the central water heater. In addition, it is advisable to use an instantaneous water heater for a single water point because of its limited flow rate. The flow rate stabilises according to the temperature required at the outlet.
The thermodynamic water heater is enjoying success, mainly because of environmental concerns.
How it works
Based on the principle of the heat pump, the thermodynamic water heater uses aerothermal energy to heat the water in the house. Using the natural calories in the air, the heat pump recovers the heat and transmits it to the water in the tank.
Depending on the model, the thermodynamic water heater can use different sources of air, either ambient air in an insulated room or air drawn from outside.
Environmentally friendly, the thermodynamic water heater allows significant savings, up to 70%, compared to a conventional water heater. This is an ideal solution for reducing the house’s energy bill while playing a beneficial role for the environment by not releasing greenhouse gases.
The vertical wall-mounted water heater is placed against a load-bearing wall using fixing systems. It is preferable to fix the water heater to a solid wall (brick, breeze block) to support the appliance’s capacity. The vertical wall-mounted hot water tank is available in many models, whether armored, instantaneous, thermodynamic, or hybrid. It is important to note that the vertical wall-mounted water heater is limited to 200 litres, beyond which the water heater will be on a base.
In South Korea, virtual reality headsets are being experimented with to assess whether elderly people are still able to drive.
Until now, virtual reality has often been seen through the prism of entertainment. Since the mid-2010s, there has been a lot of talk about video games that are supposed to be more immersive thanks to these headsets that give the impression of being in the game: wherever you point your head, the game adjusts the display and shows the environment that is supposed to be around.
But virtual reality also has a lesser-known medical side. In 2016, a patient was operated in Angers for a brain tumor. The patient wore a virtual reality headset, allowing the neurosurgeon to map the cortex more finely before the operation. Developments in neurological disorders, rehabilitation or psychological support have also been noted.
It is precisely in this context that virtual reality is back in the news. The Yonhap News Agency reports in its November 29 edition that the South Korean National Police is supporting a program that involves testing the elderly to see if they are still fit to drive or if their health is too degraded to continue driving.
The Korean National Police Agency’s (KNPA) thinking is fueled by two observations. First, traffic accidents involving drivers over 65 years of age are statistically more numerous than those involving people half their age. Secondly, the age pyramid in Korea is changing rapidly and there are, in fact, more and more senior citizens on the road.
The Next Web, reporting on the Yonhap News story, says that the KNPA-supported device is entering a three-year trial phase to evaluate the role virtual reality can play in assessing the cognitive and driving abilities of the elderly. There is research on the topic, such as this publication.
At the end of this three-year sequence, rules could be implemented in Korean law in 2025, to require a medical check-up with examinations mobilizing virtual reality. This check-up is understandable: age dulls reflexes, eyesight diminishes, hearing is less acute, fatigue can take hold more quickly, and so on.
The idea that has emerged in South Korea and is about to take a step forward could eventually be emulated abroad. The ageing of the population raises identical questions everywhere, including in France: for example, members of parliament have sometimes suggested a medical check-up after the age of 70. A bill to this effect was tabled in 2019.
These reflections have not yet led to anything concrete. However, polls show that the population generally approves of the need to periodically check the fitness of seniors who hold a driver’s license. However, such a measure may be unpopular with the public, which could make it clear at the ballot box.
Medical examinations may be required in case of special conditions, according to the services of the Ministry of the Interior. This concerns both the license examination, but also for motorists who have already received the sesame. This may be an illness considered incompatible or for very specific cases. These accommodations are not specifically related to age.
However, there is another reality, not a virtual one this time: when truly autonomous driving emerges, this problem should disappear by itself.
New technologies are providing their share of solutions to facilitate the daily life of dependent people, their relatives and the staff.
Sensors to detect an unusual walking pace, an application to avoid a trip to the emergency room, a voice assistant to centralize communications left on all types of messaging systems… The crisis seems to have accelerated the emergence of high-tech solutions to facilitate the management of old age. “Whether it’s for the elderly, caregivers or professionals, at home or in an institution, technology is opening up the field of possibilities,” says Vincent Augusto, director of the engineering and health center at the Ecole des Mines de Saint-Etienne.
And this teacher-researcher explains that “industrial engineering, artificial intelligence and data analysis can be used at all levels, to improve patient comfort and to absorb some of the workload of support staff.
In addition to the diversity of fields of action, these innovations seem to be infinitely adaptable. “If the tool is well thought out, we now have all the means to make it evolve and to add new digital services,” believes François Fauritte, president of Kiwifab, a start-up founded in Lyon in 2018 that, after passing through the Pfizer hub, has set up its headquarters in the Paris region.
Specializing in making medication intake safer, the startup has developed Ki-Di, a smart, connected dispenser. “To avoid manual manufacturing, the pharmacist prepares bottles of capsules and tablets that are inserted into Ki-Di and dispensed at the right time, just like a Nespresso machine,” explains François Fauritte.
Another example of a solution born out of technology, Odalink is a collaborative interface that brings together information from institutions, social landlords, hospitals, etc. “This allows relatives of a dependent person to access existing services near the home,” explains Christine Appelli, head of development at Odavie, the company behind this platform. Based in Magny-les-Hameaux, in the Yvelines region, this personal assistance company has also developed an “escape game” to raise awareness among seniors about the challenges of adapting their homes.
However, the lives of the elderly must also be organized outside the home. Thus, Picto Access, a publisher of digital solutions dedicated to the frail public, founded in Lille in 2015, has launched a solution to enhance accessibility data. “We want to make this information as visible as the address and opening hours,” says Justin Marquant, the president-founder, who has a small number of customers, or 7,000 sites (bank branches, company headquarters, swimming pools, cultural venues…), and has formed collaborations with Google and Facebook.
“The advantage of technology is to be able to disperse information wherever it is sought, to offer everyone the same simple path,” he says, adding, however, that “every technological innovation starts with an awareness, and therefore not a social innovation.
On October 3, 2019, the Toyota Research Institute presented a way to train domestic robots using virtual reality. The trainer can thus visualize live and in 3D what the machine perceives to better teach it about household tasks. A necessary method because the disparity of the households prevents the creation of a single set of instructions.
Between 2000 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years of age will double from about 11% to 22%, according to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO). For this reason, the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) is developing domestic robots that can do (almost) everything inside a home to help the elderly who have become dependent. A presentation video published on October 3, 2019, shows that the Japanese manufacturer is testing learning supervision using virtual reality.
The Toyota Research Institute is careful to point out that these machines are, for the time being, only prototypes and not products intended for commercialization. “We select tasks not to demonstrate our product concepts but to advance algorithm development,” the research institute prides itself on. However, it already imagines future applications outside the home, particularly in factories for repetitive tasks or even for logistics robots.
This learning process allows robots to be taught arbitrary tasks with a variety of distinct objects instead of predefined tasks with specific tools. Thus the machine can weave a link between what they see and the actions taught to them. This change of method makes it possible to make the robot more flexible when faced with a situation that is unknown to it. As a result, if he is facing a similar object but in a different scene, he will know which actions performed anyway.
Technically, it is challenging to train machines to operate in a home because each house is made unique by the layout and size of its rooms, the different storage units, the arrangement of dishes, the composition of its floor, among many things. In short, it is almost impossible to create a single set of instructions that would suit all households. To overcome this difficulty, engineers have devised a learning model using virtual reality. The technical details of this device have been compiled and published on the Cornell University (New York) website.
The idea is quite simple. Thanks to virtual reality headsets, the trainers put themselves in the robot’s shoes. They can thus see live and in 3D what the machine perceives thanks to sensors. This process facilitates movement direction and instructions. Teachers can annotate a scene to clarify things, such as how to grasp the handle of a refrigerator to open it.
The aging of the population is disrupting our modern societies. From pension schemes to the labor market, new seniors are forcing decision-makers to reinvent our social and economic model. But the devil is hiding in the details and other less exposed sectors are also experiencing these transformations. It is the case for architecture or design, which must adapt to the new requirements but above all to the unique needs of a generation of baby boomers who have become seniors.
Housing is a particularly crucial stumbling block for seniors. Indeed, poorly adapted, it becomes the territory of all dangers and forces older people to leave their homes early for a specialized institution. It is a significant cost for families and society, which can be avoided by adapting housing to the lifestyle of a senior. Constraints that traditional companies like startups are increasingly taking into account to solve the problem or develop new solutions.
In recent years, evolving housing has spread. They allow its occupants to develop the layout of the space according to their needs. For seniors, it is a question of widening traffic areas, raising and securing sanitary facilities or optimizing storage areas so that they are easily accessible, without the occupants having to bend down, for example. Mobile walls and modular installations facilitate the transition from working life to a later age, sometimes marked by mobility or health problems.
The furniture, too, adapts. Chairs with armrests for stability, comfortable and optimized seats to rest the back, beds modified to avoid falls. Rail-mounted storage units are also valuable allies – in the kitchen, for example – as their height can vary to make them easily accessible. In the bathroom, small adjustments can prevent accidents and prolong home support, such as adding a support bar near the toilet or installing a non-slip floor mat in the shower.
These new modular habitats also use new technologies, which have also adapted to the aging of their users. The accommodation becomes a cocoon, both a secure place and a comfortable or even medicalized den thanks to various devices. Sensors can thus be placed in different places in the dwelling to be able to warn relatives or emergency services in the event of prolonged inactivity, suggesting a fall of the occupant. Video surveillance cameras or motion detectors are flourishing in the retail sector. Coupled with products such as emergency call medallions or connected watches that allow seniors in difficulty to notify their loved ones or emergency services quickly, these devices put connectivity at the service of seniors’ safety.
Before connecting, it is mainly a question of automating to limit the futile efforts to be made. Gates, garage doors and shutters can now be opened or closed remotely. The luminaires can also be remotely controlled or linked to motion sensors to facilitate the internal movement of older people. The same applies to heat, which can be programmed according to the living habits of the occupant of the dwelling not only to optimize the indoor temperature, and therefore its comfort, but also reduce its energy bill.
Teleassistance is generally offered for people living alone at home. It is a necklace or bracelet with an alarm button that transmits information to a receiver installed in the apartment. It allows you to contact a remote monitoring center in case of discomfort. However, this implies that the person does not lose consciousness and remains able to activate the alarm button
In the apartment or house, the objective is to improve safety by limiting travel for people with mobility disabilities. The installation of electric roller shutters and all means of remote control of equipment in everyday use. However, for remote controls, it is preferable to use simplified remote controls more adapted to the vision and habits of the senior. There are automatic light regulators that allow the light intensity to adjust to the time of day and the season. This process prevents certain falls due to lack of lighting and stimulates sleep and wakefulness cycles. Heating programming is also easy to set up, with remote control by telephone if required.
A light path can be created by distributing LEDs on the way used by the elderly at night. These small lights are switched on when the person gets out of bed. They automatically turn off when you go back to bed. This system can prevent falls during night-time movements.
They allow to detect a fast movement and therefore a fall. The sensor connected to a remote monitoring center will immediately give the alert. The center calls the person at home and if there is no answer calls the family or sends help. There are even more sophisticated sensors. When it detects a shock or movement, an alert is sent to the remote assistance center. They can also analyze the person’s movements (non-alarm, fall, no movement, etc.) and transmit them to a secure server. In the event of an abnormal situation, an alert is sent to the family.
They make it possible to check whether a person with significant cognitive problems, with a risk of getting lost on the street, leaves his or her home. For example, there is a door open/close detection system that sends a message by SMS to the chosen referent person.
This memory problem is particularly acute for people with cognitive issues that can lead to the risk of getting lost. There are two systems; the first is to use an application on a smartphone to track in real time the position of one user to the other. The problem is the loss or forgetting of the smartphone before going out. There are also wristband or watch systems with GPS that are more efficient but much more expensive (cost of purchasing the device and subscription).
Many small instruments can help in daily living such as the “intelligent” pill dispenser with alarm and opening in compartments according to the time of day, the simplified telephone with a minimum of keys and large size. We can also offer touch tablets adapted for seniors who are not used to computers.
A key corresponds to an action, often accompanied by a symbol. They allow the person to stay in touch with his or her family and friends at a distance and to exchange by viewing photos or videos, for example.
The so-called “elder orphans” elderly and isolated, generate new technological challenges, a thousand miles from the techno-incompatibility that is attributed to them. What if the virtual world finally allows us to come together?
They’re old, and they live alone. Their childrens, whom are usually right in the middle of their working life, are on average 225 km from them. They prefer to live at home rather than at expensive medical institutions, which sign for them the end of a kind of autonomy. Nevertheless, there is a real awareness of the aging of our parents, while professional opportunities lead us further and further away from them.
The IoT, the connected objects, make it possible to tighten these relations that the kilometers can distend. Are connected objects and seniors incompatible? Apparently, yes. Two-thirds of people also think that the difficulty seniors have in using new communication technologies makes it more difficult to maintain a link. And yet, the constant evolution of technology intends to fight against the isolation of our seniors by reweaving the inter-generational bond.
A drug takes 10 to 20 years to be approved, but connected health technology has no time to wait: it has to prove it by experience, and it has to do it infallibly. The latest generation IoT is much more potent than it was five years ago: if the technology is improving so fast, it is because it has the right to make mistakes. When it comes to health or safety, it is not.
Thus, connected health is gradually transforming into a real public interest issue. In the middle of incubation, it appears as a practical solution to fighting against the isolation of the elderly and reassures the relatives. The first guarantee of its reliability will give the green light to a market promised to expand very actively, whose players are unanimous: as soon as widespread, connected health will switch to a mass market. A robust viral potential that is already rooted in public consciousness.
In the 90s, mobile was expensive and not very accessible. Today, everyone owns a smartphone. Connected health inevitably follows the same trend. Only one of his targets, the seniors, is not a technophile. She has lived with radio and TV: technology is therefore not part of her habits. One of the challenges of connected health today is to know how to talk about needs and not functions, and for that, it must adapt to an audience.
75% of health expenditure is concentrated over the last 15 years of life. In this case, connected health targets an elderly and isolated, technophobic population, but at the origin of a need to which digital is beginning to respond. Although this is relatively recent, it still suffers from a lack of notoriety, explanations, and credibility.
Without the telecom industry that evangelizes this practice, the IoT on health raises little awareness. It is too bad because it can embody a response to a double problem: our parents’ isolation and our distance during their loss of autonomy. As if, for once, technology paradoxically brought a little humanity into our bonds.
Home automation is part of our daily lives. Always in progress, this set of techniques allowing automation improves our quality of life. Comfort, security or even energy, these new technologies offer a large number of services. Today, home automation also watches over seniors, to their highest satisfaction. And it’s far from over!
Home automation has taken place in senior citizens’ homes. It accompanies them on a daily basis through the automation of their equipment. It thus promotes their autonomy. Because what a senior or a senior can no longer physically do, technology can now do.
Thanks to high tech solutions, housing adapts to its occupants. From stair climbing to fall detection, from watering the garden to closing the shutters, integrated home automation meets all the needs of seniors. The installation of these new technologies not only gives them more autonomy but also reassures them and their families.
Service residences are increasingly interested in technology. Les Senioriales residences, for example, consult seniors to better understand their needs regarding new technologies. They are looking for the best home automation solutions to integrate into their homes.
It is how new generation senior residences are born. Equipped for vulnerable but independent residents, they offer ergonomically optimized housing. Cabins to check its constants (voltage, sugar level, etc.) or switch that cuts or restore water and electricity just listening to the voice of the occupant, new technologies provide new and robust solutions.
Connected objects are of great interest to seniors. These objects, capable of collecting information and transmitting it via the Internet to software, are the technologies of tomorrow.
Watches, bracelets, glasses or even clothing, seniors over 55 perceive them, depending on their use, as a support that can promote their well-being:
However, many seniors do not yet know the use and benefits of everyday connected objects, whatever their type of home.
Although some seniors are not yet at the cutting edge of new technologies, they are not unanimous. As for lifestyle, 45% of them would consider wearing a connected bracelet! If the purchase price can be a deal breaker, they are fully aware that remote assistance will become widespread over the years.
For 67% of seniors, state-of-the-art technology in a senior residence would even be an essential criterion for their choice. The possibility of making a call to family and friends via video conference, easy access to the animation schedule and simplified photo sharing would be at the top of their list of expectations.
Almost all seniors in the world want to age in their own homes and not in retirement homes. However, they are still rare to develop their habitat to remain autonomous. The development of home automation has been booming in recent years.
Home automation includes all electronics, information and telecommunications technologies used at home: connected objects, e-health, robotics, etc.. It makes it possible to intelligently ensure all safety, comfort, energy management and communication functions of a house: a way to simplify life when moving becomes difficult or when one lives alone.
Home automation adapted to seniors has a name: gerontechnology. It consists in creating technological environments for mobility, health and communication: mobile kitchens that adapt to the size or to a wheelchair, lighting that adapts to the sensitivity of the sight, radiators that anticipate the heat and cold, remote controls or applications to control remote devices, etc. 75.4% of the seniors questioned think that the connected objects will be relevant tools to ensure the maintenance at home of the elderly. More tips and tricks here!
These new adapted technologies include important systems for controlling all electrical appliances in the home (attracting all age groups), but also small everyday objects such as intelligent pill dispensers. They allow you to schedule your medication week after week. When it is time for treatment, an alarm or flash is triggered. The pill box locks after every dose, impossible to cheat or forget.
55% of Americans and 62% of 55+ are willing to invest in home support. Security systems have been designed to enable elderly people living alone or with a partner to remain safely at home. These systems are not limited to the fight against burglaries, they also make it possible to collect information on the daily life of the equipped senior: sensors that detect movements and non-movements, falls, when a person does not wake up or suffers from sleep disorders, etc. All this data can be recorded in a logbook and can be monitored daily by relatives and caregivers.
For those of you unfamiliar with the topic, make sure you watch the following video on gerontechnology
There’s no age to get bored. Everyone has the right to find a long time without a well-defined activity or occupation, even more so when you retire. So to give you some ideas of things to do, Panda has put together many original activities and occupations to do when you’re senior and bored.