The AAL Programme and Eurocarers have joined forces to organise a test day for solutions and products that incorporate information and communication technology for the active ageing. The AAL-Eurocarers platform test took place in Brussels on 13 June at the Royal Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts. Five projects of the AAL programme were shortlisted to pitch in front of an audience of carers coming from all across Europe:
The test consisted of a series of concrete presentations of the solutions developed, which involved the attendees. The representatives of Eurocarers were allowed to ask questions and provide their feedbacks on a series of questions that were prepared in advance. The platform test was be opened by the Director of the AAL office in Brussels, Karina Marcus, and by the Eurocarers Executive Director, Stecy Yghemonos. The event also marked the beginning of the celebration for Eurocarers 10th anniversary which was followed by a cocktail where personalities of the EU Parliament conveyed their messages and comments on the day.
The conversation, moderated by the newest member of the AAL Advisory Board and Vice President of Eurocarers, Elizabeth Hanson, triggered by the presentations was very lively and it brought in valuable considerations from the perspective of the carers. It was highlighted that it is a real challenge for carers to get to know about all the various products and solutions that are available that could help them in their caring situation. A member asked ‘Are older female carers familiar with the new opportunities available to help them in their everyday caring situation? To that regard, it was pointed out that there should be better signposting of these solutions. Suppliers should be encouraged to better target solutions that are relevant to support carers as well as commissioners of ICT solutions and products. On another note, it was argued that as an increasingly large number of older people with chronic, long-standing conditions live alone- particularly in the Nordic countries, there is a need for highly accessible and user-friendly solutions for them so that living at home is a realistic option.
Other considerations were made on the incidence of dementia in older- old age and the rise in people with mental frailty- important for developers to ensure products are acceptable and attractive and are introduced early to overcome any difficulties. Recognising the incidence of co-morbidities among the older and oldest old- ‘they need kit they can use, that they can hear and see well! Important of attending to the 5 different senses among older old and oldest old people when developing products and solutions.