‘Smart’ future for living at home

Older people living independently may soon have their own virtual assistant to remind them when to take pills or keep a doctor’s appointment, thanks to a research project supported by Uniting AgeWell.

Uniting AgeWell is the lead aged care industry partner of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Digital Enhanced Living, which was officially launched by Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan at Strathdon Community on Thursday.

Uniting AgeWell will support the Hub, which is being led by Deakin University, with several research projects, the first of which will investigate the use of a Digital Living Assistant for older people living at home.

Uniting AgeWell CEO Andrew Kinnersly said the organisation’s involvement in the Hub reflected its commitment to enhancing the wellbeing of people as they aged through innovative approaches.

“This project will have a real impact on the way we deliver aged care. Innovative, intelligent care solutions will have huge benefits for the wellbeing of older people, both at home and in residential aged care,” Mr Kinnersly said.

Minister Tehan said the Government was funding research to address the growing need for personalised and practical in-home care and would help boost mental health.

“This Hub will develop new technologies that will improve the quality of life for Australians that need support to stay in their home, from young adults living with disability, people recovering from brain injury, through to older people in our communities,” he said.

Deakin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin said the Research Hub would use digital technology to address the needs of high-quality ageing and high-quality disability and rehabilitation support to help people live at home independently for longer.

“We will be developing effective, affordable and safe in-home and in-residential care solutions, such as smartphone technology to support the mental health of elderly people and avatar learning tools to improve care for people with dementia,” Professor Martin said.

Uniting AgeWell’s research project gets underway in September, with results expected mid-next year.

The launch was also attended by Deakin MP and Federal Housing Minister Michael Sukkar, Australian Research Council CEO Sue Thomas and Chisholm MP Gladys Liu.

For more information about the Hub, visit ARC Research Hub for Digital Enhanced Living website.

  • Deakin hub launch
  • Above (left to right): Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, Chisholm MP Gladys Liu, Strathdon residents Eileen and Brian, Deakin MP Federal Housing Minister and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, Deakin University Vice Chancellor Professor Iain Martin, Uniting AgeWell CEO Andrew Kinnersly

  • Deakin hub launch Andrew Kinnersly
  • Deakin hub launch audience