Hospital IT AS (Norway)

Mawell LtD (Finland)

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Adaptive Ambient Empowerment of the Elderly


Imagine a smart environment equipped with ICT technologies that acts upon individual preferences and needs of its users. Imagine an individually tailored solution that is appreciated by the user and therefore deliberately used. Imagine this tool prompting and guiding through life style changes that are essential for the prevention and management of diabetes type II and cardio-vascular diseases in the elderly individual. Then you imagine A²E².

A²E² combines state-of-the-art psychological knowledge on elderly users' requirements for sustained behaviour change with modern ICT technology in suggesting an adaptive ambient solution for the prevention and management of two of the most prevalent chronic diseases in the elderly, and thus, resulting in a higher quality of life. Specifically, A²E² stimulates beneficial levels of exercising in elderly individuals who are at risk to come down with diabetes type II and cardio-vascular diseases. Furthermore, it supports exercise behaviour changes in patients who have already been diagnosed with these diseases in stabilizing or even reversing their condition. The focus on physical activity was chosen as exercise is recognized as a crucial element for the prevention, cure, and management of many chronic illnesses including diabetes type II and cardio-vascular diseases and directly related to physical and mental health and hereby substantially contributing to well-being and quality of live.
The A²E² approach integrates a variety of management strategies that are tailored towards the elderly individual by taking relevant personal, social, and environmental factors into consideration. One of the main problems in common AAL solutions is the acceptance of the systems by the users. To emphasize the benefit and convenience for the user A²E² introduces a digital 3D coach that mediates person input and system output and presents itself in a personalized, credible, easy to handle, and enjoyable way. Contrary to many available ICT solutions which failed to attract a sustained end user acceptance, A²E² applies advanced motivational models and involves the user in the design process. A²E² thus turns traditional AAL from head to toe by giving control back to the user and by ascertaining deliberate and enjoyable use of the technology and interaction between all the actors in the social-health care delivery chain.


Features of the A²E² approach


A²E² consists of a home-based and a mobile component, integrates off-the-shelf technology (e.g., bio-signal sensors, ambient sensors, localisation and activity sensors, dynamic, flexible and customizable home infrastructure) and builds on existing structures (e.g., television sets, Internet access), thus permitting an individually tailored approach. We hereby make use of a newly established living environment for elderly individuals, the Amsterdam Bijlmer Care Center (ABCC), that consists of several hundred housing units. Inhabitants range from age 55 plus and display multiethnic background. Selected subjects are affected by diabetes type II or cardio-vascular diseases or are in risk of developing such (being overweight or obese, having high blood pressure). The integrated A²E² approach is based upon the following four principles:


  • Active end user involvement: Elderly individuals and health care providers associated with ABCC are directly involved in the iterative process of A²E² solution design, installation, operation, and evaluation. This user-centred approach climaxes in a longitudinal large-scale ICT validation that includes 100 participating housing units within an urban multiethnic environment.
  • Behavioural focus: A²E² prompts elderly individuals directly to beneficial and sustained levels of physical activity behaviour rather than relying on knowledge or attitude driven lifestyle changes. This will be accomplished by applying advanced motivational and physical exercise frameworks which also encompass the users’ perceptions of autonomy, technology acceptance, pleasant emotions, and positive rewards.


Principal investigator:

Ute Ritterfeld, Ph.D.