AGE calls on Member States to invest in ICT supported long term care as a way to relaunch the economy

December 2008

AGE welcomes the initiative of the Danish Finance Ministry to invest 400 million in pilot projects which will help save staff costs and offer better long term services using new technologies.

This initiative was presented at the Ministerial eInclusion Conference in Vienna and aims at finding adequate and financially sustainable solutions to the shortage of care workers. AGE would like all Member States to explore how they could boost their economy by supporting similar initiatives. “Investing in ICT supported long term care will not only help solve the problem of staff shortage that all Member States are facing, it will also help improve the staff working conditions and enhance the quality of care offered to the elderly. Investing in ICT solutions for long term care is an area where member States would get a quick return on their investment as these would lower dramatically the cost of LTC services without compromising on the quality”, said Anne-Sophie Parent, Director of AGE.

Assistive technologies can help solve problems that older people encounter in their daily lives and increase their quality of life, especially for those living in isolated areas where medical and care staff resources are scarce. Some interesting initiatives have been developed to help older people live safely and independently in their home using sophisticated telemonitoring systems.

“Older people are in general quite positive towards the use of advanced new technologies for their medical or care needs, as long as it does not replace human contacts, is easy to use and affordable”, commented Anne Sophie Parent, Director of AGE.

The use of new technologies in the area of long term care will boost the economy and result in a quick return in investment, as it will reduce calls on care professionals and improve their working conditions. It would also be a strong incentive for the ICT industry to invest research to develop sustainable and acceptable models for ICT assisted long term care.

“AGE main concern is that the key principles of universal access, affordability and quality are still taken into account and that older people receive quality care according to their needs regardless of their ability to pay. Moreover, ICT can help them keep in touch with their relatives living far away. But all will continue to need a friendly and caring community, with neighbours, relatives or volunteers who can devote time to help them remain involved in their community” concluded Ms Parent.”

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