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Why is AI Crucial To Community Aged Care

Dr Jit-Seng Tan
20.2.2020

Dr Jit-Seng Tan (Vice-President of APARA – Asia Pacific Assisted Robotics Association)

As a physician and innovator spending the last decade on caring for older dependent adults in their homes, I spend much time reviewing potential possibilities existing worldwide to improve care and accessibility of care.

Firstly, what is needed in Community Aged Care?  There is no simple answer and a simple way is to see the needs through functional status, rather than age - As many have said in the past, is just a number.  With the knowledge of functional status, the pillars of ageing in place, namely, financial security, community participation, health and assess to care and life-long learning can be individualized appropriately.  

Lotus Eldercare, as a thought participant on this topic of caring for Older Adults, has developed a system of classification for the Community Aged Care since 2015 in terms of needs, rather than chronological age.

In Community Aged Care, a 100-year-old man training for Marathon has vastly different needs comparing to a 70-year-old man bed bound on palliative care from a pancreatic carcinoma.  With the vast amount of data existing today, it is difficult for anyone to condense these data into useful ones which is customised to each individual need. Essentially, the unknown unknowns are information which A.I. can filter out and present to the older adults at appropriate times of need.

The world is undergoing 4th industrial revolution with digitalisation and automation of many processes.  We are also increasingly collecting data from our older adults in the community. However, with ever increasing volume of data collected, some which require real time interventions will be dependent on machine algorithms and learning in future.  The automated feedback can serve as a filter and present the real concerns timely so that help can be activated. I will share an example.  

Activity monitoring in a single dwelling older adult with concomitant chronic disease is sometime desired by some families.  This is used to track the older adult in their homes, making sure they are still well and not fallen or sick. Using low resolution radio frequency imaging technology, energy usage algorithm technology, or even sound technology, we can now gather good quality and reliable data to form a picture of the ongoings in the home without having to be physically there or putting a video camera or tele presence robotics in the location.  

However, collecting and interpreting such a variety and volume of good quality data, down to the seconds, may not be very efficient for a human to manage.  This is where the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the machine learning techniques within, will double up the efforts to achieve higher order results.  The output from such analysis allows the caregivers to be alert of a fall or change in daily activities.  

AI tools and application will play a crucial role to augment the caregiver services and build a system to support the aged community in a more wholesome model, less dependent on just a chronological number (age), but more of the functional effectiveness and mobility status of the ageing population.

AIBotics 2020 will be held in August 2020 with a 2 Day Conference and Exhibition, plus an additional day of workshops and tutorials. The theme for 2020 is “Augmenting the Human Potential”.  This understanding and implementation of AI in Robotics across the wide range of applications aim to bring together the most progressive end-users, first-class speakers, and innovative solution providers.

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