Smart City Project: Longer Independent living

Building a house or apartment that evolves with its occupants is possible thanks to all kinds of technical gadgets. But how do you make sure you take future technology into account right from the design stage? That is what the city of Leuven and the city of Turnhout, together with KU Leuven, Health House and several partners specialized in healthcare technology, investigated

The partners designed a technical plan for the apartment of the future, focusing on the needs and wishes of elderly people who want to keep living independently at their home. The completed plan is a useful tool for cities and project developers that draw up specifications for housing projects, care institutions that want to roll out independent living or private individuals who want to design their homes with a view to their old age in mind.

Aging population

Longer independent living will be the trend in the future. According to forecasts, by 2030 more than 2 million Belgians will be older than 60 years and almost 500,000 older than 80 years. Add to this the major shortage of care personnel, and you can see that residential care centres are not going to be able to absorb this evolution. We will therefore have to continue to live at home independently for a longer period in the future.

We mapped out the needs of the elderly, informal carers and care professionals, looked for possible technological answers and then put them into a single housing plan. Result is a floor plan with the most important infrastructure requirements

Helena Schulpé, project manager of the city of Leuven.

Future proof with the aid of Technology

Fortunately, there are already many technological solutions on the market that increase the comfort, well-being and sense of safety of older people. Think for example of technology for the central control of lamps and curtains, video bells for social contact, lifestyle monitoring, personal alarm and fall detection. Solutions are even available in the field of care and medication. For example, current technology makes it possible to measure blood sugar levels remotely and receive advice via teleconsultations. In this way, the elderly do not have to go to the doctor's office for every problem...

The strength of the project is that it brings together highly specialized knowledge into a clear plan. Thanks to the collaboration between the City of Leuven and Turnhout, Resiterra, Health House, InnovAge, KU Leuven, LiCaLab and Leuven Mindgate

Lalynn Wadera alderman for economics for the city of Leuven

Discover the future of health and care

If you want to know more about the technological applications and innovations that enable older people to live independently for longer and if you want to see how these technologies can have a place in your future apartment, home, care center or hospital, visit Health House!

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