Ad van Berlo is both, mechanical engineer (1980) and psychogerontologist (1997). He has a Ph.D. in biomedical technology (1985). He worked in industry in R & D and marketing up to 1991, in the field of biomedical technology.
From 1991 on he is working in the area of smart houses & e-health, currently as CEO and R&D manager at Smart Homes. This organisation was founded by Ad van Berlo in 1998 and has become the Dutch national expert centre for Smart Houses and Smart Living. Smart Homes is currently participating in several European funded Ambient Assisted Living and eHealth projects. In these projects, Smart Homes is involved in investigating user requirements, process design, technical integration, validation and evaluation in trials with smart home technology, robotics and telemonitoring of persons with chronic conditions.
Overall, Ad van Berlo has 28 years of experience in smart home technology, smart living, care technology, e-health and telemedicine, particularly for ageing and care for older people. He was chair of the Forum Programme Committee of the AAL Forum 2012 (1,700 participants) in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
From 2018 up to now, Ad van Berlo is an external advisor for care technology development and up-scaling at Tante Louise, one of the leading innovative care organisations in the Netherlands.
van Berlo, A.
Technology as an enabler in the quality of life of older people across the care continuum
Dorina Simeonov is the Policy and Knowledge Mobilization Manager at AGE-WELL, Canada’s Technology and Aging Network. She is responsible for supporting researchers and trainees to develop knowledge mobilization strategies to ensure the network is achieving real-world impact across Canada. Dorina also works to build and nurture strong partnerships with policy and government partners to support evidence-informed decision-making related to technology and aging. Prior to joining AGE-WELL, Dorina worked as a policy analyst and knowledge broker in the mental health sector. Dorina is also the Operations Officer for Art the Science, a Canadian not-for-profit organization committed to celebrating the connections between art and science.
Ms. Grace Chan has worked in the social welfare arena for over 25 years in Hong Kong.
Ms. Chan’s first involvement in the International Federation on Ageing (IFA) was 15years ago. At present, she is a member of the IFA Board of Directors, and she also serves as the International Vice President.
Apart from this, Ms. Chan was formally invited to join the Strategic Advisory Group for the WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities in 2013. In Hong Kong, she is a former member of the Elderly Commission. She also sits on some networks, committees and appeal boards in the statutory bodies of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Ms. Chan is the Business Director of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service. Her areas of expertise include innovation and technology for ageing, caregiving, long-term care, Age-friendly Cities and Communities, elderly participation and lifelong learning. In 2008, she engaged different sectors and led the writing of the Hong Kong Plan of Action on Aging. It is now considered a localised plan to support the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and the local agenda for social work and development between 2010 and 2020. In 2000, she was awarded The Outstanding Social Worker in Hong Kong. She is taking the lead in developing several innovative services, including Gerontechnology Platform, Jockey Club “age at home” Gerontech Education and Rental Service.
In 2019, Ms. Chan was awarded as Ageing Asia Global Ageing Influencer 2019, in honouring the outstanding achievements of the most influential leader impacting ageing in the Asia Pacific.
Dan Levitt, Kin Village, Canada
Ad van Berlo, CEO of Smart Homes, The Netherlands
Dorina Simeonov, Age-Well, Canada
Grace Chan, Hong Kong Council of Social Service, Hong Kong, China
Older people have paid one of the highest prices in the coronavirus pandemic which has made an indelible mark on the future of global preparedness for infectious diseases, and the way we live as a society. The UN Decade of Healthy Ageing through the digital platform is calling for knowledge to be shared through voices, connections, support, resources and innovation.
Our homes have become more than places to live. Technology has transformed them into platforms to access services, experiences and connect with each other but sadly not for all people of all ages. Residents of aged care facilities and many of those who have endured repeated lockdowns in their homes with community support now live in fear and anxiety.
Technology continues to play a significant and positive role in the aged-care space. It has been adopted to assess the needs of older people, to promote independent living, reduce social isolation and increase social connection. It has also helped to reduce the risk of falling, to manage chronic disease, improve medication management and support people with cognitive issues, including dementia.
On the spectrum smart homes, intelligent homes and home networking have been used for more than a decade to introduce the concept of networking devices and equipment in the house. This is an optimal model of ‘ageing in place’ and central to the long-term care continuum. Yet it is only recently that projects with smart technology in the houses of older people have been realised or started.
In the most sophisticated residential care settings digital records have played a key role to play in supporting how care is provided and driving compliance and auditing against accreditation standards. Similarly digital information systems can also facilitate consumer-directed care, by ensuring that resident and family preferences.
The pandemic has served as a propellant accelerating the adoption of devices, models and digitalisation undoubtedly faster than might have otherwise occurred. Covid-19 has shown that digital access at home and in facilities is now equally critical to our capacity and quality of life. However high-tech is not a substitute for high touch. Despite the rapid and evolving introduction of digital technology the past year has laid bare unacceptable gaps in access to the benefits of tech-enabled services.
In this session, thought leaders in the field of technology and aged care will describe with case examples how technology will act as an enabler at an individual and systemic level to improve the quality of life of older people.
Presenter #1, Ad van Berlo,
Recent advances in technical applications for care and welfare in The Netherlands
In The Netherlands, like in many other European countries, there is an alarming shortage of professional care workers in the near future. This would mean that increasing numbers of frail older persons would not be able to live in nursing homes or receive adequate home care, if nothing changes. Therefore, the innovative Dutch care organisation tanteLouise took the initiative to speed up development and large scale deployment of promising technologies, together with many other care organisations and companies. This programme, called AgeTech Works, has over the past 2 years indeed delivered technologies which will save staff time and costs and increase quality of life. Some examples will be shown in this presentation.
Other solutions are coming from research & innovation projects, funded by the European Commission, such as a project called SMILE. Here big data analytics will be used for training algorithms that can support persons living at home with severe dementia. Activity patterns resulting from sensor data and user intents are being combined in new technical appliances, which further help reminding, monitoring and supporting frail persons and maintain peace of mind of their informal care givers. Existing innovative solutions as well as the intended smart solutions will be discussed.
Presenter #2, Dorina Simeonov
A driver of change: AGE-WELL is Canada’s Technology and Aging Network
At the individual level, older adults are asking for one to one training and support for ongoing technology use and they don’t always want to the help of their family in this regard. At a system level, the digital determinants of health require more action with broadband internet infrastructure created across all communities, the appropriate devices that meet the unique needs of each older Canadian and the digital literacy for them to make the best use of those devices. AGE-WELL is Canada’s Technology and Aging Network. The pan-Canadian network brings together researchers, older adults, caregivers, startups, partner organizations and future leaders to accelerate the delivery of technology-based solutions that make a meaningful difference in the lives of Canadians. AGE-WELL researchers and affiliated startups are producing technologies, services, policies and practices that benefit older adults by supporting their desire to maintain their independence, health and quality of life. These innovations include health apps, wearable therapies, smart-home systems and socially assistive robots. There is an expectation that new technologies are user-friendly and practical, but on its own, that is not sufficient to ensure equitable access to the benefits of technology across the diverse communities found in Canada.
Presenter #3, Grace Chan
Technology and inclusive design in Hong Kong to enable independent living
Hong Kong is one of the places enjoying the longest life expectancy in the world. As our demographic change accelerates, with the elderly proportion climbing from the existing 19% to 31% in the next 20 years, the demand for caregiving will grow substantially. Changes are essential to managing the vast demand for care in the coming years. Adopting innovation and technology provides new opportunities for advancing long term care and raising the quality of life in the new era is the answer. We see the need for greater awareness and appreciation of the power of technology and innovation in changing the way we age amongst our elderly and their caregivers, policymakers, industry leaders and healthcare and social service professionals. We see the need for engaging the senior citizens in articulating their needs and preferences and facilitating discussion between the Government and other stakeholders on how best to match technology or enable innovation to meet the elderly’s needs in the light of overseas experience. We also see the need to foster closer collaboration among various stakeholders in the innovation cycle to smoothen the process from incubating an idea to ultimately benefiting elderly users. The Hong Kong Council of Social Services has looked into the possibility of bringing in technology and inclusive design to enable independent living and social participation so that senior citizens could be assured of good health, dignity, comfort and safety. These are the motivations behind organising the unique Gerontech and Innovation Expo cum Summit to enhance public awareness on technology and innovation for the elderly and encourage the development and adoption of relevant solutions in Hong Kong.