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Thailand universities to provide senior citizens with better quality of life through the Elderly Ecological System and Services

An announcement made by the Bangkok Post highlighted the joint project of Thai Universities that aims to provide senior citizens with a better quality of life by assisting them in their daily activities and is capable of messaging alerts in cases of emergency.

An elderly-friendly innovation can now reassure family members that their senior relatives can stay safe while being home alone thanks to the product of a joint research done by several Thai universities in collaboration with a Japanese organisation.

The Elderly Ecological System and Services has been implemented in the Samut Sakhon province to provide senior citizens with a better quality of life and also assist them in their daily lives.

It is a project by the Research University Network (RUN), led by the School of Information, Computer, and Communication Technology; Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology (SIIT); and Thammasat University. The project makes use of the Minamori system developed by Japan-based Advanced Information Valuable Service (AIVS).

The Elderly Ecological System and Services is a pilot project that has been conducted in three hospitals in Thailand: Banphaeo Hospital, Krathumban Hospital and Samut Sakhon Hospital.

The system is equipped with multiple sensors that monitor the activities of the elderly. Since Line messaging is popular in Thailand, the system was designed to connect through Line and be able to provide regular status updates through the messaging app.

In Banphaeo hospital, for instance, the nurses located in a different room can be notified of sudden physical changes detected in patients lying on the bed.

The family members of elderly people, who stay at home alone, are likewise informed through Line messaging.

Banphaeo Hospital Assistant Director Kanokwan Sengkhamphar explained, “We nurses are not keen on technology, but the system was designed simply in order to help us deal with it.”

After being tested for a year, the second phase of the project now involves an implementation of 20 units of the system at the elderly ward in Banphaeo Hospital.  20 more units are being implemented at homes where the elderly are staying alone all the time. Many of the elderly here are suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

The system can detect accidents, thus providing peace of mind to both the patients and the management.

According to Project Leader Virach Sornlertlamvanich of SIIT, this research project aims to support the elderly in their daily life activities. The system’s capabilities are catered for an elderly total caring system.

Some of which are the bed-fallout preventive alarm and sleep-hygiene monitoring system, the vital signal-analysis tools, the health-monitoring system, the dementia and Alzheimer's patient-tracking system, drug-use assistance, the elderly ecological model and ageing society design, and the health-information platform for health-data collection and analytics.

Moreover, the system is also capable of sending an alert when detects high levels of humidity and room temperature, which may cause heat stroke.

Mr Virach explained that the sensors located beneath the mattress are wireless and are equipped with solar panels to recharge the batteries.

The research team also developed an application with additional functions such as searching for hospitals and doctors; making appointments and viewing them; saving the contacts of favourite doctors; viewing online medical results; family member information management; and purchasing of medical packages online.

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