Drivers, barriers and long-term requirements of assistive technologies supporting older persons in living longer independently at home: a systematic review of European, US American and Japanese policy papers and assessment studies

Priska Flandorfer, Vienna Institute of Demography

Countries around the world are facing an acceleration of population ageing. This demographic change has primarily impact on our ways of supporting the older population in its efforts to age well and independently at home while reducing the burden of caretakers and controlling health care costs. One major innovation field are assistive technologies. Nationwide policies, strategy plans and research activities have all shaped current and future trends of these technologies. Not surprisingly, various types of assessment studies were carried out to investigate when, how and under which conditions it is advisable to utilise assistive technologies. This review of pertinent literature from the USA, Europe and Japan is the first of its kind. All reviewed policy papers and studies see the technological advancement of assistive devices as a prerequisite for dealing with an aged population but postulate different approaches and long-term goals This paper analyses the demographic, social, ethical, economic, medical and technological aspects of assistive robotic technologies addressed in the papers and interprets the results in an international, comparative perspective. Technological, legal and political barriers play major roles and ethical as well as societal issues are widely reflected. On the other hand various economic, societal and technological driving forces are discussed. Although the described barriers are intensively taken into consideration, the focus on driving forces seems to suggest that the use of assistive technologies for supporting older persons to live longer independently at home will be feasible in the very near future.

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Presented in Poster Session 3