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Welfare with the help of people and technology

Aged people are individuals.  By asking themselves, you will find out what each one likes and needs, say Sari Teeri, expert in Elderly Care, and Sari Merilampi, expert in Welfare Technology, both from Satakunta University of Applied Sciences.

 

11.1.2018 | By: Anne Sankari | Photo: Veera Korhonen, Mirka Leino & Andrew Sirkka

Sekä terveystieteiden tohtori Teeri että tekniikan tohtori Merilampi ovat tehneet työtä myös Kiinassa. Siellä ollaan kiinnostuttu erityisesti muistisairaiden hoidosta. Kiinassakin väestö ikääntyy, ja heitä kiinnostavat suomalaisten jo kehittämät ratkaisut.| Both Teeri, a Doctor of Health Care, and Merilampi, a Doctor of Technology, have worked also in China.  Especially the care of people with memory loss diseases is in the Chinese interest.  Also in China the population gets older and they are interested in the solutions already developed in Finland.
Sekä terveystieteiden tohtori Teeri että tekniikan tohtori Merilampi ovat tehneet työtä myös Kiinassa. Siellä ollaan kiinnostuttu erityisesti muistisairaiden hoidosta. Kiinassakin väestö ikääntyy, ja heitä kiinnostavat suomalaisten jo kehittämät ratkaisut.| Both Teeri, a Doctor of Health Care, and Merilampi, a Doctor of Technology, have worked also in China. Especially the care of people with memory loss diseases is in the Chinese interest. Also in China the population gets older and they are interested in the solutions already developed in Finland.

Ageing is often talked about as a problem.  When asking Teeri and Merilampi highlight the biggest challenges concerning ageing, the first thing to come up is the ageing of an entire population.

– Ageing itself is not a problem, but the society isn’t necessarily ready to meet the challenges it brings.  We concentrate on services and service packages instead of knowing what the people actually need, says Teeri.

Ikäsimulaatiopuku, kokonaan 3D-tulostettu. BaltSe@nioR-hankkeen ideana on kehittää keinoja, joiden avulla yritykset osaisivat suunnitella ja valmistaa ikäystävällisiä huonekaluja ja tuotteita. | Age simulation dress, printed completely with a 3D. The idea behind the BaltSe@nioR project is to develop ways with which companies could plan and manufacture age-friendly furniture and products.

The discussion brings up the need for people-friendly services at the right time, loneliness and the increase in memory loss diseases.  Teeri and Merilampi emphasize taking individuality into account and a wide-ranging welfare.

– It’s not enough that one breaths.  Life doesn’t feel worth living if you are lonely or depressed, even if your blood pressure is in order and your feet work, says Merilampi.

– An aged person has the right for good quality health care.  But still, even with health issues you can feel wellbeing.  Each and everyone’s individual life should be considered, whatever s/he likes.  To someone it’s culture, to another something else, states Teeri.

Care of the aged people changes all the time together with new research information and new ways to perform.

– The elderly are not the same as before.  Nor are they similar with one another.  The kind of life you have had affects in the background, says Teeri.

Technology is also needed.  Is it high time to think about resource wisdom?  What the machines can do and how to use the precious human resources where the machines are not capable?

– Artificial intelligence, robotics and mobile technology are here already.  They come, whether we like it or not.  We should rather be in the forefront to create solutions to a more humane direction, says Merilampi.

The elderly are not the same as before. Nor are they similar with one another.  The kind of life you have had affects in the background.

 

Even the aged people are active and supportive

The elderly are also a resource to each other and to the younger: when one nails a painting on the wall, the other one bakes a cake to say thank you. You must have the possibility to do things, which again is affected by the fact how you reach the services.  Teeri raises up the socio-political influencing, for example different boards and councils for the aged.

Both Teeri and Merilampi think the community spirit is gaining distinction.

– And not just among the elderly.  I would like us to speak about the community spirit of all ages. People in different ages can live a communal life.  There are houses and residential areas that are built in this way, says Teeri.

The research group of Wellbeing Enhancing Technology, which Merilampi leads, has pondered together with companies how to increase communal living in the Pori 2018 House Fair area with the help of technology and how the students could arrange refreshing communal moments for the elderly.  For example, how to make the residents help each other wherever they can, solutions like so called village houses, collaboration between day care centres and the elderly, and useful games bringing generations together.

To be active often needs a push, after which the activity can well continue independently.

– It might be a theme you need, around which you gather.  It’s not enough just to put the lonely ones together, says Sari Teeri.

Collaboration with organizations for the aged, educational institutions and companies

Both in the area of Services for the Older Adults and in the research group of  Wellbeing Enhancing Technology there is collaboration with organizations for the aged, educational institutions and companies a.o.  Companies look for a partner for technological testing and to combine various actors, and collaboration with the students of practical nursing in Sataedu (a vocational education institution) means pairs of hands for testing, researching and developing.

– We have had enthusiastic testers and getting them has not been a problem, says Merilampi.  If you want to do a long-term research, where something new has to be done as a part of your job, it’s more difficult to get people involved in experiments.  In recent years, the courage to try playing and gaming has clearly increased among adults of different ages.

– Education and collaboration is expected from a university of applied sciences.  Both Geriatric Nurses and Master students are already skillful and the Master students have significant development tasks for working life.  The significance is seen also by the employers, says Teeri.

Merilampi talks for the diversification.  She would like the university of applied sciences be more clearly just “one door” through which one can proceed, whether it involves technology, culture or nursing and caring.

– Diversified courses are my mission.  They enable colliding between students in different fields and between experts and students.  You don’t have to know everything about everything, when you understand there are others to ask for different solutions.  Transfer of technological information is important: to understand what is possible and to understand to ask.

The research group of Wellbeing Enhancing Technology has organized low threshold demos together with the research group for Automation, where not-ready technologies have been tested to show what could be.

New things to teaching straight away

– Education and collaboration is expected from a university of applied sciences.  Both Geriatric Nurses and Master students are already skillful and the Master students have significant development tasks for working life.  The significance is seen also by the employers, says Teeri.

Merilampi talks for the diversification.  She would like the university of applied sciences be more clearly just “one door” through which one can proceed, whether it involves technology, culture or nursing and caring.

You don’t have to know everything about everything, when you understand there are others to ask for different solutions

– Diversified courses are my mission.  They enable colliding between students in different fields and between experts and students.  You don’t have to know everything about everything, when you understand there are others to ask for different solutions.  Transfer of technological information is important: to understand what is possible and to understand to ask.

The research group for Welfare Technology has organized low threshold demos together with the research group for Automatization, where not-ready technologies have been tested to show what could be.

– If you take an empty paper, nobody says anything, but when you have something to show there are immediate comments and ideas for development, compares Merilampi.

Technology and services should be made easily remouldable: something could possibly be the same for everyone, something could be remouldable for different needs.  According to Merilampi, in the tests elderly people get excited about the fact that they can influence the technology under development.  Already that brings wellbeing.  They can have a lot to say also to the looks of the gadget:  what kind of instrument is beautiful and interesting, what labels you.

 

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