Cáritas Coimbra shares knowledge at AAL Austria conference

Cáritas Coimbra was present on October 11th at the Austria AAL Programme Conference “Active and Assisted Living (AAL) and its practical applications” at the invitation of the Austria AAL Programme. The conference took place at the 1st Annual Congress of the Network for Gerontology, which took place in Graz, Austria, from 10th to 12th October.

Carina Dantas, Director of the Innovation Department, represented Cáritas Coimbra in this Annual Congress, having participated as a speaker in the session “Active and Assisted Living (AAL) and its practical applications”. Throughout the meeting, it was shared insights on the institution’s experience in implementing AAL solutions (for assisted living environments) and how to bring digital innovations to end users, giving as a practical example the DAPAS and Toilet4Me projects.

DAPAS aims to bring together the successful results of previous AAL projects developed from different companies in different countries, combining them into a unique and innovative product that can easily reach elder people, improving their quality of life. Cáritas Coimbra is currently preparing the project pilot, which will involve around 40 elder users of Day Care and Home Support responses, testing the system for a year. This project is co-financed by the European AAL Programme, with Portuguese funding provided by the Science and Technology Foundation. The Austrian project coordinator DAPAS, EHXTEX, attended the Conference with a project stand and presented some of its products at a pitch to the audience.

Toilet4Me, a project already finished, started from a previous project that aimed to create a smart bathroom suitable for the elder public, in residential version. Evaluating the results of this project, the Toilet4Me consortium sought to develop a solution tailored for the use of toilets in public and semi-public spaces. This model uses technologies that allow voice interaction to, for example, raise the seat, as well as a lift and sit assist system. This project was also co-financed by the AAL Programme.

Cáritas Coimbra already has a significant track record regarding to AAL solutions, technology-based projects and the enhancement of elder people or those in social exclusion. Over the years it has also integrated several national and international networks that drive ecosystem work and shared among several partners that integrate them. Examples are the Networks coordinated by the institution and presented by Cárina Dantas at the meeting.

Cáritas Coimbra coordinates the SHAFE Stakeholder Network, in partnership with AFEdemy. This Network, approved in 2018 by the European Commission under the theme Smart Healthy Age-Friendly Environments, involves 10 major European networks and 160 organizations from across Europe as partners. The objective is to align technological development with the construction industry in terms of policies and financing, coupled with a more efficient, better quality integrated health and social support system at a lower cost, in line with the strategy of the Single Market Digital.

At national level, Cáritas Coimbra coordinates the Portuguese Network on Smart, Healthy and Age-Friendly Environments. This Network brings together a wide range of Portuguese organizations committed to the promotion of a joint agenda for the implementation of Inclusive Environments for all ages, with particular focus on Health, Social Support, TICE and Infrastructure. The consortium actively seeks to promote collaboration between research/academia, public authorities, business and civil society/citizens with the aim of addressing and finding common solutions to national challenges in this area.

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