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"The objective of GERHOME project is to develop, try out and certify technical solutions supporting the assistance services for enhancing independence of the elderly at home, by using intelligent technologies for house automations to ensure autonomy, comfort of life, security, monitoring and assistance to place of residence."
So says the introduction to Project Gerhome's website. The project, a French initiative, run by the French centre for construction research (CSTB), is designed as telehealth for the elderly. Homes are tripped out with sensors and computer systems that monitor the health and behavior of the individual, and alert a central depot should anything outside of normal routine occur.
In conjunction with that, video monitoring devices fitted in the person's house, allow nursing staff to check in at any time. An amount of privacy is traded off for freedom to stay at home.
To help soften the blow, and to aid telehealth-care, a monitor/terminal system fitted in the house, allows doctors, specialists, and friends & family to 'call in' and check up on the person via videoconferencing. With the case of family, who often live across the country, the system reinforces family ties.
As far as monitoring goes, everything is checked, from electricity consumption, movement, to chair and bed occupation, the aim is to determine a resident's "normal" behavior, then monitor for any deviation, that can then be analyzed by the software, and flagged when it deviates too much from norm.
The system can detect the slight changes in natural rhythms that can give doctors and carers early warning of possible trouble ahead. For example, changes is sleeping rhythm, a gradual drift over time of eating periods, increase or decrease in toileting. All this information is noted by the smart house and forwarded to centralized computer systems. If the individual is moved into assisted care, that home is also equipped the same way, and records are automatically updated between the two.
The system includes:
Gerhome project website
Gerhome Demonstration Brochure (PDF)
BBC News Segment (57 Seconds)