A new living lab has been created in Cesena for the experimentation of advanced technological solutions capable of improving the quality of life of elderly or frail people. The initiative was born from the collaboration between two important realities of the area: eResult, which from the beginning strongly wanted to give life to this experience, and the Don Baronio Foundation.
Bringing together different skills and common interests to create a real living laboratory: this is the goal of the agreement, which weaves together the experience of the Don Baronio Foundation, an important welfare reality that provides support to more than a hundred guests and their families, and the know-how in ICT of eResult, a company that creates software solutions for ambient assisted living, healthcare and social welfare, also within national and EU research and development projects.
“The collaboration between the Don Baronio Foundation and eResult goes back a long way – explains Dr. Luca Brasini, director of the Foundation – in fact, already ten years ago we implemented an experimental system of digital computerization of the Residence apartments for the elderly. After the pandemic phase, however, we met again in order to identify a project that would improve the quality of life of the elderly, creating a unique research laboratory for the city, referring to the most current and urgent issue of the moment and of the near future: the life of the elderly. To understand its importance, just think that in the next two decades the percentage of people over 65 will increase, from 24 percent today, to 35 percent of the world population”.
In these early months of 2023, the first assisted living system called Prudentemente, a hardware-software system that enables the measurement and improvement of the skills needed for driving through the use of a dedicated workstation through which the driving experience is simulated, has been put into use at the Via Mulini facility.
“Prudentemente is a driving skills evaluator that, through a series of exercises, each of which is appropriately configured and modulated, allows the user’s skills and progress over time to be monitored in relation to visual-spatial skills, reflexes, attentional skills and dexterity. Currently – continues Massimo Pistoia, founding partner of eResult and head of the project – this solution is being tested at several centers in various parts of Italy, with the clinical support of Prof. Sancesario, a neurologist at Tor Vergata University in Rome, and it seemed to us to be the most suitable system to get the living lab in Cesena off the ground. For the future, the goal is to make available to Don Baronio users any new products created as part of the research projects, so that users and operators can experiment with them and give us the feedback we need to improve our systems and make them increasingly responsive to their needs. Putting the user at the center is the secret: it is the user himself who gives information at every stage of the development of the software solution, from design to testing to experimentation in the living lab. A serious game such as Prudently aims to achieve results in terms of improving health conditions, both physical and mental, by combining the playful and competitive aspects, to increase the readiness for use and acceptability of the solution while improving the individual’s neurological capabilities”.
After three months of guides, which involved about twenty RSA users, some also with significant motor and cognitive difficulties, the results were extraordinary. “After an initial skepticism, to our amazement we found much interest and, in some cases, enthusiasm – reveals Dr. Brasini – at each trial, the participants recounted with satisfaction the experience they had had, and some family members reported how new interests and opportunities to rediscover stimuli, memories and skills that seemed to have been dormant had emerged”.
“We are very happy with how this collaboration has begun – Pistoia sums up – which has given us and will give us the opportunity to test our solutions in a real environment, working closely with the operators and guests of the RSA, in order to develop solutions that are increasingly targeted to the needs of the elderly and the most frail. To be able to give life to this living laboratory, one of the few at the European level on these issues, and to be able to do it in our city, sharing the journey with such a special reality as the Don Baronio Foundation, is for us an additional reason for pride and great satisfaction”.