By 2025, over 30% of the Population Will Be Aged 65+
It is estimated that more than 30% of the Japanese population will be aged 65 or older by the year 2025, and the number of elderly persons requiring nursing care services will rise by 5.3 million to 21.79 million.*1
The nursing care industry is suffering from a chronic labor shortage. This has generated a pressing need for solutions designed to reduce the workload on staff. Nursing care involves many labor-intensive tasks such as bathing and toileting, as well as ongoing monitoring and checking, especially at night.
Floor-mounted sensors are sometimes used, but when too many sensors are involved, the warning signals are often so frequent that there is little net benefit in terms of the ultimate goal of reducing the workload.
The industry, particularly institutions for the elderly and home-care services, is in need of an advanced monitoring solution that provides a safe and secure home environment while reducing the workload on nursing care professionals.
*1: Source: Annual Report on the Aging Society: 2015
Fujitsu and Panasonic Create In-home Monitoring Service
Panasonic is a pioneer in so-called “smart appliances” or next-generation Internet-enabled intelligent home appliances such as air conditioners equipped with remote switching and temperature control capability. Panasonic has also developed a number of innovative features for home air conditioning systems such as Oyasumi Navi designed to improve the quality of sleep. Fujitsu, meanwhile, has been working on ICT-driven sensor devices and sensor data analysis systems predicated on the principles of safety, convenience and sustainability.
Fujitsu and Panasonic have teamed up to create an in-home monitoring service for the elderly that is designed to reduce the workload on nursing care staff. A one-year trial has been underway since June 2015.*2
*2: Panasonic “Age Free House Toyonaka Shonai Sakaemachi” serviced senior residential facility in Toyonaka, Osaka.
A Home Environment That Provides Safety and Security for Both Elderly Residents and Family Members
The trial involved cloud-enabled Panasonic air-conditioning units that provide remote access to temperature and humidity readings and control of settings via the cloud, as well as Fujitsu non-contact life-sign sensors that monitor sleep patterns and generate basic real-time information such as whether the resident is at home or out. The Panasonic monitoring system sends the healthcare provider an aggregate of the life-sign sensor data and real-time data, and also analyzes the data and generates alerts in the event of unusual or unexpected behaviors, such as constantly waking during the night or setting the air conditioner to a temperature that could cause heatstroke.
The trial is also looking at a system that would give healthcare workers remote control over air-conditioning units. Remote monitoring and control over temperature settings would help to mitigate the safety checking workload while providing residents and family members with the assurance of a secure and comfortable home environment.
If the trial proves successful and demonstrates acceptance of the serviced senior homes operated by the Panasonic Group, Fujitsu and Panasonic plan to launch the service in fiscal 2016.