The people of Planet Earth are aging. When the world population passed 7 billion in late 2011, 600+ million people were over the age of 60. By 2025, the 60+ segment will comprise 20% of the population in most industrialized nations.
Bolzano, Italy, is reaching this milestone a little faster almost a quarter of the population is over the age of 65. In fact, Italy, along with Japan, has one of the oldest populations in the world. As a result, Bolzano currently spends close to half of their social services budget on services for the elderly.
An IBM Smarter Cities team led by the IBM Human Centric Solutions Center partnered with Bolzano city planners to answer the question "Can we use technology to guarantee a good quality of life?" And the answer is a resounding "yes."
The team outfitted a small group of elderly residents' homes with sensors which would report information back to a central database closely monitored by the city. From there, the city could dispatch a care worker to visit the home. By allowing Bolzano to keep the number of their staff members the same, the program stabilizes the city's costs while simultaneously allowing it to care for its growing elderly population.
The Living Safe Project is making a difference for Italian seniors aging in place in Bolzano. City planners estimate 30% savings in assistance and care. But, Zita, one resident using the solution, places a different value on the program, saying, "It feels like I have a friend at home watching over the house."
She adds, "Independence is the most beautiful thing in the world. This is important. This is living. This is richness."
Learn more about how IBM is enriching the lives of older people in Italy.