Deakin launches Digital Enhanced Living Hub to improve home care

Media release

15 August 2019

Deakin has partnered with industry and other universities to create a collaborative research hub that will drive technological improvements in in-home support for older people and people living with a disability.

Deakin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin today joined Minister for Education, the Hon Dan Tehan, at Uniting AgeWell Strathdon Community in Forest Hill to launch the Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Digital Enhanced Living, which is funded by a $3 million grant from the Australian Research Council.

The Hub will develop effective, affordable and safe in-home and in-residential care solutions, such as smartphone technology to support the mental health of elderly people and avatar learning tools to improve care for people with dementia.

"Our ageing population presents us with an emerging social challenge - how do existing facilities and resources keep up with the growing demand for care and support?" Professor Martin said.

"The Digital Enhanced Living Hub will use digital technology to address the related but different needs of high-quality ageing and high-quality disability and rehabilitation support to allow people to live at home independently for longer.

"Collaboration will be key to the work of the Digital Enhanced Living Hub as industry partners outline their challenges and research teams find solutions. Together we will translate these outcomes into commercial use," Professor Martin said.

Digital Enhanced Living Hub Director Professor Kon Mouzakis said the Hub would provide shared access to Deakin expertise.

"The Hub will give partners access to the research and development infrastructure capabilities and expertise from Deakin's leading research laboratories including Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (A2I2), Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) and Institute for Health Transformation (IHT)," Professor Mouzakis said.

The Digital Enhanced Living Hub is currently working with partners on four projects that aim to address key themes including independent living and mental wellbeing:

Uniting AgeWell: The introduction of a Digital Living Assistant to interact with and assist older people living independently at home which has the potential to reduce symptoms of loneliness and other mental health issues.

Dementia Australia: Development and evaluation of the use of avatar to educate carers on how to provide specialised care for people living with dementia.

Black Dog Institute: Development and evaluation of an early intervention mobile app for those suffering from anxiety and early stages of depression.

South Australian project (Flinders University, goAct, ACH Group): Development and evaluation of a system to identify early risk of frailty for those living independently in community dwellings.

The Digital Enhanced Living Hub has nine industry partners including Uniting AgeWell, Dementia Australia, BlackDog Institute, ACH Group, goAct, Neo Products, Uniting (NSW.ACT), C-Born and iCetana.

University partners include Australian and international institutions including Monash University, Flinders University, University of New South Wales, University of Technology Sydney, the Auckland University of Technology, the University of Auckland, Dublin City University, Technical University of Denmark, Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen and the University of Copenhagen.

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