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Smart device for quick and easy use by elderly

By CAO CHEN and XING YI in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2021-10-22 07:40
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Hong Yunzhu received a call in June from a service platform for senior citizens in Shanghai's Changning district reminding her of her doctor's appointment. Hong then clicked on a related device and a taxi was booked for her.

She used the "one-click service for the elderly" tool that makes communication between residents and the platform possible through the use of internet of things, big data and cloud computing.

According to Feng Xiaoli, a staff member of the community service office of the Jiangsu Road subdistrict where Hong lives, the device allows elderly residents to call a hotline for assistance or make a taxi booking with just a click of the button. In the event of an emergency, holding the button would alert relevant authorities as well.

As part of the city's digital transformation efforts, the device was first launched in 2019 by the civil affairs bureau in Changning district, an area with 39,900 residents aged over 80, and later in the Jiangsu Road area. To date, 300 devices have facilitated some 667 services for senior citizens in Shanghai.

The service is available 24 hours a day throughout the year for applicants over 60 years old who have Shanghai medical insurance.

According to the bureau, Shanghai has 12 scenarios related to "smart elderly care". In Changning, a three-level elderly care advisory system covering districts, subdistricts and residences has been established.

"The essence of smart elderly services is to improve the quality of life of the elderly through technical means," says Meng Gang, deputy director of a senior care service development center in Changning district.

To help seniors, the first community canteen powered by artificial intelligence in Shanghai held its soft opening on July 19. Located in the city's Hongqiao subdistrict, the canteen features robotic arms that perform the bulk of food preparation tasks. At the self-service area, diners simply need to place their dishes on a "smart cashier desk" and the system will automatically determine the cost of the meal. The canteen accepts a variety of payment options, including bank cards, QR codes and digital currency.

"There are many choices for the dishes here and they taste nice," says Guan Shuang, a resident of Hongqiao community. "The transparent glass allows me to see the cooking process."

Changning also provides smoke alarms, infrared monitoring devices that collect movement data and GPS-enabled bracelets to some 5,000 elderly people who live alone there.

There have been over 15,804 smoke alerts, 13,173 infrared alerts and 1,828 alerts from smart bracelets in the past three years, according to data from the platform.

"We're aiming to integrate elderly care service data and offer more customized services for those in need by analyzing their requests via the senior service platform," Meng says.

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