According to a recently presented study, it is expected that by 2050 the number of people over 65 years of age in the countries of the European Union will grow 70%, and up to 170% in the age group over 80 years .
However, the integration of ICT solutions in furniture combined with an improvement in the design and ergonomics applied to the habitat sector will allow us to live at home and remain active for longer in spite of physical or cognitive impediments and, therefore, have a more independent longer lived.
It is for all this that, in line with the line of research initiated more than a decade ago by its Department of Electronics and Domotics, the Furniture and Wood Technology Center (CETEM) holds the presidency of the European project ‘Smart Habitat for the Elderly’ (Sheld-ON), which held the first meeting of its working groups in Yecla today. The opening of the plenary session was chaired by Joaquín Gómez, director of the Institute of Development of the Region of Murcia (INFO) and José Francisco Puche, director of CETEM. Subsequently, the mayor of Yecla, Marcos Ortuño, also addressed a few words to the attendees as closure to the work sessions.
The expected result of the Sheld-ON project is the elaboration of a guide of recommendations about intelligent furniture design that, through the integration of ICT solutions, simplifies the life of the group of elderly people, improving at the same time time their attention and communication so they can live independently in their own homes in a more secure and healthy way. This guide, prepared by the more than 100 members that make up the consortium, will be a tool to be used by political authorities when establishing institutional support strategies in future EU funding programs.
Funded through the COST Program of the European Commission and with a total duration of four years, this project has brought together in CETEM more than 70 experts from companies in the habitat and construction sector, research entities and universities in 33 European countries.
Through the three different working groups that have met today at CETEM, the Sheld-ON project aims to address the challenges facing Europe in terms of population aging by promoting the exchange of knowledge and the development of a joint research agenda in terms of of design and development of environments in the habitat sector.
The project began last November with a first management meeting in Brussels where CETEM was chosen as the leader of this project thanks to its extensive experience in the management of large transnational projects, as well as its mission to serve as a center for European-level reference in technologies and innovation related to the habitat sector.