How will Australians look after their aged mums and dads?
Vix Vizion has been helping to keep older people safe with its Imagus face recognition system...
Australia’s population is ageing.
Due to increasing life expectancy the number of people aged 65 or over is growing. And due to lower birth rates, older people are representing an increasingly large share of the total population (CEPAR 2021).
Today 1 in 6 Australians are 65 or over. That compares with 1 in 12 in 1970, and 1 in 8 in 1995. By 2066 up to 23% of the population is expected to be aged 65yrs or over.
Clearly demands on aged care services are only going one way… up! The challenge is, how can the country afford it?
The Government spends around $10 billion per annum on the aged care sector, with around two-thirds of this expenditure directed to residential aged care. However, aged care providers have long argued that the subsidy provided by the Government is insufficient to meet the cost of providing care and that much of the aged care sector is operating at a loss.
What’s more the aged care workforce itself is ageing. Aged care workers are some of the lowest paid in Australia. Retaining existing staff and attracting new staff to the sector is challenging.
And as the number of older people grows, the need for treatment of age-related medical conditions does too. For example, around 472,000 Australians are living with dementia, which is now the 3rd leading cause of “disease burden” in Australia. In the absence of a medical breakthrough, this number is projected to more than double by 2058.
Vix Vizion has been working with aged care providers to help improve the quality of care that they can provide, whilst at the same time stripping out costs. One emerging area of care using its Imagus face recognition system is to help care for those suffering with dementia...
Every patient is different. However, dementia sufferers generally have a propensity to walk. They are wanderers! Unfortunately, aperson with dementia can quickly become disorientated, confused and unable to navigate properly. This will undoubtedly lead to anxiety, fear and potentially panic. Once lost, they are in danger of injury and even death from falls, accidents, exposure or lack of nutrition and fluids.
Missing people with dementia have been located lying in open land, fields, golf courses, woods, ditches and bushes where they have fallen over and not been able to get back up. It is also thought that many will not cry out for help or respond to shouts.
In a pilot scheme, Vix Vizion has deployed face recognition systems to help care for dementia sufferers. Historically traditional security measures such as manned exits or CCTV monitoring have been used to try and prevent dementia sufferers from leaving the safety of their medical facilities and wander off. These traditional security measures are not foolproof and, since they rely on people, expensive.
When the Imagus system identifies a dementia sufferer who has been enrolled by clinical staff into system, then it can alert care facility staff to take appropriate action. This might include remotely locking the exit adjacent to the patient to prevent them from wandering out of the facility. Or perhaps a member of the medical team can be sent to the location to provide help to provide reassurance and guidance.
As Vix Vizion’s Imagus face recognition system never gets distracted, short-staffed or redeployed to help in other areas of a care facility leaving exits unattended, its continuous monitoring for patients wandering reduces Missing Persons incidents. This protects patients and saves time and expense on the part of the care facility, the local police and eliminates stress in patients, their families and their carers.
Commented Simon Heron, CEO of Vix Vizion, “As Australians develop an ever greater understanding of what good face recognition is and how systems such as Imagus can be a force for good, without impinging on people’s privacy or providing opportunities for misuse of their data, so we are finding more and more opportunities to utilise the technology to solve problems faced by society. This latest application in the aged care sector is yet another example of our technology making a positive contribution to Australians’ lives.”
Nov 22, 2023,
Vix Vizion Team