Oddly enough, old age is a relatively new phenomenon in western society. Since the XIX century when, thanks to the progress of the industrial and scientific development, increases the number of old people and their life expectancy, but at the same time increase the discrediting of old age. As the number of elderly people in society increases considerably, they attain a higher level of social representation that gives them public and political significance. And an important point is that, if we have luck, ´ and I wish to every one that read this post, we are going to live a long old age.

The society in which we live currently pressures and marginalises socially people with good physic and intelectual conditions on the basis of numeric age, and however exolts youth. On the one side,demands the elderly being dynamics, but at the same time demands them a moral code and clothes obligations, the appereance and repression in the sexual field.

Life models have been developed for the elderly that have not been fully taken on board by them, and they have not been involved in their design.

In spite of what is happening in nowadays society at a global level, there are areas on the planet in which being a elderly it is consider as a source of knowledge and that can bring value to society. In these parts of the world, people live longer in a simple way, realizing greatfull physic activities as walking or gardening, waking up with a sense of purpose every day, choosing wisely the food that they are going to eat and maintaining a solid and narrow relationship both with family and friends. These regions of the planet are calle “Blue Zones”, these regions were identified by cientifics and demographs who have found that the specific local characteristics and the practices give rise to a high incidence of longevity1 cases.

The five regions identified to be fulfilled with these requirements are:

  • Cerdeña, Italy (specifically Nuoro province and Ogliastra).
  • Okinawa island, Japan.
  • Loma Linda, California, researchers studied a group of Seventh-day Adventists, who are among the longest-lived in the United States.
  • Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.
  • Icaria, island from Greece near the Turkish coast.

Researchers who have been studying these zones have summarised the factors that determine their existence in two ways:

  1. The health: the inhabitants of these areas practice moderate exercise regularly, they eat a high amount of plant base products, drink alcohol, but not excessively, and practice Hara Hachi Bu, japanese concept which involves eating until you are 80% satiated.
  2. The social sector: the inhabitants of the blue zones realize rituals for reducing the stress, pray, naps, tee ceremonies. They have reasons for standing up every morning, they participate in colective activities with environments that promote healthy habits. Also, they construct and maintain healthy links with people of their family and communitary environment and developed colective spiritual or religious practices.

Inside the area of Health and Wellness of the CARTIF technology centre, our purpose is in line with the aim of helping older people to be able to choose to live in a full and autonomous way as long as possible while still being able to contribute value to the community.In this way, older people can stop thinking of them as a burden, and enable new concepts in which older people became a social active. From this purpose arise in CARTIF the active participation in different entities in which we work aligned with this objectives, such as the participation in the Innovative Solutions for Independent Life Cluster (SIVI Cluster), Castilla y León Health Cluster (Biotecyl Cluster) and the active participation in the Digital Innovation Hub in Silver Economy of Zamora (DIHSE) which is going to present as a candidate to join the european grid o European Digital Innovations Hubs.

This initiative is important because the Silver Economy Digital Innovation Hub (DIHSE) seeks to be the “unic window” through which, SMEs, start-ups and other public or private entities could access to the information, services and facilities who need to address with success their processes of Digital Transformation aimed at promoting a Silver Economy (citizenship over the age of 50 years) efficient.

The mission of DIHSE is to help SMEs of the care sector, Silver Tourism and agri-food, as well as the local public adminsitrations, of our castellano-leonesa community; in their digitalization processes and offer access to the last knowledge and technologies, being also a link between, a door to collaboration between different regions for the digital innovation.

We are conscious that actually the basic biological needs of the old people are largely satisfied thanks to the advances in science and medicine and with this labour we can be certainly proud, but for giving sense to life the biological needs aren´ t enough.

Help the proliferation of blue zones to other parts of the planet it must be one of the objectives to take in count by the society, the basic investigation and the applied investigation can do their bit in this respect.

From CARTIF we are working on the development of solutions that add value to people´´ s quality of life at the same time while integrating them into social and health care processes involving professionals. A new technological development that is not integrated in the processes in a functional way or that interoperates digitally with other solutions is an island that add a reduce value or it is not sustainable in time.

To be a little more specific, the Wellness and Health area, counts with two investigation lines that pursue improving different quality aspects in the support of the clinic decision and other lines that focus on robotics with different aims.

  • Support to the socio-care decision of the professionals and users through (biomedic signal processing, Machine Learning as well as Support to the management decision (interoperability based in standars, discrete modelling in processes or Digital Twin) with projects as ISA (study of a framework of socio-care interoperability), IDEALNET (Cross-border innovation network on early diagnosis of leukaemia for healthy ageing).
  • Social Interaction Robotics, in projects such as AIROSO and UNO MÁS that are in execution. We are working on the development of the companion robotics. In strength interaction of men-robot (rehabilitation, tonification) with projects such as THERMES (study of technologies for the development of rehabilitation robots), SHAREM (development of modular mechatronic solutions of accessible cost for rehabilitation and tonification) and IDET (development of a therapy development environment for professional therapists without extensive knowledge of software development).
  • Development of technical solutions that allow improving the authonomy capacities of the people at their homes. In the PROCURA project we develop an intelligent walker and a technological assistant for the use of the toilet.

Our commitment is strong and we hope at some point to be able to replicate the blue zones for the wellnes of our elders.

1 https://cenie.eu/es/blog/zonas-azules-los-paraisos-de-la-longevidad

Alejandro Cuadrado
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