The HELICOPTER proposal aims at exploiting ambient-assisted living techniques to provide older adults (end users) and their caregivers with support, motivation and guidance in pursuing a healthy, safe lifestyle. Helicopter targets 65+ adults not suffering from major chronic diseases or severe disabilities, yet possibly being affected by (or being at risk of) metabolic or circulatory disorders which are endemic to their age class (e.g. hypertension, mild diabetes) or by mild cognitive deficits common to a large portion of the aging population. It is a well known fact that bad habits play a major role in developing such diseases as well as in their progression, and nutrition, medical therapies and physical exercise are key to prevention and control.
For instance, a very common impaired glucose tolerance in older adults is often likely to turn into diabetes; a suitable lifestyle is estimated to reduce the chance of that happening by 60%. Similarly, overweight may become obesity and involve other pathologies like hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes. The effectiveness of lifestyle programs in the prevention of such conditions is largely demonstrated.
However, the importance of checking health parameters at set times and regularly reporting to the physician or caregivers is often overlooked. The reason why older people fail to adhere to a prevention program is very often due to lack of motivation or to they way they perceive it, as they may find it too complex or simply boring.