Ho'alauna, which means good neighbor in Hawaiian, is a new technology solution that is being developed by the Archimedes Hawaii Project to enable Hawaii's seniors to remain connected to their family, friends and community; control their home environment; and manage their healthcare.
For many people, the process of growing older is one of continual change. Decreasing physical and cognitive abilities make many familiar activities difficult or even impossible to perform. Adapting to new challenges is a major factor in aging successfully and, while some people manage this easily, there are many who require help. Traditional ways for providing this help usually involve some form of institutional setting in which the person receives the necessary help at the cost of losing some individual independence. While this approach has worked reasonably well in the past, it is no longer viable due to escalating costs, lack of facilities and a global shortage of young people available to work in the institutions.
We believe the most promising strategy for alleviating the problems looming over an aging population is to develop technologies that enable aging people to remain active and independent in their own homes for as long as possible. Achieving this will require detailed attention to many different facets of daily living. Some of the necessary technologies have already been developed for other populations such as physical disabilities or blindness. There are also many technologies related to personal computers and the World Wide Web that could be adapted to assist aging people. While it is possible to cobble together pieces of these existing technologies to create individualized solutions for aging people, the results are often complex and confusing. We do not consider this to be a viable strategy for providing long-term answers.
Ho'alauna has evolved over many years of research into developing simple, reliable ways for people to interact with computer-based devices and information technologies regardless of their personal needs, abilities, culture and preferences. The Ho'alauna Tablet is a simple computer-based device designed specifically for aging people. In addition to providing communication, organization, social interaction and control functions, it implements "Lifelong Learning" strategies that enable users how to cope with new challenges wherever and whenever they are encountered.
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"By 2025, the number of people age 65 and over throughout the world will nearly double, while the number of children will increase just 3 percent.
In the United States, the elderly population is expected to jump nearly 80 percent, and working-age adults and children, 15 percent. "
US Census Bureau US Census Press Releases Feb.2004 "