One in three people over the age of 65 suffer from a fall every year in Ireland. Two-thirds of this group falls again within six months leading to risk of hospitalization and significant decline in health. In addition, a recent study by the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology showed that the cost to the economy from falls and fractures in older people is about five billion annually.
In Ireland, Sean Sherlock TD, Minister for Research and Innovation recently launched the novel falls risk assessment suite within the clinic at the Technology Research for Independent Living (TRIL) Center. TRIL was established to develop competitive state-of-the-art technologies for aging given increasing aging demographics. TRIL is funded by Intel, GE Healthcare, and IDA Ireland.
The TRIL Center along with the University College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, St James’s Hospital, and industry partners are researching using mobile devices with novel sensor technology and algorithms to predict the risks for falling.
The TRIL Clinic in St. James’s Hospital involves:
· Exploring the physical, social, and psychological dimensions of aging through comprehensive assessment of a large group of older Irish adults
· Validating novel technologies for assessment
· Having a well characterized group of older adults participate in various research projects within the center.
In total, the TRIL Center has undertaken a substantial aging research program resulting in 240 publications and the creation of 15 technologies and technology trials being conducted in the homes of over 500 older people. By the end of 2012, 1,335 comprehensive bio-psycho-social assessments will be carried out at the Clinic.
For more information, go to www.trilcentre.org.