In the rural areas of the Finnish South Ostrobothnia, more specifically in the Suupohja sub-region, the local stakeholders have pondered for a while how to create more wellbeing for the senior citizens living in the four local municipalities: Kauhajoki, Teuva, Isojoki and Karijoki. With long distances and the old-fashioned one-to-one services diminishing, many seniors have chosen to move to the nearby larger towns.
The Finnish ERUDITE partner Economic Development Agency of Suupohja Region (SEK) launched a test pilot to tackle these ongoing problems of service availability and migration together with Agency’s local grass-roots level project ’Digital Countryside’. The actual testing period is due to begin later this February and continue until the end of October 2017.
The stakeholders involved in the pilot include the City of Kauhajoki and their educational and cultural administration, the local church organisation, Kauhajoki Community College and Kauhajoki Support for the Elderly, an organisation responsible for the senior living facilities.
The pilot itself consists of an easy-to-use mobile and tv-interface service, Anvia Akkuna, developed by the local network operator and IT company Anvia Oyj. The service includes a simple, senior-friendly user interface and also provides the users a possibility to view a variety of locally created content such as pre-recorded or streamed events, excercise videos and other activating content such as memory games. In addition the platform enables the users to make video calls to their family members – with a secure, encrypted connection. In the future the service can also be upgraded to include smart home equipment, such as movement sensors.
The manager of Kauhajoki Support for the Elderly, Mrs. Tiina Rauhalaakso considers the pilot a good opportunity to develop the services in the region:
We are very excited to participate! These new digital services enable our test users to take part in local events and other social gatherings even if their mobility and possibilities to travel were compromised. Our senior citizens can maintain a better social life regardless of their place of residence. It makes them feel more in charge of their lives again and the experience of one’s own wellbeing is thus greatly enhanced.
The test group consists of a total of 70 senior citizens living in the facilities provided by the Kauhajoki Support for the Elderly. The users will have access to the Akkuna system through 4G Android tablets and two tv-interfaces, both provided by Anvia.