On Saturday 21st of June 2018, Materia Group hosted the opening of The Frail Trail, a photography exhibition aimed at raising awareness on the frailty syndrome and the FrailSafe project. People from the community, older adults, caregivers, healthcare professionals, artists and IT developers had the opportunity to attend the event and interact with the FrailSafe system.
The exhibition featured modern, black and white photo portraits by Cypriot photographer Andreas Andreou. The portraits visually captured the emotional perspective of frailty and were accompanied by legends with older people’s optimistic thoughts on frailty, old age and the use of the FrailSafe system.
All older adults who were photographed for the exhibition, were very positive about their photoshoots and happy to share their opinions and experiences. Several of them, currently participate in the ongoing FrailSafe study and expressed their views on technology and assisted living, as well.
When reading their quotes, the visitors can easily notice older persons’ main concerns, which are their gradual loss of functional reserve and their reluctance to depend on others. “Sometimes, I feel that my body does not listen to me anymore. My hands are shaking, I feel weak and I tend to forget things I did not use to”, said one of the participants, “I feel insecure when I am alone in the house, but I do not want to put an extra burden on my children with my care needs. I think that it is very useful to have a system, which can allow you to monitor your own health. It makes me feel secure and confident.”
Some participants also stressed their desire to be socially included and in touch with recent technological advances. One older adult said: “My participation in the FrailSafe study made me feel involved and connected with the recent technological advances in healthcare. I also made some new friends. I love getting informed about new things that interest and concern me. I like to see that my opinion matters.”
Another person stated that “One of the drawbacks of getting older is that you begin to depend more on other people. I was independent for my whole life. I personally applaud every innovation that can offer me autonomy for more years.” Also, several people acknowledged the usefulness of the recent innovations, but stressed that they should be user-friendly and should not intervene with their daily routines. “One of the positive things about the FrailSafe system is that it does not interfere with my everyday activities. I can go shopping, cook or spend time with my friends and at the same time monitor my health” a participant stated.
During the exhibition, people were informed about frailty, its symptoms and the diagnostic challenges that the syndrome poses. They also learned about the prevention and management methods currently available.
At the end of the presentation, a group of healthcare professionals, caregivers and older adults had a hands-on experience with the FrailSafe system. They played serious games, monitored their pulse and pressure with the wearable devices and completed short feedback forms.
Healthcare professionals and caregivers gave a positive feedback about the FrailSafe system. According to a nurse and a psychologist, “this system could save lots of effort and reduce visits to home-care patients” and “it can surely have an added value for people’s feelings of self-confidence and independence. It could also prevent them from being socially isolated”.