[…] there is evidence to suggest that the term ‘frailty’ does not resonate with older people, nor is it something that they identify with. […], as a result, fewer older people may access the health and social care that they need.
Frailty: Language and Perceptions - A report prepared by BritainThinks on behalf of Age UK and the British Geriatrics Society, June 2015

AGE Platform Europe organized a user Forum with its members on frailty prevention on 8 June 2018 in Brussels. The forum was attended by 23 AGE members and externals. It started with an ice breaking session where it appeared that most of the participants knew what frailty was, but were not sure whether it could be early detected nor prevented.

Yiannis Ellul from the University of Patras explained that frailty is common among older persons aged 80+. It is a progressive condition, made of episodic deteriorations, but it is preventable. Frailty is not a disease; it is rather the loss of the physiological reserve, of the inner battery. Currently there is no comprehensive test that can tell about such a loss. A system is thus needed to calculate one's physiological reserve, which is composed of the psychological capacities of a person, his/her locomotion capacities, cognition capacities, sensory capacities, vitality. The FrailSafe project deals with parameters. It proposes an IT system that provides a continuous monitoring in real time to get more data and get a better overview of the needed interventions to prevent frailty.

The second part of the forum was dedicated to the technical presentation of some of the devices used in the FrailSafe system, namely the smart vest, some serious games, indoor and outdoor monitoring and the dashboard (the user interface). Afterwards the room divided into two groups to test, manipulate and ask their questions to Luca Bianconi and Kostas Deltouzos, responsible for the technical development of the system. AGE members greatly discussed with the speakers on the lack of human interaction, the affordability of the system, the collection of health data, the design and how to improve the friendliness of the smart.

Finally, during the last part, Kosmas Petridis from Hypertech SA presented the business model and use cases of the FrailSafe system to the participants:

  • The MonitorMe edition is meant for older people and their family. It would be free for the basic edition. However, additional features could cost up to 50€ a month.
  • DoctorMe edition is meant for doctors, clinics and hospitals. It would have a scalable pricing from 200€ to 500€ a month and would enable health professionals to follow their patients remotely and access their health data to provide personalized interventions.
  • ProData edition would be available for insurance companies and research centers. This edition would be a repository of past health related datasets. Its cost would start from 3.000€ a month to receive a collection of data.

The President of AGE Platform Europe, Ebbe Johansen, reported back on the user forum to the plenary session of AGE General Assembly, where more than a 100 AGE member associations were present (watch a short video here). He explained the benefit of early detection of frailty and how the FrailSafe system can help calculate one's physiological reserve and adopt a more proactive approach towards one’s health.