Smart Building

The apartment that looks after its residents

Author: Frank Druska, Investment Management, GESOBAU AG, and Helene Böhm, Public Housing Development, GESOBAU AG
Issue 02-2018: read all articles online read as pdf

90 percent of the tenants in GESOBAU AG properties in Berlin would like to live independently and self-reliantly in their own homes in old age. In 2014, this wish raised the question of what apartment solutions would look like that brought the living situations of seniors and people in need of care together with the existing approaches to home design and the increasing digitalization of our lives. This is where the “Pflege@Quartier” project comes in, an undertaking that has been in the works in the Märkisches Viertel neighborhood of northern Berlin since 2015.

Together with AOK Nordost and funded by the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (GKV-Spitzenverband) until January 31, 2018, GESOBAU AG has studied how and whether modern technology can help preserve mobility and cognitive skills so that seniors can remain in their own homes even as their need for care increases.

Gesobau The apartment that looks after its residents

User perspectives form the basis for an interior design concept

The project focused on the user’s perspective and thus on customizing the solution to individual needs. The “Pflege@Quartier” project was developed together with tenants (average age of 77 years, some requiring care) and is thus oriented specifically toward the needs of senior citizens. Over the course of the project, a concept for furnishing homes was developed, which was tested in a model apartment and in 30 tenant apartments. The Basic hardware kits were selected so that they not only provided assistance for seniors but also increased comfort for people of all ages.

Gesobau The apartment that looks after its residents

Requirements: low maintenance, ease of installation and user-friendliness

Solutions that were easy to use or did not require any action at all on the part of the user were deliberately chosen for the assisted living fixtures. Since the furnishings were installed in occupied apartments, care was taken to ensure that the solutions were affordable and required little maintenance. Moreover, it was necessary to install the technology used with as little effort or intervention into the apartment as possible, which was why only radio-based systems could be considered. escos automation GmbH, the company that furnished the apartments, therefore used EnOcean-based components.

Inactivity sensors, fall recognition systems and automatic stove shutoff devices turned out to be the favored technology modules. In addition, wireless lamp switching systems, a doorbell add-on and an orientation light that makes the walk to the bathroom safer at night were met with positive reviews from the tenants. The apartment that looks after its residents is able to automatically identify emergency situations and, in some cases, also diffuse them, for example by integrating into the system a medical alert function that calls automatically for help via an integrated connection to the Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe emergency response or to have the tenants’ family members use the system-specific app.

Gesobau The apartment that looks after its residents Gesobau The apartment that looks after its residents

Using the “all-off-switch” all electrical devices, such as the stove, can be turned off when leaving the apartment.

Continuing the project and integrating it into everyday life

GESOBAU is extending the “Pflege@Quartier” project beyond the funding period to integrate the assisted living technology into existing properties and the rental processes beyond the pilot run over the long term by offering a residential package that “ages along with the tenant.”

Gesobau The apartment that looks after its residents

Occupancy sensors detect a room’s usage and thereby also a noticeable inactivity. Thus. relatives or carers can react promptly.

About Perpetuum

Perpetuum is EnOcean's customer magazine focusing on solutions and products for energy harvesting technology. The technology delivers the data for the Internet of Things in a resource-saving, self-powered and maintenance-free way. In doing so, it enables the smart use of buildings, cities and industrial plants. In the categories Internet of Things, Smart Building, Smart Lighting and Smart Home the EnOcean's partners in particular have their say highlighting their expertise.

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