The International Federation on Ageing (IFA) will be bringing senior government officials to Prague May 28 for a conference on long term care and technology.

Prague is the home of the Golem — a legendary, zombie-like worker who was the medieval equivalent of an android.

Prague is also the home of Karel Capek, who came up with the word “robot.”

Rather than talking about creating human-like robots who could take care of frail elderly people and people with disabilities, including the elderly, conference participants are gearing up to talk about systems for communicating with clients and keeping track of their health.

One goal should be to help the family caregivers who often look after people with serious disabilities, according to the IFA, Toronto.

“Carers are not the person in direct receipt of health or care and support interventions,” IFA officials say in a conference background paper. But “it is important to recognize and consider carers in the design of new home health monitoring and enabling technology, and acknowledge that it is important to help carers maintain their health and well being.”

IFA officials also emphasize that growing old and frail is not a disease. “Medical or nursing interventions account for but a fraction of the care that goes to support an older person with limited capacities to carry out activities of daily living on their own,” officials say.

But officials concede that the IFA’s own top two grantmaking priority areas are medication optimization and remote patient monitoring.

“These two technology areas are considered well balanced in terms of offering high value to stakeholders and surmountable barriers to adoption and diffusion,” officials say. “Each of these two technology areas offers
evidence that there are clear benefits to as well as a high degree of acceptability for older people. Both technologies offer immediate relevancy given the health reform debates across the globe and specific opportunities to inform national and/or state policymakers.”

IFA officials note that insurers might be able to promote use of technology to reduce the risk of accidents and other events that could lead to insureds entering the hospital.