Aged care tech startup Conpago is using smart home technologies and robotics to connect seniors to the digital world. After launching in Australia in 2018, Conpago is now turning to the UAE to innovate care for the elderly.

Societies all around the world are ageing rapidly and the UAE is no different. It is expected that over the next three decades, the population of seniors in the UAE will increase fivefold. With the recent retirement law that will allow expatriates above 55 years to obtain a 5-year renewable visa in the UAE, this number could see significant growth.

The new National Policy for senior Emiratis, which was recently approved by the UAE Cabinet, aims to address concerns associated with ageing by providing special health insurance, setting up new centres to teach seniors modern skills and developing community housing.

Another significant development in ageing is the introduction of luxury retirement communities. Developers in Dubai are eyeing the lucrative potential of senior living, catering to retirees who seek to live independently in a community of peers with easy access to health and aged care services.

An essential element of these retirement development projects is the integration of the latest smart home and IoT technologies. From smart plugs to smart TVs, the retirement home of the future offers modern and comfortable living.

Ali Galadari, director of Conpago, explains why smart home devices will be essential in senior living: “Smart home systems can help seniors to live independently while ensuring safety. Using smart plugs, sensors and other IoT devices, we can establish health and activity trends and give timely warnings if something is wrong.”

To do so, Conpago has developed an integrated smart home system that connects to a central platform. In addition to tracking activity and health, the Conpago platform also offers access to a range of health and activity services, such as virtual doctor’s appointments, exercise videos and medication reminders, as well as social services. Conpago is a recent graduate of RCL Accelerator in cooperation with muru-D, one of Australia’s top accelerator programmes.

“Human connection is indispensable in leading a happy and healthy life. This is why we use technology to combat social isolation among seniors. With an easy-to-use tablet, we help seniors to stay in touch with their family and friends through chat and video calls. The tablet also provides a platform for the local community to connect, whether physically or virtually, and ensures that no one is left alone,” Galadari said.

Conpago has been working together with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) to create these solutions backed by research and has found valuable partnerships in aged care providers, local governments and multi-national tech giants.

“With so much evidence showing the impact, we are passionate about empowering seniors to digitally engage with their family and community in ways that the rest for us take for granted,” said Conpago chief executive officer Marley Brown.

By making the technologies easy to use and integrating with smart home systems, the startup aims to seamlessly connect and empower seniors. “Conpago integrates with appliances that form part of an elderly person’s routine. The user doesn’t need to do anything but go about their day, while Conpago ensures that if something is amiss, a warning will be sent immediately,” said chief technology officer Mackenzie Jackson.

According to Galadari, smart home systems are the future of Dubai’s senior living solutions and are essential to reach the goals set in the National Policy for Senior Emiratis. “Leveraging technology is key in achieving high-quality care and senior living. By modernising the homes of today, the UAE can be a future leader in senior living.”

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