Improvements in medical care and public health have significantly increased life expectancy. Health trends among the elderly , combined with lower birth rates, means that an increasingly large percentage of the population will be over the age of sixty. These longer life expectancies, coupled with falling birth rates, increases the percentage of older retired people who will be dependent on younger working people. Forecasts suggest that the ratio of people over 65 who will be dependent on a younger working population is likely to double across Europe by 2050, creating what has often been described as a “demographic time bomb”

Previous Ageing Society initiatives based around the use of Information Communications Technologies (ICT), although focused on the notion of “independent living”, have largely been focused on either increasing the productivity of care workers or reducing the cost of or need for care, rather than taking a holistic approach around “well-being” and leveraging the potential of older people to continue contributing to society rather than being regarded as a cost.

An important European project, DOREMI,  designed to address one of the most significant societal challenges of the coming years, the Ageing Society, began on November 1st.  DOREMI is the acronym for “Decrease of cOgnitive decline, malnutRition and sedEntariness by elderly empowerment in lifestyle Management and social Inclusion.

The DOREMI project is an innovative initiative funded by the European Union under the Framework 7 (FP7) strategy and involves partners in five EU countries, Italy, UK, Austria, Belgium and Spain. It takes an innovative synergistic approach, which combines healthy nutrition, physical activity, cognitive stimuli and social interaction. The performances on active ageing lifestyle compliance, appropriately stimulated in creative and personalized ways through a set of serious games, will be unobtrusively monitored according to the usual daily life activities carried out by the elderly indoor at home or outdoor when on the move. Moreover, the intrinsic dynamic nature of the virtual gamified context offered by DOREMI will promote the active participation of the user to carry out real life actions as a result of appropriate stimuli or training made by the game. The same Game’s scenarios will act also as user friendly and appealing dashboard including personalized and game-like scoring systems according to the progress made in the daily monitored activities. The performances on real life social interaction will be monitored and assessed as a result of social game stimulation, networking and interpersonal communication scenarios where all the performances on the lifestyle compliance will be included in the serious game motivational context in order to further motivate the elder in performing additional activities. This is very appropriate in today’s environment where there is a tendency towards a more sedentary lifestyle and a shift away from traditional family structures in which elderly people lived with their family members but now tend to be placed in centres for independent living and care homes.

The DOREMI project, coordinated by the Institute of Clinical Physiology of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), will involve a collaborative partnership of experts from different disciplines exploring the potential of various activities designed to motivate and empower pilot groups of older people within independent living homes in Italy and the UK.

The DOREMI ‘s partnership  includes  the Institute of Information Science and Technologies (ISTI CNR), the Department of Computer Science of University of Pisa, serious games experts imaginary, TSB Real Time Location Systems, Austrian Institute of Technology, Fundació per la Universitat  Oberta de Catalunya, De Montfort University and Age Platform Europe. The project solutions will be trialled by the ExtraCare Charitable Trust and the Accord Housing Association in the UK and SI4LIFE in Italy.