Active assisted living – What does it mean?

AAL – active assisted living – is a term commonly used to describe the wide range of technology that can help people live safely and independently at home.

New Zealand is a Participating (P) member of the IEC Systems Committee for Active Assisted Living. Standards New Zealand is now looking to expand the stakeholder membership of this committee and would invite interested parties to contact Steve Lowes, Senior Advisor International Relationships on either or DDI (04) 896 513.

The six main areas of AAL are:

  1. safety: for instance, detection of smoke, fire, flood; enables cooker deactivation and control of doors, lights, windows, sockets; detects inactivity and burglary
  2. medical IT services: for instance, diabetes monitoring, heart monitoring, telehealth, remote consultations between doctor and patient
  3. fitness, well-being, self-management: for instance, activity trackers, smart watches, fitness apps, support of training, calorie consumption, sleep analysing tools
  4. social care, social interaction: for instance, online video communication, bridging distances, preventing loneliness and isolation, active participation in society
  5. leisure, convenience, being economical: for instance, outdoor activity support, home automation, smart metering, energy saving, climate control, air quality
  6. remote surveillance, assistance, control: for instance, smart home interaction, robotics, reminder functions.

The major benefit of AAL provision for the vulnerable end user is the reduction of:

  • fear – of falls, of adverse events, of dying and no one knowing
  • frustration – the loss of ability to do ordinary tasks
  • forgetfulness – medication, appointments, cooking, location
  • social isolation.

For end users who are well, the benefits are increases in:

  • convenience
  • time saving
  • self-reliance
  • enjoyment of life.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has established a Systems Committee for Active Assisted Living (SyC AAL) to address concepts, products, services, and systems, combining technologies and social environment with the aim of improving the quality of people’s (AAL users) lives.

The AAL user is any person (of any age) who uses or benefits from AAL products, services, and systems. The multiplicity of AAL technologies that the industry is developing, the large number of standards on the market today, and the currently fragmented standardisation landscape are challenges for the IEC in developing international and interoperable standards from which the AAL user can benefit. Therefore, the IEC has created SyC AAL, which is tasked with developing systems standards taking into account products, services and systems, safety, security, and privacy.

Published in international.