TAGS - Textiles for an Ageing Society

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TAGS - Textiles for an Ageing Society

Dornbirn, Austria
Project Stage:
Growth
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

TAGS is an EU FP7 initiative to improve textiles for elderly by cooperative work of elderly, caregivers, technicians and researchers.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

There exist a number of challenges imposing on society by increasing percentage of ageing people. Numerous activities funded by EC have sought to ensure that the elderly remain a healthy, valued and productive part of society but, promoting the quality of life for the elderly is still a challenge. Senior citizens have specific needs for clothing, assistive fabrics and other textile products fundamental to personal, hygiene and medical products that are an essential part of their daily life. The need for adaptation of textile products increases with increasing care required by the elderly. Ageing people enjoying a healthy life have different needs in comparison with the elderly suffering from illnesses and disabilities. Innovation in these areas has the potential to benefit millions of elderly lives, from both groups across Europe, by significantly facilitating and enhancing quality of lives, improving the effectiveness of medical and social care services for chronically ill elderly, speed up recovery after medical treatment, and providing products with new properties. Generally “TAGS” addresses demands on textiles, encompassing the elderly of all kinds, with the focus on specific needs of the elderly with regard to the textiles. The aim of the “TAGS” consortium is to bring together the elderly, social and medical care institutions, research institutions, technology transfer institutions and manufacturers to identify: specific requirements of the elderly and care institutions; latest developments in materials science and technology that will help meet these requirements; and strategies to incorporate developments in the manufacturing chain. The goal is to improve or innovate products and/or processes to meet the specific clothing and textile needs of a growing sector of the European population. “TAGS” has following objectives: •To identify new materials, production techniques, and technologies, based on demands and requirements formulated by end-users and industry that can improve the performance of textile products for the elderly. •To assess the scope, boundary conditions for innovation, and identify barriers preventing progress. •To set up systems for active discussion and dissemination of information between partners, and provide public with access to general information. •To generate new joint and collaborative concepts, initiate research actions

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The aim of the “TAGS” consortium is to bring together the elderly, social and medical care institutions, research institutions, technology transfer institutions and manufacturers to identify: specific requirements of the elderly and care institutions; latest developments in materials science and technology; and strategies to incorporate developments in the manufacturing chain. The main objectives of “TAGS” are as follow: -To identify new materials, production techniques, and technologies based on demands and requirements formulated by end-users and industry that can improve the performance of healthcare textile products for the elderly. -To assess the scope, boundary conditions for innovation and identify barriers preventing progress. -To set up systems for active discussion and dissemination of information between partners, provide public with access to general information. -To generate new joint and collaborative concepts, joint research activities. -Identify standards, specifications for products and formulate recommendations for policy makers. The action of TAGS, consisting of end-users, members of textile manufacturing and innovation community, and scientific partners from different research areas of textiles (textile chemistry and physics, material and fiber processing and nonwoven materials), from various European countries, will support the transfer of knowledge and innovation in the field of new textile products in four main areas of interest: -Bedding Textiles -Clothing -Textile Products for Hygiene and Personal Care, and -Therapeutic and Recreational/Leisure Textiles. Elderly are represented by social and medical care institutions which are directly connected to them, and also can access TAGS through the web-page. Technical content/scope: -New alliances are needed to mobilise and bring together all the right actors and to broker collaboration between material research and industrial entrepreneurs. -To stimulate the creation of a dynamic system that exploits the untapped potential of new ideas/materials to create new concepts and solutions -Bring together researchers with the other actors in the determination of the added value, constituting teams of innovators, to close the loop from the laboratories to a product, or a novel industrial process - Actors competent in other aspects will accelerate success (e.g. environmental)
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

In the first phase of the project requirements and demands with regard to textiles in bedding were analysed. In discussion with care homes, material experts, researchers by execution of brainstorming meetings and discussion rounds, and visits the current situation with regard to the use of bedding textiles was analysed. As a result a report is in preparation which will highlight cost effective improvements which will lead to a better qualty of life of elderly. Examples: The change of bedding design in care homes to less "hospital character" more towards more "feeling at home" e.g. by introduction of colour, new design will contribute to improve mental situation. The importance of bed climate was clearly identified and a research project for development of washable liquid sensors for early detection of wettness in bed e.g. through incontinence has been initated.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The market of textiles for elderly and their specific demands has not been reached by appropriate products up to now. Many products are derivatives of textiles for a younger generation. The specific demands of elderly with regard to textiles are complex and manifold. The wide range of individual demands makes marketing difficult and requires specific new concepts to reach the persons. It is extremely important to be aware of invisible barriers which makes companies hesitant to enter in the field with own brands: Marketing often uses terms like young, dynamic, powerful - The market of elderly is different - NEW POSITVE ATTRIBUTES have to be identified e.g. wisdom, patience, experienced. Such an activity cannot be driven from one actor alone, but requires joint understanding and respect for the situation. - This approach makes TAGS so competitive.
About You
Visit website
About You
First Name

Thomas

Last Name

Bechtold

Implementer(s) and cooperation partners
Name

Coordination and Support Action in the 7th European Framework Programm - TAGS Textiles for an Ageing Society

Type

Network

Country where main implementer is located

, Dornbirn

How long has the main implementer been operating?

1‐5 years

Please provide a short description of the main implementer.

The Research Institute of Textile Chemistry and Textile Physics of the University Innsbruck is the coordinating institution of the EU funded project TAGS GA 290494.
As a research institution in the field of academic textile research the institute takes the responsibility to bring together actors from care-giving, elderly, industry and research to innovate the field of textiles for elderly.
The institute contributes with expertise in textile processing, materials and research for new products.

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Cooperation partner
Name

NIRI | The Nonwovens Innovation & Research Institute (UK)

Type

Private company

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? What competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Niri is a specialist for new concepts in nonwovens which are of high relevance for hygiene and personal care applications. This partner brings in technical expertise and product know-how

Cooperation partner
Name

CONNEXIA | Verein zur Förderung der Gesundheit und Pflege (AT)

Type

Non-profit/NGO

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Connexia brings in expertise in care for elderly and thus provides information about demands and needs for textiles for elderly

Cooperation partner
Name

ANZIANI E NON SOLO (IT)

Type

Non-profit/NGO

Website

ANZIANI E NON SOLO (IT)

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

This partner brings in long lasting experience in care giving for elderly, provides access to groups of elderly in special conditions and contributes with definition of demands and chances for new products

Cooperation partner
Name

TEXTILVEREIN | Registered association of textile SMEs

Type

Non-profit/NGO

Website

-

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Textilverein is an association of textile companies in Vorarlberg, a region in Austria which has high density in textile enterprises. This partner provides access to the private sector, which is required to understand the limits and possibilities of industry.

Problem and solution
Which of these fields of Active and Healthy Ageing are addressed by your initiative?

Personalized health management, Integrated care for chronic conditions, Assisted daily living, Independent living solutions, Age friendly buildings, environments, and communities.

If none of the above, answer here:
Please describe if and how your stakeholders (cooperation partners, funders, users, etc.) have been participating in defining the problem and developing the solution.

The network consortium analyses current situation of textiles for elderly in form of regular meetings. Through common understanding of needs and opportunities products can be designed more appropriate and also "barriers" which prevent wider use of products can be identified. Through the complementary expertise the analysis of the products and demands is very competent. This also includes elderly with specific conditions e.g. Parkinson, stroke.

Has your solution been tested in trials, experimentations, or pilot projects? If yes, please describe the process and outcome.

A direct outcome of the network activities is the initiation of new trials, research programms, but also information / training activities for care givers.
A project initiative has been started (Austrian Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft FFG) which start the development of liquid sensors in bedding to improve care work and quality of life of elderly. The project has been granted and will start in August 2013. Partners in the project are: Bedding producer, technical embroidery enterprises, care-home, electronic sensor company, commercial laundry enterprise.
Another initiative will focus on the improvement of emotional situation of elderly in care homes through more "personal" desing of bedding (colour, design, handle..). The project will be started in September 2013.

How long has your solution been in operation?

for 1‐5 years

Please select the relationship between your solution and related solutions currently established in our society. Is your solution…

substitutive (your solutions is substituting existing solutions because they do not meet needs or solve the problem appropriately)

What barriers might hinder the success of your initiative? How do you plan to overcome them?

The major barrier which we fear could be a financial one.
After identification of improved product concepts for textiles for elderly (which also have to be affordable) the financial risk to bring such products on the market to make the available for elderly could be the major difficulty to manage.
It will be one of the big challenges to convince private enterprises to invest in this new field of products, as marketing and product placement could be completely different to existing concepts.

Organization and funding
Regularly paid employees

5

Volunteers

-

Trainees

-

External advisers and experts

10

Others (please specify)

-

What are the specific professional backgrounds and competencies your team brings to the initiative?

the members of the consortium bring in:
textile material and research expertise, expertise in care giving, hygiene and healt aspects, production of textiles and garment

Please describe your management or coordination structure in the initiative.

Activity is organized in Work Packages (WPs):
Information collected in WP 1 and a common understanding between partners through interaction in WP 2, will serve as a ground for brainstorming sessions in WP 3. Initially work performed in WP 1 will be concentrated around one of four main product groups: bedding; clothing; hygiene and personal care; therapy and recreation. Understanding of competencies of each institution, in WP 4, will lead to identification of areas of mutual interest for research. WP 5 will ensure communication, and WP6 dissemination.
http://www.textilesforageingsociety.eu/

Please provide the total yearly budget in Euro that your initiative spends on implementing the solution.

350,000.-

National public funding

%15

European Union public funding

%85

Economic return from own products/services

%-

Foundations and philanthropy capital

%-

Single donations from private individuals

%-

Donations from private companies

%-

Crowdfunding platforms

%-

Participation fees

%-

Other (please specify)

%-

Target group, scale and impact
Which target group(s) do you want to reach with your solution?

The main target group are elderly (in EU people with an age above approx. 65 y) as users of improved textiles.
The outcome of the project also is intended to be reach producers, care-givers and decision makers to increase awareness about specific needs and appropriate textile products. Researchers will be directed towards existing needs.

Please estimate the number of persons within your target group (users, clients, etc.) that you currently reach directly with your solution.

this is really difficult at the moment, our questionaires represent approximately several hundreds of elderly in Europe

In which local/regional/national area(s) is the solution currently implemented?

Austria (Vorarlberg), Italy (Carpi region)

What is the impact on your target group (users, clients) you want to generate?

Better quality of life for elderly (mobility, independence and emotional situation) and improvement of working conditions of care givers.
Producers will be able to fit new products better to the real demands, and decision makers will be aware of the linkage between appropriate products and quality of life of elderly

What is the wider impact on society you want to generate?

From what we saw up to now there is a need for redefinition of the status of elderly. The quality of the age above 65 has to be redefined and new positive attributes have to be brought in, which also have to be expressed through specific textiles and clothing. These products have to deal with positive and unique attributes: wisdom, experience, even-tempered, emotionally strong, history and experienced of life.
We hope our project will help to visualise this challenge more clearly.

What are the impacts on your target group you already achieved?

The first major impact is the generation of initiatives in the field of new/improved bedding textiles. This will demonstrate the potential of such approaches and we expect these activities to become examples for well targeted developments for elderly.

How has the impact of your initiative been assessed?

Experience-based self-assessment (you assessed the impacts based on your experiences with the target group), Feedback-based self-assessment (you assessed the impacts based on feedback from the target group without using specific methods).

Public information and strategy
What information on your initiative is publicly available?

Mission and strategy, Organisational structure, Information on team members, Activity report.

Please indicate webpage or contact for obtaining the respective information.
What are your milestones for further developing, implementing, and establishing your initiative in the next three years? Please describe 1-3 milestones.

1. Extension of the work from bedding to clothing, textile products for hygiene and personal care; and therapeutic and recreation textiles.
2. Dissemination through conferences, the homepage and publications
3. Extensive reports summarising the situation of the respective group of textile products as basis for new developments
4. Initiation of research and develoment activities for well targeted products