Online platform supports elderly people to live independently longer

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Stichting Zo-Dichtbij

Zo-Dichtbij is part of the similar named foundation with an ANBI status and aims to help elderly people live independently for as long and as comfortably as possible. To realize this, an online platform is being developed, in which the connection is made between government and citizen, both virtual (online) and physical (offline), to support the process of living at home, where the citizen together with any volunteers and caregivers is central.


West IT Solutions is one of the technology partners involved in the development of this digital guide. Wally Keijzer, initiator of Zo-Dichtbij, got the idea for this platform during her doctorate at TU Delft.

She realized that there is often something wrong with the living situation of elderly. Varying from physical stumbling blocks and dangerous situations around certain (cooking) household goods, to loneliness. The need for home modifications is therefore growing each day: from mechanical adjustments to sensor technology and home automation.

With this in mind, Wally has researched the phenomenon of "smart living" at TU Delft (Technology, Policy and Management). How relevant her search was became clear when the entire financing of health care was turned up in 2015. The result was that non-earmarked money for the care and welfare of central government was transferred to municipalities and at the same time dozens of old people's homes were closed. The direct effect of these austerity measures is that the elderly are only eligible to go to a nursing home if they are already very independent, and it is no longer justified that they continue to live at home.

Municipalities have a duty to help elderly to live independently for as long as possible, but are worried about how to facilitate this care transition. The problem has led to the basis of her research proposal: How can you facilitate parties such as municipalities to allow people to live at home safely and comfortably for longer and at the same time help them not to become overwhelmed?

What did we do?

Wally’s promotion process took her 3.5 years to complete, including a Proof of Concept (PoC) to test the findings directly in practice. A great deal of thorough research has been carried out in this process and Zo-Dichtbij has received support from different elderly and caregivers as an integral part of the PoC at an early stage.

The social innovation is now being marketed. All lab partners have stayed on board to help Wally as a social entrepreneur and Stichting Zo-Dichtbij based on corporate social responsibility to realize the platform. For example, IBM is the supplier of technology with the Bluemix platform, on which West IT Solutions will build the platform. There are other companies such as ICTU (reference architecture), UL (transactions), Vodafone Ziggo (communication), Talenter (partner in the social domain), MedRecord (medical technology), Burst (design) and Ehealthcompany (process), but also KPMG assists Zo-Dichtbij, each with their own expertise.

West IT Solutions is one of the technology partners of Zo-Dichtbij. Within the project we contribute ideas to the technical possibilities and advise on the attainability and risks of technical choices. West is largely responsible for the construction of the platform, in collaboration with other technology partners.




At the end, the platform must become a digital guide in which care providers, municipalities, informal carers and all those involved with the elderly are supported in the areas of housing, care and welfare.

A digitally skilled senior citizen could use the guide himself, but in most cases the elderly need extra help with this from the caregiver or a professional caregiver.

The intention is that the platform makes it easier for people to find what is being offered in their neighbourhood. Even when it comes to local activities that can be reached at a small distance. The use technique allows the platform to analyze the search and think about what the ultimate need may be.

The platform eventually becomes an extensive search engine for Housing, Care and Welfare and is intended to support the caregiver. Various care homes have already been selected for the test phase of Zo-Dichtbij: Aafje, Argos, Lelie Zorggroep and Humanitas from Rotterdam, but also Pieter van Foreest, who is particularly focused on the Delft, Westland and Oostland region. In addition, Zo-Dichtbij is on the e-Health agenda of Rotterdam as one of the spearheads for the city.

After the test phase, the digital guide will first of all, be made available to the residents of Rotterdam, but will also serve as a reference for the WMO counter (question guide). It can also work for individual care homes in the long term. If these parties are of the opinion that they can provide better care to their clients by means of the digital signpost of Zo-Dichtbij and at the same time relieve the caregivers, Zo-Dichtbij is able to set up an environment for them with the functionalities they want.