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Smart Home Strategies for User-Centered Functional Assessment of Older Adults

Vijay Kumar Ravishankar, Winslow Burleson, Diane Mahoney

Abstract


Successful aging, independence and capacity for aging in place involves the maintenance and preservation of individuals’ physical, mental and social well-being. Elderly people need to maintain the capacity to perform both activities of daily living (ADL) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADL). Advances in Smart Home technologies are increasingly able to provide embedded assessments of an individual’s functional ability in his/her home on a moment-to-moment, daily, and longitudinal basis. To date, in-situ functional assessment systems and research have focused to a greater extent on the advancement of technologies rather than the multi-faceted needs and experiences of users, however the success of any technology depends more on the users than the technology itself. This paper presents strategies for user-centric approaches to identify the technical and design challenges of developing, deploying, and using functional assessment systems in homes occupied by senior citizens. Case studies involved 4 healthy older adults (aged 65+), and examined the home deployment of smart home systems and interfaces aimed at assessment of a combination of ADL and IADL activities. Pre- and post-activity interviews were used to better understand issues related to desire, privacy, technological acceptance, suitability, and need fulfillment/support. The results inform strategies for user-centered functional assessment and assistive technology design and implementation, providing information capture, analysis, and delivery of in-home functional assessment that has the potential to support aging in place.

Keywords


Assistive Technology; Functional Assessment; Context Aware Computing; Smart Home; Design

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