Ambient intelligence technologies are a means to support ageing-in-place by monitoring clients in the home. In this study, monitoring is applied for the purpose of raising an alarm in an emergency situation, and thereby, providing an increased sense of safety and security. Apart from these technological solutions, there are numerous environmental interventions in the home environment that can support people to age-in-place. The aim of this study was to investigate the needs and motives, related to ageing-in-place, of the respondents receiving ambient intelligence technologies, and to investigate whether, and how, these technologies contributed to aspects of ageing-in-place.
This paper presents the results of a qualitative study comprised of interviews and observations of technology and environmental interventions in the home environment among 18 community-dwelling older adults with a complex demand for care. These respondents had a prototype of the Unattended Autonomous Surveillance system, an example of ambient intelligence technology, installed in their homes as a means to age-in-place. The UAS-system offers a large range of functionalities, including mobility monitoring, voice response, fire detection, as well as wandering detection and prevention, which can be installed in different configurations.
The respondents had various motives to use ambient intelligence technologies to support ageing-in-place. The most prominent reason was to improve the sense of safety and security, in particular, in case of fall incidents, when people were afraid not to be able to use their existing emergency response systems. The ambient intelligence technologies were initially seen as a welcome addition to strategies already adopted by the respondents, including a variety of home modifications and assistive devices. The systems tested increased the sense of safety and security and helped to postpone institutionalisation. Respondents came up with a set of specifications in terms of the operation and the design of the technology. False alarms were also regarded as a sign that the ambient intelligence technology is functioning. Moreover, a good integration of the new technologies in the provision of health care is indispensable, and installation should be done in an acceptable and unobtrusive manner.
Conclusions and implications
Ambient intelligence technologies can contribute to an increased safety and security at home. The technologies alone offer no all encompassing solution as home care and additional environmental interventions are still needed to support ageing-in-place. Results of the study are used to further improve the ambient intelligence technologies and their implementation.
van Hoof J, Kort HSM, Rutten PGS, Duijnstee MSH. Ageing-in-place with the use of ambient intelligence technology: Perspectives of older users. Int J Med Inform [Internet]. 2011 Mar 24;In Press, Corrected Proof. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6T7S-52FV1XJ-2/2/9766b9e1db14cfcc886bb8613656921b