skip to main content

Title: Taking Stock of the Present and Future of Smart Technologies for Older Adults and Caregivers
Technology has the opportunity to assist older adults as they age in place, coordinate caregiving resources, and meet unmet needs through access to resources. Currently, older adults use consumer technologies to support everyday life, however these technologies are not always accessible or as useful as they can be. Indeed, industry has attempted to create smart home technologies (e.g., Microsoft HomeOS, Intel CareNet) with older adults as a target user group, however these solutions are oftenmore focused on the technical aspects and are short lived. In this paper, we advocate for older adults being involved in the design process - from initial ideation to product development to deployment. We encourage federally funded researchers and industry to create compensated, diverse older adult advisory boards to address stereotypes about aging while ensuring their needs are considered. We envision artificial intelligence (AI) systems that augment resources instead of replacing them - especially in under-resourced communities. Older adults rely on their caregiver networks and community organizations for social, emotional, and physical support; thus, AI should be used to coordinate resources better and lower the burden of connecting with these resources. Although sociotechnical smart systems can help identify needs of older adults, the lack of affordable research infrastructure and translation of findings into consumer technology perpetuates inequities in designing for diverse older adults. In addition, there is a disconnect between the creation of smart sensing systems and creating understandable, actionable data for older adults and caregivers to utilize. We ultimately advocate for a well-coordinated research effort across the United States that connects older adults, caregivers, community organizations, and researchers together to catalyze innovative and practical research for all stakeholders.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
A Computing Community Consortium (CCC) Quadrennial Paper
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Researchers have designed technologies for and with older adults to help them age in place, but there is an opportunity to support older adults in creating customized smart devices for themselves through electronic toolkits. We developed a plan for iterating on Craftec - one of the first electronic toolkits designed for older adults - informed by the results of a participatory design workshop and user evaluation. We focused on supporting older adults to create exemplar artifacts, such as medication adherence systems. We contribute the exemplars and the current plan for components of the Craftec system as a way to support older adults to design technology for themselves. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Over 13 million Americans aged 65 and older are currently living with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a common precursor to dementia. These individuals largely rely on a network of informal caregivers—family, friends, and community members—who work together with professional healthcare and social service providers to provide care and support in home settings. The AI‐CARING Institute contributes foundational AI research focused on developing personalized collaborative AI systems that improve the quality of life and independence of aging adults living at home.

    more » « less
  3. Background As the older adult population increases there is a great need of developing smart healthcare technologies to assist older adults. Robot-based homecare systems are a promising solution to achieving this goal. This study aims to summarize the recent research in homecare robots, understand user needs and identify the future research directions. Methods First, we present an overview of the state-of-the-art in homecare robots, including the design and functions of our previously developed ASCC Companion Robot (ASCCBot). Second, we conducted a user study to understand the stakeholders’ opinions and needs regarding homecare robots. Finally, we proposed the future research directions in this research area in response to the existing problems. Results Our user study shows that most of the interviewees emphasized the importance of medication reminder and fall detection functions. The stakeholders also emphasized the functions to enhance the connection between older adults and their families and friends, as well as the functions to improve the efficiency and productivity of the caregivers. We also identified three major future directions in this research area: human-machine interface, learning and adaptation, and privacy protection. Conclusions The user study discovered some new useful functions that the stakeholders want to have and also validated the developed functions of the ASCCBot. The three major future directions in the homecare robot research area were identified.

    more » « less
  4. Research on smart home monitoring for older adults has predominantly focused on systems whose data and alerts are directed towards family members, caregivers, or healthcare providers. Older adults have expressed interest in engaging with these systems by seeing and using their data, but they are often limited to a passive role as subjects of monitoring. This paper presents qualitative results of a longitudinal smart home project with older adults living independently in the community. Based on interviews conducted throughout the 2.5-year study with 12 participants, we report on their lived experiences of having the monitoring system in their homes and on how they reflected on the data collected by the system. The results show how participants were able to extract meaningful information from the monitoring data without finding the system invasive or intrusive. Specifically, older adults exhibited interest in data that they found indicative of living an active lifestyle, such as time spent outside the home. Drawing from critical literature on active aging, we discuss implications for incorporating peer comparisons to support reflection on personal health data without reinforcing a deficit narrative of aging. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Many communities struggle to provide safe, accessible, and reliable transportation services for older adults due to high demand, rising costs, driver shortages, and other evolving challenges. Innovative transportation solutions are needed to support the current and future populations of older adults. Low-speed, shared-use, driverless shuttles present an exciting development in automated vehicle (AV) technology with potential to meet mobility needs of older adults in their community. Understanding older adults’ perceptions about and willingness to consider using these emerging modes of transportation is vital to realizing the full potential of these technologies. This presentation summarizes an in-person study conducted with 12 older (average: 66 +/- 4 years of age, range: 60 to 80 years) and 10 younger (average: 44 +/- 11 years) adults that evaluated a stationary, proof-of-concept shared-use AV retrofitted with accessibility features. We will present findings on perceptions regarding accessibility, safety, and willingness to use driverless AVs along with human factors design recommendations. While questionnaire-based studies have been the dominant approach to understanding older adults’ perceptions about shared-use AVs, in-person evaluations even with prototype AVs as described here, provide opportunities to identify goals, needs and preferences of older adults concerning usability and safety in early design stages, and through hands-on exploration help older adults develop good mental models, i.e., understand AV capabilities and limitations, towards building trust and acceptance for these emerging modes of transportation. Research and policy implications will be discussed towards enabling emerging driverless shared-use AV technologies that support safe and independent community mobility for older adults.

    more » « less