Needing smart home technologies: the perspectives of older adults in continuing care retirement communities

Karen Courtney, George Demiris, Marilyn Rantz, Marjorie Skubic

Abstract


Background At present, the vast majority of older adults reside in the community. Though many older adults live in their own homes, increasing numbers are choosing continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs),which range from independent apartments to assisted living and skilled-nursing facilities. With predictions of a large increase in the segment of the population aged 65 and older, a subsequent increase in demand on CCRCs can be anticipated. With these expectations, researchers have begun exploring the use of smart home information-based technologies in these care facilities to enhance resident quality of life and safety, but little evaluation research exists on older adults' acceptance and use of these technologies.
Objective This study investigated the factors that influence the willingness of older adults living in independent and assisted living CCRCs to adopt smart home technology.
Subjects and setting Participants (n = 14) were recruited from community-dwelling older adults, aged 65 or older, living in one of two mid-western US CCRC facilities (independent living and assisted living type facilities).
Methods This study used a qualitative, descriptive approach, guided by principles of grounded theory research. Data saturation (or when no new themes or issues emerged from group sessions) occurred after four focus groups (n = 11 unique respondents) and was confirmed through additional individual interviews (n = 3).
Results The findings from this study indicate that although privacy can be a barrier for older adults' adoption of smart home technology their own perception of their need for the technology can override their privacy concerns.
Conclusions Factors influencing self-perception of need for smart home technology, including the influence of primary care providers, are presented. Further exploration of the factors influencing older adults' perceptions of smart home technology need and the development of appropriate interventions is necessary.

Keywords


frail elderly; smart home technology; telemedicine

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14236/jhi.v16i3.694

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