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Book

New design for old: function, style and older people

Author:
MIDWINTER Eric
Publisher:
Centre for Policy on Ageing
Publication year:
1988
Pagination:
65p., tables., illus, bibliog.
Place of publication:
London

Results from a workshop discussing a hypothetical day in the life of an older person, and the aids and design that could improve their life.

Book Full text available online for free

SCIE research briefing 28: assistive technology and older people

Authors:
SOCIAL CARE INSTITUTE FOR EXCELLENCE, BEECH Roger, ROBERTS Diane
Publisher:
Social Care Institute for Excellence
Publication year:
2008
Pagination:
11p.
Place of publication:
London

The term ‘assistive technology’ incorporates a wide variety of devices. Assistive technology can be supportive, preventive or responsive. The increasing proportion of older people in the population makes the use of assistive technology an attractive option in social services. Perceptions vary as to whether or not assistive technology has sufficient benefits. Existing research supports the greater use of assistive technology but further evaluation and ‘local learning’ is needed. The views and needs of people using assistive technology need to be taken into account.

Journal article

Assistive technologies in reducing caregiver burden among informal caregivers of older adults: a systematic review

Author:
MARASINGHE Keshini Madara
Journal article citation:
Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 11(5), 2016, pp.353-360.
Publisher:
Informa Healthcare
Place of publication:
London

Aim: The world population is rapidly ageing. As population age, the incidence of functional limitations increases, demanding higher levels of care from caregivers. Assistive technologies improve individuals’ functioning, independence, well-being and quality of life. By increasing independence of older adults, assistive technologies decrease workloads required from informal caregivers. This review investigates, evaluates, and synthesises existing findings to examine whether and how assistive technologies reduce caregiver burden. Methods: Databases searched included MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, and Cochrane Library. Three groups of keywords were combined: those relating to assistive technology, caregiver burden, and older adults. Results: Two theories emerged from the analysis of study results. Caregivers reported that assistive technologies decrease caregiver burden. However, caregivers had concerns that assistive technologies could add to caregiver burden, highlighting the limitations of assistive technology. Conclusions: As suggested by a majority of the studies in this review, assistive technologies contribute to reducing caregiver burden among caregivers of older adults. Assistive technologies assisted caregivers by reducing time, levels of assistance and energy put towards caregiving, anxiety and fear, task difficulty, safety risk particularly for activities requiring physical assistance and increasing the independence of the users. Further research is required to better understand limitations of assistive technologies. (Publisher abstract)

Journal article Full text available online for free

Care robots for the supermarket shelf: a product gap in assistive technologies

Author:
BLACKMAN Tim
Journal article citation:
Ageing and Society, 33(5), 2013, pp.763-781.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press

The literature on the development of assistive robots is dominated by technological papers with little consideration of how such devices might be commercialised for a mass market at a price that is affordable for older people and their families as well as public services and care insurers. This article argues that the focus of technical development in this field is too ambitious, neglecting the potential market for an affordable device that is aleady in the realm of the ‘adjacent possible’ given current technology capabilities. It also questions on both ethical and marketing grounds the current effort to develop assistive robots with pet-like or human-like features. The marketing literature on ‘really new products’ has so far not appeared to inform the development of assistive robots but has some important lessons. These include using analogies with existing products and giving particular attention to the role of early adopters. Relevant analogies for care robots are not animals or humans but useful domestic appliances and personal technologies with attractive designs, engaging functionality and intuitive usability. This points to a strategy for enabling mass adoption – which has so far eluded even conventional telecare – of emphasising how such an appliance is part of older people's contemporary lifestyles rather than a sign of age-related decline and loss of independence. (Publisher abstract)

Journal article

Older people’s views on what they need to successfully adjust to life with a hearing aid

Author:
KELLY Timothy B.
Journal article citation:
Health and Social Care in the Community, 21(3), 2013, pp.293-302.
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell

This article reports a study exploring what older people believe would enable them to adjust to and gain maximum benefit from wearing a hearing aid. A mixed methods approach was employed during 2006 involving interviews with key stakeholders, a survey across three Scottish health board areas and focus groups. Nine key stakeholders from six national and local organisations were interviewed about the needs of older people being fitted with hearing aids. In total, 240 older people belonging to three different types of hearing impaired older people were surveyed: long-term users of hearing aids, new hearing aid users, and those on a waiting list from urban and rural areas (response rate = 24%). A series of eight follow-up focus groups with 31 audiology patients was held. Health professionals appeared to neglect appropriate provision of information and overly rely on technological interventions. Of 154 older people already fitted with hearing aids, only 52% of hearing aid users reported receiving enough practical help post fitting and only 41% reported receiving enough support. Approximately 40% reported not feeling confident in the use of their aids or their controls. Older people wanted more information than they received both before and after hearing aid fitting. Information provision and attention to the psychosocial aspects of care are key to enabling older people to adjust and optimise hearing aid benefit. (Publisher abstract)

Journal article

Reminders that make sense: designing multisensory notifications for the home

Author:
MCGEE-LENNON Marilyn R.
Journal article citation:
Journal of Assistive Technologies, 6(2), 2012, pp.93-104.
Publisher:
Emerald

It is likely that technology will play a significant role in supporting people in their homes as they get older.  The purpose of this paper is to present a synthesised overview of a project which is developing multimodal configurable reminder systems for the home. The aim of the MultiMemoHome Project is to understand more fully the different multimodal solutions available and to understand how effective and appropriate these methods are with real users in the home context. The paper presents an overview of multimodal interaction techniques and how they can be used to deliver messages to the user in a way that is more appropriate to the user's needs, the devices available, and the physical and social environment that the person is in when they receive a message. The paper argues that electronic reminders or notifications delivered in the home (such as appointments or when to take medication to your phone, computer or TV) should be available in multiple sensory modalities (visual, auditory, tactile and olfactory) in order to increase their usability and acceptability and make them accessible to a wider range of users. A set of guidelines and lessons learned on how to design usable and acceptable multimodal reminder systems for the home are presented.

Book Full text available online for free

Research and development work relating to assistive technology 2011-12: presented to Parliament pursuant to section 22 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970

Author:
GREAT BRITAIN. Department of Health
Publisher:
Great Britain. Department of Health
Publication year:
2012
Pagination:
138p.
Place of publication:
London

Section 22 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 requires a report to be laid before Parliament each year describing the research activity the government has funded to improve equipment for disabled and older people. This annual report describes the wide range of government funded projects supporting the development, introduction and evaluation of assistive technology that might increase the range of activities and independence or well-being of disabled and older people. The report aims to reflect research and development activity in relation to a wide range of impairments and health conditions and also to reflect the range of government funding programmes across health, social care, education, housing and employment. All the research into assistive technology included in the report is being funded by the UK government or by the European Union with participation from a UK organisation. During the period April 2011-March 2012, the Foundation for Assistive Technology (FAST) recorded 228 projects carrying out research and development activity in assistive technology, of which 82 concluded during the year. A complete listing of assistive technology research and development activity is included as an annex.

Journal article

To feel safe in everyday life at home: a study of older adults after home modifications

Authors:
PETERSSON Ingela, LILJA Margareta, BORELL Lena
Journal article citation:
Ageing and Society, 32(5), July 2012, pp.791-811.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press

This qualitative study investigated contributory factors of safety in everyday life for eight older adults who received modification services. Three main categories emerged from interviews: prerequisites that enable a feeling of safety; strategies that enable safety in everyday life; and use of and reliance on technology impacts on safety. The results suggested that to feel safe in everyday life was based on three prerequisites: feeling healthy; having someone to rely on; and feeling at home. These prerequisites further impacted on the participants' strategies for handling problems in everyday life but also on the ability to use and benefit from technology such as home modifications. Interventions increase safety for older adults should primarily be focused on the presence and fulfilment of prerequisites and later on other interventions such as technology. Technology such as home modifications and assistive devices was not found in this study to facilitate the feeling of safety unless supported by the fulfilled prerequisites.

Book

A guide for assisted living: towards lifehome 21

Authors:
BRE, 3DREID RESEARCH, ROYAL INSTITUTE OF BRITISH ARCHITECTS
Publisher:
Royal Institute of British Architects
Publication year:
2011
Pagination:
96p.
Place of publication:
London

As life expectancy increases, traditional arrangements for supporting those with long-term health issues are becoming unsustainable. The assisted living agenda is part of the solution. It is about helping people with chronic health conditions to live active, independent and dignified lives and stimulating new thinking based on contemporary and emerging technologies. Funded by the Technology Strategy Board under the ALIP1 project, this illustrated design guide about assisted living considers the built environment along with the integration of digital infrastructure in homes. It looks in turn at housing standards, ergonomic data, access issues, space standards (including a case study for adapting a typical terraced house), an overview of digital connectivity, and guidance on digital assisted living technologies. The guide is aimed at all those who have to take decisions on the appropriate design, specification, construction and adaptation of ‘assisted living enabled’ buildings, including architects, developers, designers, builders, health care workers, and designers of health care equipment.

Journal article

Formal modeling techniques for ambient assisted living

Authors:
PARENTE Guido, et al
Journal article citation:
Ageing International, 36(2), June 2011, pp.192-216.
Publisher:
Springer
Place of publication:
New York

In the development of systems of ambient assisted living (AAL), formalized models and analysis techniques can provide a ground that makes development amenable to a systematic approach. The following formal modeling tools and techniques are reviewed in relation to AAL: fault trees, evidential reasoning, evidential ontology networks, temporal logic, hidden Markov models and partially observable Markov models. A number of scenarios are then presented to provide insight on how each technique can match the needs of different types of problem in the application domain.

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