Principal factors influencing acceptability of Smart Home Technology within the home environments of older people
Recent research indicates that many older people desire to remain in their home at this late stage in their life rather than move and lose their home along with the positive connotations it represents (Saunders, 2007). As a result older people express strong emotional attachments to their homes and are firmly committed to remaining in them (Saunders, 2007; McCreadie & Tinker, 2005; and Oswald & Wahl, 2005). The home has been established as a multi-layered entity and has been said to have the following modes; physical, spatial, social, and personal, these are linked with identity, territoriality, security and control (Tanner, Tilse and de Jonge, 2008; Oswald & Wahl, 2005). It is evident that older adults’ feelings on the meaning of home are an important factor on how they interact with the home, what they accept into the home and why they wish to remain in it. Recent literature discusses how the use of Smart Home Technology within the home of older people can be an aid to living independently and ageing in place (Demiris and Hensel 2008). Most arguments against the use of this technology within the home are concerned with the acceptability, ethics and the negative connotations of “substituting ‘warm’ hands with ‘cold’ technology” (Aanesen, Lotherington and Olsen 2011, p.161).
To overcome the lack of research on technology in the home in context, as outlined by Demiris and Hensel (2008), this PhD study develops a body of evidence undertaken in the community context within the homes of older people in Northern Ireland. Involving the end user, in this case the older person living at home is essential if any improvements on the acceptability and usability of technology within the home are expected. This involves discovering the factors which influence the take up of technology within the home environment of older people. This study will look at what the home means to older adults and factors influencing their acceptability of Smart Home technology through a mixed methodology data collection of interviews, comparative case study and questionnaires involving older people currently living with and without technology, and data will be collected in context to heighten the understanding of variables investigated.
Supervisors: Dr. Mohamed Gamal Abdelmonem, Professor Cathy Craig