Living in a house full of care technology – how do older people actually experience this? The international research programme i-evAALution answers these and other questions about the daily use of home automation.
Project leader, Sanne van der Weegen of Vilans explains: ‘The participants, with an average age of 77 years old, were divided into two groups for the purpose of the study. One group received a package of technological gadgets installed at home and the other half was the control group and received no aids. The package included a 2PCS-watch with an alarm function, an automation package for sensors at home and a standard tablet. Over a period of one year, we measured the impact the care technology had on people’s quality of life.’
Note: The image accompanying this article is for illustrative purposes only and does not relate to the 2PCS-watch mentioned.
I-evAALution is a major research programme that looks at the possibilities of living independently at home for longer with the help of technology. No fewer than 303 participants in Italy, Austria, Slovenia and the Netherlands tested a wide range of technological aids at home between 2018 and 2021.
One of the findings is that participants in the technology group had a greater feeling of safety and control at the end of the study compared to the control group.
Although during the study participants became less positive about the benefits and ease of use of the bundle, overall acceptance of technical aids did increase. Van der Weegen: ‘Participants cited ‘feeling safer’, ‘getting help quickly when needed’ and ‘increasing one’s independence’ as the most important benefits of care technology. They also pointed out the three most important individual features:
1. Sending an alarm by pressing a portable emergency button.
2. If someone is missing, the exact location can be found.
3. Sending an alarm automatically when someone falls at home.
Differences between countries
Finally, Van der Weegen answers the question of whether there were any differences between participants from the various countries. There were some cultural differences. The people in Slovenia, for example, really liked the tablet. But many of the Dutch participants already had their own tablets and therefore had less use for the one provided.