Implementing ambient assisting technologies in elder-care: Results of a pilot study
Synesis: A Journal of Science, Technology, Ethics, and Policy 2011; 2:G27-38
The residential lighting conditions of elders are an important but frequently neglected aspect that may directly or indirectly influence important health and wellbeing parameters. Within the EU-funded project Ambient Lighting Assistance for an Ageing Population (ALADIN) a new adaptive lighting device that is capable to adapt to psycho-physiological parameters of an elderly person has been developed and pilot-tested under real life conditions. The main outcome criteria of this pilot study comprise wellbeing, life quality, mental and physical fitness as well as sleep quality. The system was installed in the habitations of twelve subjects and evaluated for three months in a field-test with technological support provided on demand. Results indicated a significant increase of wellbeing, life quality and mental fitness. However, these results may not only be attributed to the influence of the lighting system. Social contacts due to participation in the study and the introduction of new technologies might also be responsible for the positive outcome concerning wellbeing and life quality. Therefore, the potential of ambient assisting technologies for improving the lives of the elderly could be further developed by embedding them into social settings and facilitating social contacts rather than understanding them as technological stand-alone solutions.
Key words: ambient assisted living, geriatrics, residential lighting, psychophysiology, technology, aging, ageing.