Smart Home Technology and the Needs of the Aging Population in Southern Ontario

Working Paper Authors Publish Date
59 Andrea Wurster
Norm Archer
Oct. 2016

The care-needs of the aging population of Southern Ontario, in addition to the support-needs of formal and informal caregivers, is ever-changing. The implementation of Smart Home Technology has been successful throughout Europe.  While such research is lacking in Southern Ontario, the need for support is evidently growing.  Smart Home Technology is defined as any type of technology that assists older adults to live independent, safe lives, by promoting health and wellbeing among users. Little research has attempted to understand the technology needs of the aging population, and none have focussed on the technology needs in long-term care, nor have taken the knowledge of front-line staff into consideration. Therefore, this qualitative study seeks to understand smart home technology needs in a long-term care home in Southern Ontario. This inquiry is based upon the opinions of Personal Support Workers (PSWs), nurses, and therapeutic recreationists. Data collection was pursued through open-ended face-to-face interviews (N=10). Data was transcribed, coded, and thematically analyzed into three major themes: existing technology; needed technology; and the realities of care workers’ daily work and tasks. Essentially, these findings have the ability to add to smart home technology literature and research and provides a needs assessment for a typical long-term care home in Southern Ontario.

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