265673 How in-home monitoring mediates communication in the caregiving relationship

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 8:42 AM - 8:54 AM

Lesa Huber, PhD , School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
In-home technologies can support older adults' desire to age in place, providing information to family caregivers about health status, activities of daily living, safety, scheduling, and social activities. Such technologies can be empowering to older adults and their families alike; however, designing technologies that are useful to all and sensitive to the concerns and needs of all parties remains an ongoing challenge. One of older adults' primary anxieties about in-home monitoring is technology's potential to reduce human contact from personal caregivers. Relationships with caregivers are often prioritized as being among the most important and emotionally satisfying (Scheibe & Carstensen, 2010; Blieszner, 2006). We conducted three-year, five phase study exploring the privacy concerns of independently living older adults regarding home monitoring systems and other ubiquitous technologies. In phase four of the project, we installed prototypes of certain technologies in the homes of participants, allowing some to control the sharing of their personal data to varying degrees. In this exploratory in-situ study, amount and content of communication between six older adults and their caregivers was assessed through daily and weekly interviews. Amount of communication stayed the same or increased through the six week study. The content of communication related to the technologies coalesced into four themes: communication about the technologies, communication facilitated by technologies, intrusiveness of technologies, and fun and playfulness with the technologies. Results suggest that in-home technologies, designed with sensitivity to older adults' primary motivations, have the potential to shape, tailor, and strengthen important relationships in later life.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how in-home technologies can support aging in place while shaping, strengthening and tailoring important relationships in later life.

Keywords: Aging, Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-principal of multiple federally funded grants focusing on supporting aging in place. Among my scientific interests has been the use of technologies to support independent living.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.