1. Mann, William C. OTR, PhD

Article Content

With advances in computing power and speed, data storage and processing, sensors, wireless systems, radio frequency identification and other underlying technologies, we are seeing applications and services for homes that can provide a very high level of support for people with motor, sensory, and cognitive impairment, and for their formal and informal care providers. This issue of Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation focuses on smart home technology.


Meredeth Rowe, Stephen Lane, and Chad Phipps describe a system, called CareWatch, designed to assist caregivers of people with dementia. CareWatch is a home monitoring system that prevents unsafe exiting from the home. This system when used at night improves caregiver sleep-addressing a significant problem for caregivers of people with dementia.


Andrew Sixsmith and colleagues have provided two articles for this issue. The first article offers a conceptual framework for the introduction of smart technology in homes. This model includes the person, context, activities, personal meanings, and well-being outcomes. They describe how data collected in a smart home can provide indicators of functional, psychological, and social status of the resident. Their second article reports on a study of quality of life for people with dementia and outlines priorities for research and development for technologies to enhance their independence and well-being.


Machiko Tomita and colleagues have tested a currently available smart home system with frail elders in a 2-year randomized controlled study. In this article they describe the problems they found with the use of this system, which they categorize in four areas: person, computer, X10 products, and the home.


In an article I authored with Patricia Belchoir, Machiko Tomita, and Bryan Kemp, we describe older adults' perception of 3 smart devices: PDAs, home automation systems, and health-monitoring systems. This article is based on a study of 673 older persons with chronic physical conditions. One of the main findings of this study was the very low rate of utilization of smart technology by this population.


Roxanna Bendixen, Kathleen Horn, and Charles Levy describe a program provided by the Veterans Health Administration in Northern Florida. Called LAMP, for Low ADLs Monitoring Program, this initiative used a telerehabilitation approach for home care. Significant improvement in health and functional status outcomes were found for LAMP participants.


Jessica Johnson, Rick Davenport, and I authored an article based on consumer focus groups held at the Gator-Tech smart house in Gainesville, Florida. Participants interacted with 8 technology applications and offered comments on the usability and usefulness of these applications. Participants especially liked the voice activation system for issuing commands in the smart house. In a companion article, Rick Davenport and colleagues report on the experience of the first overnight guest in the Gator-Tech smart house.


Mounier Mokhtari and M. Feki describe the research and development work in smart home technology being supported by the European Commission. They focus on the importance of information technologies in advancing smart home applications.


William C. Mann, OTR, PhD


Guest Editor