Technology can be valuable for providing social and emotional enrichment for people living in residential aged care, but its use is difficult to sustain because of the complexity of the aged care environment. This paper aims to advance understanding of care environments to inform the sensitive design of technologies for social benefit in those settings. We conducted an ethnographic study in which the researcher assisted a care home’s leisure and lifestyle team over four weeks. This included supporting the use of video-calling for social connectedness. A decrease in the use of video-calling and an absence of other technology for enrichment in the setting were observed. This paper identifies barriers to effective use of technology for enrichment and the interplay of cultural factors. For technology to best support residents and staff, we recommend key design considerations that target cultural, psychological and physical support and that ensure technologies, when used appropriately, better fit within the environment.
Restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected people’s opportunities to engage in activities that are meaningful to their lives. In response to these constraints, many people, including older adults, turned to digital technologies as alternative ways to pursue meaningful activities. These technology-mediated activities, however, presented new challenges for older adults’ everyday use of technology. In this paper, we investigate how older adults used digital technologies for meaningful activities during COVID-19 restrictions. We conducted in-depth interviews with 40 older adults and analyzed the interview data through the lens of self-determination theory (SDT). Our analysis shows that using digital technologies for meaningful activities can both support and undermine older people’s three basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. We argue that future technologies should be designed to empower older adults’ content creation, engagement in personal interests, exploration of technology, effortful communication, and participation in beneficent activities.
Implementing structure into our daily lives is critical for maintaining health, productivity, and social and emotional well-being. New norms for routine management have emerged during the current pandemic, and in particular, individuals with autism find it difficult to adapt to those norms. While much research has focused on the use of computer technology to support individuals with autism, little is known about ways of helping them establish and maintain "self-directed" routine structures. In this paper, we identify design requirements for an app that support four key routine components (i.e., physical activity, diet, mindfulness, and sleep) through a formative study and develop RoutineAid, a gamified smartphone app that reflects the design requirements. The results of a two-month field study on design feasibility highlight two affordances of RoutineAid - the establishment of daily routines by facilitating micro-planning and the maintenance of daily routines through celebratory interactions. We discuss salient design considerations for the future development of daily routine management tools for individuals with autism.
Home health monitoring systems (HHMS) are presented as a cost-effective solution that will assist with collaborative care of older adults. However, instead of care recipients feeling like collaborators, such systems often disempower them. In this paper, we examine the dissemination, onboarding, and initial use of an HHMS to see how the discourse used by developers and participants affects users’ collaborative care efforts. We found that the textual information provided often contrasted with how our participants managed their care. Instead of providing participants with ‘independence,’ ‘safety,’ and ‘peace of mind,’ care recipients were placed in a more dependent, less proactive role, and care providers were pressured to take on more responsibilities. We position HHMS, as they are currently marketed and onboarded, as normalizing pseudo-institutionalization. As an alternative we advocate that the discourse and design of such systems should reflect and re-enforce the varied roles care recipients take in managing their care.
We present a participatory design method to design human-robot interactions with older adults and its application through a case study of designing an assistive robot for a senior living facility. The method, called Situated Participatory Design (sPD), was designed considering the challenges of working with older adults and involves three phases that enable designing and testing use scenarios through realistic, iterative interactions with the robot. In design sessions with nine residents and three caregivers, we uncovered a number of insights about sPD that help us understand its benefits and limitations. For example, we observed how designs evolved through iterative interactions and how early exposure to the robot helped participants consider using the robot in their daily life. With sPD, we aim to help future researchers to increase and deepen the participation of older adults in designing assistive technologies.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in chronic sensorimotor, cognitive, psychosocial, and communication challenges that can limit social participation. Social media can be a useful outlet for social participation for individuals with TBI, but there are barriers to access. While research has drawn attention to the nature of access barriers, few studies have investigated technological solutions to address these barriers, particularly considering the perspectives of individuals with TBI. To address this gap in knowledge, we used a participatory approach to engage 10 adults with TBI in conceptualizing tools to address their challenges accessing Facebook. Participants described multifaceted challenges in using social media, including interface overload, social comparisons, and anxiety over self-presentation and communication after injury. They discussed their needs and preferences and generated ideas for design solutions. Our work contributes to designing assistive and accessibility technology to facilitate an equal access to the benefits of social media for individuals with TBI.