Rehabilitation medicine and rehabilitation technology resulting in products and services for disabled people already have a long history and gerontechnology can use these results to find solutions for the general consumer market. This book is useful for life-span development/gerontology classes, as well as higher education such as in the realms of anthropology, human factors/ergonomics, lifelong education, mass media, or medical disciplines including nursing, and the information and communication sciences. Providing care to ill and/or frail elders can challenge the entire caregiving team, including the family technologist. Technologically mediated social interaction introduces its own ethical concerns, including technical security, information privacy, risks associated with failure of one or more components of the service, and changes to the social system in which they are embedded. The book draws attention to virtual environments (VEs) as a research method to study older people’s behavior, in particular in aging mobility studies. The trends of aging societies necessitated ever-increasing needs for information and communication technology (ICT)-related gerontological studies. The Internet of Things (IoT), social networking services (SNS), and big data are at the core of information and communication technologies for health care. Light reflectance value (LRVs) are used to determine value contrast between an object and its background. The book includes a brief description of smart home development, with some well-known university-based examples in the United States, Europe, and Japan. The role of assistive technology (AT) in terms of managing long-term chronic conditions, quality of life (QoL) and health, telecare (TC), and electronic assistive technology (EAT) is also discussed.
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The term “gerontechnology” was coined in 1988. Gerontechnology, a collaboration of engineers, social scientists, and other disciplines, emerged as the result of the need felt by professionals coming from many fields. From the beginning of gerontechnology, its agenda has been the development of insight-based optimal technological environments for aging and aged individuals, targeting real people in their physical, mental, social, economic, and cultural environment. Rehabilitation medicine and rehabilitation technology resulting in products and services for disabled people already have a long history and gerontechnology can use these results to find solutions for the general consumer market. The major concepts of gerontechnology provide a framework for understanding and guiding research on human aging. Gerontechnology has made considerable efforts to assess and influence the development in national and international innovation policies and the opportunities these present for the sustainable growth of this emerging field.
The aging process is accompanied by changes that occur at every level, including sensory and perceptual capabilities. At first glance, one would hope that normal vision in aging equals unchanged visual ability throughout the life span; however, there are several irreversible anatomical changes and functional consequences that are reasonable to expect, even in the absence of any disease. Diabetic retinopathy is generally caused by the proliferation of extraneous and unstable blood vessels in the retina that are prone to bleeding, thereby scarring the retina. Much like the visual system, anatomy, physiology, and hearing functions change with aging. Hearing aids may serve to compensate for the differential loss of hearing sensitivity across the frequency range. In the context of gerontechnology design, it is advisable to at least account for decreased touch sensitivity and poorer manual dexterity when developing assistive technology for older adults.
This chapter focuses on social contexts from the perspective of interpersonal relationships, in which two or more individuals interact with each other and engage in social exchange. It discusses issues related to social motivation and context in old age. The chapter provides a theoretical integration of existing findings in order to address the question of how older adults make use of technology in order to regulate their social contexts. Social contexts play a major role in the process of late-life adaptation and aging well. In general, beneficial effects of social contexts involve the pursuit or maximization of emotionally meaningful and positive interactions in old age. Community-based initiatives sponsored by nonprofit organizations or government agencies can play an important role in shaping the social contexts within which older adults learn technology. The chapter ends with an integration of findings and the discussion of implications for practice and research.
This chapter contributes the conceptual literature about caregiving and technology. It introduces the family technologist as a new role in caregiving. Older adults’ social needs are highly individualized and contextualized, depending on family structure, geographical proximity, and personal preference. Providing care to ill and/or frail elders can challenge the entire caregiving team, including the family technologist. Family technologists are likely to first consider what technologies can provide help for current and future needs. For many societies across the globe, demographic changes, economic challenges, and shifting social norms are the shared driving forces shaping kinship structures and the ways in which families care for their oldest members. The family technologist installs, supports, and encourages the use of technologies that will allow older adults to maintain their independence for as long as possible and stay connected to disparate family members.
Aware, active, and adaptive technologies offer significant improvements in supporting older adults at home. In terms of elder care, privacy and security are both concerned with safety. A security system that does not allow individuals to guard themselves against data leaks and apps that exfiltrate data, on the basis that privacy and security are entirely distinct, does not address elder needs and is not elder centered. Apple and Google recognize in their permissions model that security and privacy are interrelated risks. Technologically mediated social interaction, however, introduces its own ethical concerns, including technical security, information privacy, risks associated with failure of one or more components of the service, and changes to the social system in which they are embedded. Communities can help each other determine how to roll out technologies, and how to share privacy settings, without sharing private information.
- Go to chapter: Methods in Gerontechnology With a Focus on Virtual Environments as a Research Tool in Aging Mobility Studies
Methods in Gerontechnology With a Focus on Virtual Environments as a Research Tool in Aging Mobility Studies
This chapter draws attention to virtual environments (VEs) as a research method to study older people’s behavior, in particular in aging mobility studies. In the case of aging mobility studies, particularly those related to environmental characteristics as experimental variables, unique problems occur with traditional methods. A virtual environment is a simulated environment that a computer generates. VEs serve many different purposes: video games, education and training, rehabilitation and therapy, cultural heritage, and visualization of architectural and urban design. Recently, VEs have been used as a research tool in psychology, education, criminology, and behavioral research, including gerontology. Motion sickness is a common condition some VE users have experienced after having been exposed to them for a certain amount of time. Developing realistic VEs that resemble their corresponding real environments requires high-level skills and can take a long time.
- Go to chapter: Information and Communication Technology in Active Aging With a Focus on User Interfaces
The trends of aging societies necessitated ever-increasing needs for information and communication technology (ICT)-related gerontological studies. Societies that are ill-prepared to handle aging population phenomena with suitable ICT support will be exposed to greater risks, mainly because of increasing social costs in the welfare system. The Internet of Things (IoT), social networking services (SNS), and big data are at the core of information and communication technologies for health care. Human factors and ergonomics are especially important when ICT is applied to actual human users. Smart homes have employed information and communication technologies to assist care of elderly people living at home. Network analysis studies user interactions in social networks, visualizing them as well as reactions in a flow form. Harmony of human-to-human interaction can be achieved in a social context where the technology is well fitted and socially acceptable.
Populations around the world are aging rapidly and increasing: The issue of designing products and technologies that not only support older people in their daily living, but also take into account their needs and preferences is a challenge to both engineers and designers engaged in either research or practice. A range of techniques-including “user-centered design” and “participatory design” have been developed to assist designers in understanding their user population. If the needs of older and disabled users are to be effectively included in the design process, some significant differences must be introduced into the user-centered design paradigm. User-sensitive inclusive design brings into focus not only the substantial variability that exists in user characteristics, but also the nature of the functionality they have, over both short- and long-time scales, which, mutatis mutandis, can represent changes in physical, sensory, and cognitive abilities.
In order to appreciate the importance of appropriate lighting for older adults, it is necessary to understand the various ways in which it contributes to independence and health of the elderly, including the visual and nonvisual effects of light. The physiological changes lead to degradation in visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, color discrimination, reduced visual field, and an increased sensitivity to glare. The World Health Organization is a good resource for prevalence and magnitude of visual impairment and blindness worldwide. The quality of the visual environment is just as important as the lighting. Light reflectance value (LRVs) are used to determine value contrast between an object and its background. Lighting systems must address all of the elements identified under quantity and quality of light. Policy makers, code officials, design professionals, medical communities, governmental agencies, and aging people themselves need to know more about the visual and nonvisual effects of light.