Acceptance of Ambient Assisted Living Solutions in Everyday Life

Acceptance of Ambient Assisted Living Solutions in Everyday Life

Annette Spellerberg (University of Kaiserslautern, Germany) and Lynn Schelisch (University of Kaiserslautern, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-469-1.ch009
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The aim of “Ambient Assisted Living” -devices is to increase comfort and safety and to provide support for elderly people in their homes. In a housing estate in Kaiserslautern, Germany, a touch screen tablet-PC called PAUL (Personal Assistive Unit for Living), numerous sensors and an EIB/KNX-Bus were installed in 20 apartments. Within the framework of the project “Assisted Living”, Urban Sociologists from the University of Kaiserslautern analyzed the elderly people’s experiences and acceptance of the implemented home automation devices, especially of the tablet-PC over a period of two years of usage. Besides technical aspects social issues like community building are focused in the project. The main results of the project will be presented in the chapter.
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Technical solutions facilitating independent living have not become accepted very well yet. There are various reasons: they are often intricately to use, are unattractive, appear stigmatizing, require a lot of technology expertise, and in particular, are too expensive (Meyer & Schulze, 2008; Mollenkopf & Kaspar, 2004; Mollenkopf, Oswald & Wahl 2007). In addition, there is also a great deal of restraint on the part of the landlords from the housing industry to invest in technical solutions.

A new batch can yet be expected, namely for four reasons: First, regarding energy costs, which suggest optimal heating, especially in tight pensions, and require intelligent sensors. Second, due to health reasons, because the health risks grow with higher life expectancy. Prevention, security and care itself, may be supported by technology and telemedicine. Third, the technical equipment regarding home appliances and the media is getting more advanced. The technical competence of the elderly is increasing. Therefore, fourthly, it is likely that technical solutions to facilitate independent living are accepted, if they are affordable (BIS & DZFA, 2002; Research Institute for Gerontology, 2006).

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