University of Oulu

Identifying the requirements of elderly solitaries in China for interactive smart home design

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Author: Dong, Li1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Pages: 52
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : L. Dong, 2016
Publish Date: 2016-05-25
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Rajanen, Dorina
Reviewer: Kuutti, Kari
Rajanen, Dorina
Context: In recent decades, more than 200 million rural-to-urban migrants of working-age moved to and temporarily lived in cities in China. This migration contributes to the so-called empty nest phenomenon (i.e., changes in psychological well-being of parents when children leave their home). As time goes on, many of the empty-nest elderly will be in the statement of spouse-bereft and living alone. Compared with elderly people who live with their spouses, elderly solitaries have relatively worse psychological status. Most of existing smart home designs for the elderly are focusing on performing different functions packaged into friendly user interfaces, but emotional perspectives are scantly taken into account or are ignored. Aim: This thesis aims to explore the real demands of elder people living alone in China in order to inform the design of smart home systems that satisfy both physical needs and psychological needs. Method: The research procedure obeys the human-centred lifecycle model steps starting from identifying needs for design, to understanding the context of use, to completing requirements specification work. A literature review on existing smart home modes for the elderly was conducted to collect requirements defined by previous researches. In addition, 22 field interviews in three groups (elderly solitaries over 60, elderly between 50–60, and children generation of elderly solitaries) were conducted in Xiamen city of China for gathering and analyzing the real demands. Requirements are finalized by integrating prior studies and the interview data analysis. Results: I found that for older people (over 60 years old), their needs and expectations mainly form four aspects: they wish they could live orderly (daily life), could keep aware of their body condition (health care), could be rescued in time once emergency occurs (emergency response), and could have initiative contacts frequently with their children (emotional solace). Compared with them, the elderly between 50–60 have demands for higher quality lives. They have the ability to operate intelligent products, and squint towards the conjunction of online and offline lifestyles to enrich their life. As for the children generation, they wish their parents could have the resources to develop their own interests and have friends around as companions. Contribution and future work: This thesis makes contribution to the design of smart home systems for the elderly by providing comprehensive requirements. Possible future research extension can be the realization of smart home system based on the requirements gathering in thesis.
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