Exploring the Needs and Requirements of Informal Caregivers of Older Adults With Cognitive Impairment From Sensor-Based Care Solutions: Multimethod Study

Nikita Sharma*, Louise M.A. Braakman-Jansen, Harri Oinas-Kukkonen, Jan Hendrik Croockewit, J.E.W.C. van Gemert-Pijnen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Background: With the increase in the older adult population, sensor-based care solutions that can monitor the deviations in physical, emotional, and physiological activities in real-time from a distance are demanded for prolonging the stay of community-dwelling older adults with cognitive impairment. To effectively develop and implement these care solutions, it is important to understand the current experiences, future expectations, perceived usefulness (PU), and communication needs of the informal caregivers of older adults with cognitive impairment regarding such solutions.

Objective: This comprehensive study with informal caregivers of older adults with cognitive impairment aims to (1) highlight current experiences with (if any) and future expectations from general sensor-based care solutions, (2) explore PU specifically toward unobtrusive sensing solutions (USSs), (3) determine the information communication (IC) needs and requirements for communicating the information obtained through USSs in different care scenarios (fall, nocturnal unrest, agitation, and normal daily life), and (4) elicit the design features for designing the interaction platform in accordance with the persuasive system design (PSD) model.

Methods: A multimethod research approach encompassing a survey (N=464) and in-depth interviews (10/464, 2.2%) with informal caregivers of older adults with cognitive impairment was used. The insights into past experiences with and future expectations from the sensor-based care solutions were obtained through inductive thematic analysis of the interviews. A convergent mixed methods approach was used to explore PU and gather the IC needs from USSs by using scenario-specific questions in both survey and interviews. Finally, the design features were elicited by using the PSD model on the obtained IC needs and requirements.

Results: Informal caregivers expect care infrastructure to consider centralized and empathetic care approaches. Specifically, sensor-based care solutions should be adaptable to care needs, demonstrate trust and reliability, and ensure privacy and safety. Most informal caregivers found USSs to be useful for emergencies (mean 4.09, SD 0.04) rather than for monitoring normal daily life activities (mean 3.50, SD 0.04). Moreover, they display variations in information needs including mode, content, time, and stakeholders involved based on the care scenario at hand. Finally, PSD features, namely, reduction, tailoring, personalization, reminders, suggestions, trustworthiness, and social learning, were identified for various care scenarios.

Conclusions: From the obtained results, it can be concluded that the care scenario at hand drives PU and IC design needs and requirements toward USSs. Therefore, future technology developers are recommended to develop technology that can be easily adapted to diverse care scenarios, whereas designers of such sensor-driven platforms are encouraged to go beyond tailoring and strive for strong personalization while maintaining the privacy of the users.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere49319
Number of pages21
JournalJMIR Aging
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Informal caregiving
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Unobstrusive sensing solutions
  • In-home care
  • Aging in place
  • Assistive technologies

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