Sensing the care: Advancing unobtrusive sensing solutions to support informal caregivers of older adults with cognitive impairment

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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Older adults (65 years and above) make up a growing proportion of the world's population which is anticipated to increase further in the coming decades. As individuals age, they often become more vulnerable to cognitive impairments, necessitating a diverse array of care and support services from their caregivers to uphold their quality of life. However, the scarcity of professional caregivers and care facilities, compounded by the preference of many older adults to remain in their own homes, places a significant burden on informal caregivers, adversely affecting their physical, mental, and social well-being. To assist informal caregivers, numerous sensing solutions have been developed. However, many of these solutions are not optimally suited for older adult care, particularly in cases of cognitive impairments. In that regard, the overarching aim of this thesis was to develop and evaluate the Unobtrusive Sensing Solution (USS) for in-home monitoring of older adults with cognitive impairment (OwCI) who live alone in their own houses to ease the support of their informal caregivers. In the 'Explore and Scope' part, a scoping review was conducted to identify available unobtrusive sensing technology that can be implemented in older adult care. Subsequently, in the 'Develop and Test' part, Wi-Fi CSI technology was utilized to collect a dataset illustrating physical agitation activities (Wi-Gitation). However, upon evaluation of the Wi-Gitation dataset, a challenge of generalization across different domains (or environments) was identified. To address this, the Inter-data Selected Sequential Transfer Learning framework was proposed and implemented. Lastly, in the 'Design to Communicate' part, the thesis focused on identifying the needs and requirements of informal caregivers of OwCI towards USSs. These needs and requirements were gathered through interviews and surveys, informing the development of a Lo-Fi prototype for an interaction platform. Overall, the results obtained in this thesis not only enhance the development of Wi-Fi CSI (specifically for OwCI care) but also provide valuable insights into the informational and design requirements of informal caregivers, thereby promoting the context-aware development of USSs.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • van Gemert-Pijnen, Lisette J.E.W.C., Supervisor
  • Havinga, Paul J.M., Supervisor
  • Oinas-Kukkonen, Harri Ilmari, Supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date29 Feb 2024
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-5993-5
Electronic ISBNs978-90-365-5994-2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2024


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