Ambient Assisted Living as Support for Aging in Place: Quantitative Users' Acceptance Study on Ultrasonic Whistles
Given the fact of an aging society, new supply measures and living concepts are needed, especially as health impairments along with care dependency increase with age. As many elderly people wish to stay at home for as long as possible, ambient assisted living (AAL) represents a support for aging in place. AAL combines medical and care technology within living environments and is, therefore, a promising approach to cope with demographic change in terms of fast-growing care needs and fewer
... workers. Ultrasonic whistles represent one innovative technical possibility for such supportive housing solutions. Central fields of application are home automation, emergency service, and positioning. As AAL technologies affect sensitive areas of life, it is of great interest under which conditions they are accepted or rejected, taking individual user requirements into account. Hence, the aim of this study was to investigate users' perception and evaluation of ultrasonic whistles. In this study, we examined the acceptance of ultrasonic whistles in home care by function and room using a Web-based questionnaire. Besides an evaluation of the overall usefulness, we focused on the intention to use ultrasonic whistles; 270 participants assessed home automation, emergency service, and positioning as specific functions of ultrasonic whistles. Furthermore, bathroom, bedroom, and living room were evaluated as specific usage locations (rooms). With regard to the user's perspective, the focus was set on age and attitudes toward aging of care receivers. This study revealed a significant influence of function (F2,269=60.444; P<.001), room (F2,269=41.388; P<.001), and the interaction of function and room (F4,269=8.701; P<.001) on the acceptance of ultrasonic whistles. The use of emergency services within the bathroom represented the most accepted alternative, whereas positioning within the living room received the comparably lowest evaluations. Although user diversity played a minor role for acceptance overall, the assessment of single applications differed among user groups, particularly with regard to age differences (F20,500=1.988; P<.01) in the evaluation of specific installation options such as automated doors. The study revealed profound insights into the user-centered assessment of ultrasonic whistles in home care and discovered function and room as influencing acceptance parameters. Concerning user characteristics, age, and attitude toward aging partly affected these evaluations, forming the basis for and showing the importance of further investigations in this context.