SOLACE: Checking In With My Friends: Results from an In Situ Deployment of Peer-to-Peer Aging in Place Technologie
Year: 2015 to 2017 | Clemson University | Co-authors: Dr. Kelly Caine, Dr. Kay Connelly, Subina Saini | Skill: Quantitative Data Analysis, Qualitative Data Analysis | Role: PhD Leader
Many older adults in need of care are not able to afford formal caregivers or assisted living facilities, and prefer to age in place in their own home. We propose a new model of peer-care facilitated by a suite of four, in-home, technologies that enable older adults to provide some elements of care for each other.
In this chapter, we investigate older adults’ experiences with the technology suite that we designed specifically to address the needs of urban, low socio-economic status (SES) older adults. We deployed the technologies – Activity Clock, Community Window, Check-In Tree, and Trip Coordinator - in participants’ homes for eight weeks with the aim of enabling an interactive, peer-to-peer support system within the community. We explored older adults’ technology-related privacy concerns with a privacy-enhancing feature - DigiSwitch - that allowed participants to control which peers in their peer network could view activity information. We conducted weekly surveys to assess loneliness, quality of life, interpersonal support, perceived burden, usability, satisfaction with the technologies, and privacy perception.
We find that older adults not using DigiSwitch feel lonelier when the peer-care suite first gets introduced, but their perceived loneliness goes back to baseline over time. Furthermore, the presence of DigiSwitch does not increase caregiver burden and there is no additional caregiver burden when older adults provide peer care. The quality of life of older adults without DigiSwitch increases over time significantly, while neither the presence of DigiSwitch nor time significantly affects users’ level of interpersonal support and privacy perception. In addition, participants’ overall satisfaction and perceptions on the usability of these technologies does not change significantly over time, indicating the technologies did not frustrate users.