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How can smart technologies meet the demand of an ageing population?

The increase in the proportion of older people has been described as “one of the most significant social transformations of the twenty-first century” (United Nations, 2015), with huge implications for government health and social care budgets. Our research for the Dunhill Medical Trust, which started in October 2019, collected data about 'smart' home technologies for older people in order to understand how these innovations support wellbeing and independent living.

Technological developments may help to meet the challenge of an ageing population through products and services which assist older people to live independently in their own homes: ‘smart' homes with embedded third generation telecare technologies may allow older people to ‘age in place’ and enjoy higher quality of life, rather than having to move to residential care.

However, evidence is still lacking about how they are designed, provided and used, and how this can affect older people’s ability to live well independently and enjoy a higher quality of life. The aim of this study was to fill this gap by collecting data about how these 'smart' home technologies are provided to and used by older people, and to determine what outcomes can be achieved in terms of improved wellbeing and successful independent living.

Our funding was extended in the summer of 2020 in order to conduct specific research into an assistive technology scheme being piloted by Johnnie Johnson Housing. The research will help us to determine how the provision of such technologies might be improved, and how they can be successfully embedded within peoples’ homes to best meet the complex and diverse needs of an ageing population.

A case study of our research has been published by the Dunhill Medical Trust on their website. 


Can smart homes meet the needs of our ageing population? The challenges of implementation

Gemma Burgess, who sits on the TAPPI panel, gave a presentation as part of the Housing LIN Summit 2020 session on mainstreaming accessible housing on 11 December 2020.

Can smart homes meet the needs of our ageing population? The challenges of implementation - Read More…

Project Start Date

October 2019