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Internet Of Things In Elder In-Home Care

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Internet of Things is an emerging field and in this report we are talking about its advancements for Elder in-Home care. Internet of things has shown its growth in each and every field around us. Health care being an important part of it is not left behind. Emerging Health care facilities have shown development in elder care also. Elder care is necessary as they require the most care and support during that age. Elder people feel depressed and alone and sometime as their health do not permit them to go out of a single space that make them irritated. In this report many such things are discussed along with the acceptance of technology by elderly people. Elder people are brought up in their own environment and the environment before 50 years were totally different than now. Technology had not emerged that much and everyone was in some or the other manner dependent on their family in some or the other way. Now with the developments in Internet of Things that has reduced a bit but elder people are taking time to adjust to that and understand that factor. Some of those problems are discussed here along with some products and applications designed especially for elderly people keeping their age and requirements in mind. Taking Technology in consideration, whenever we use technology there are various issues that come along with it hand in hand. Those issues are also discussed in the later part of the report and how that affects people data if a note of it is not kept. Finally, coming to the conclusion of the report, According to my readings and understanding some Elder in-Home care products, applications and facilities are still not used completely and are under supervision and control. Health care has modernized in last few years thus a proper study needs to be done in order to understand the output of the examinations carried out. Surveys about elderly people using these products and applications should be carried out across the globe and people should be encouraged to use these products so that the applications and products get a proper acceptance from the people and the time and effort went into the invention of the products is not wasted. Internet of things is capable of bringing advancements in all fields and elder care should also be given equal importance along with other health care services.

Introduction

Internet of Things, commonly known as IoT is an emerging field of Computer Science. IoT is basically a megatrend that includes everything with technology and advances the system and its services. It has become a boon to the technological world and its development day by day. It has created a huge impact on the whole business spectrum throughout the world. IoT advancements are seen in fields like security, cyber cells, health care, emergency services, industrial control and many more. Every work we do, every step we take, every application we use, in each and every moment of the human life, it is possible to walk hand in hand with IoT.

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Internet of Things has played a major role in advancements in Health Care, weather it be dentistry, child care, remote health monitoring, fitness programming, chronic diseases and elderly care. It is also very useful in providing in-home health care services and medication to elderly. According to my readings of “Internet-of-Things and Smart Homes for Elderly Healthcare: An End User Perspective”, “The Internet of Things for Health Care: A Comprehensive Survey”, and “Big Health Application System based on Health Internet of Things and Big Data”, IoT for Elder in-home care is rapidly growing. The advancements in field of health care and technology has played a major role for in-home care for elders. With the growing age people require care and support. Sometimes that care is provided by family members, our near and dear ones but when an elderly people is living alone or by some reason their loved ones are not around them the in-home care helps them and takes care of them as in a normal hospital. Many a times elder people are sceptical about visiting the hospital or are not in a condition to move to the hospital, In such situation the elder in-home care comes to the rescue.

IoT based health care has increased efficiency, reduced costs, increased quality of life and provided mental support to patients in absence of family members. Elderly people need 24 hours care and support, physically as well as emotionally which cannot be provided by the family members due to their daily works. To provide this technology is used to make their life easier by building sensor based elderly homes. Researchers are already done is this area and the advancements are continuously growing. Technological advancements are never ending so is elder care. In the research provided, smart homes are able to visualize and monitor elder care and maintain a record of their condition. Smart homes are equipped with many advanced applications so that elder people can live independently, controlling their healthcare costs and status. Health care is always expensive but smart homes help them to put a stop over it to some extent. Smart homes not only monitor health but also provide various applications with which one can access short as well as long distance health care services. In cases of extreme illness professional help can be provided to elderly people by a single click on mobile. Elderly people are not used to using technology in their day to day life but with the current generation friendly with technology and its advancements elder people are learning to use technology for their own benefit. Results of elder people using technology are they get an early diagnostics and sometimes severe diseases can be detected in an early stage and can be cured on time which results in a long life span. IoT in health care has attracted many researchers in the last few years and they have grown rapidly and the most advantage is seen in the in-home care for elderly. They are the bunch of people who needs the most care. The further advancements and potentials of IoT in elder in-home care is discussed further in detail and also discusses the various technological advancements already made and which can be made in coming future.

Literature Review

This chapter will cover the basic understanding of the development of IoT in Health care along with some methods used earlier and how those systems have now developed and used for the effective use by elderly people. Keeping the age in mind these methods are convenient to use. The methods are different for kids and elder as they are different in their own way as their requirements differ. Let us see how IoT has evolved in Elder care.

  1. Evolution of IoT in Elder Care
  2. Developments in IoT technology have resulted in the evolution of traditional homes to smart homes which according to Rosslin et. al is defined as “an amalgamation of technology and services through home networking that ensures a better quality of life for its inhabitants”.

    The basic features of elderly home care that are currently focussed are chronic disease management, assistance in independent living preventive care, etc. The smart homes also include activity detection, communication network, sleep monitoring which can be observed on your everyday used devices like a mobile phone or iPod. All these applications and devices collect the data, analyze and then transfer this data to either a smart home provider or an healthcare center. Thus the basic aim of this model is to provide continuous and complete supervision to elderly people and provide help as an when required. There are many problems associated with this model let us see that in detail in the next part of the chapter.

  3. Acceptance by Elder People

    The concept of smart home is new and emerging. The acceptance of such homes by today’s generation is fast but for elder people it’s still new and they are sceptical about using these technology. The adoption rate of these technology is very low by the elderly as they are used to using the traditional resources and they are a bit reluctant to adapt to new technology and its innovations. To understand their behaviour towards technological advancements various theories about technology acceptance are studied to study the factors that affect elders to accept the new technology coming their way. Some of those theories are as below.

  • TAM: The Technology Acceptance Model which emphasis on the behaviour of human towards the acceptance and rejection on new technology.
  • UTAUT: The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology is the latest derivative of TAM. It is king of an advanced version of TAM as it tests human acceptance on various factors and it has some core constructs as well.
  • The core Constructs of UTAUT are Performance Acceptance (PE), Effort Expectancy (EE), Social Influence (SI) and Facilitating Conditions (FC).
  • PE is defined as “the extent to which using smart homes will provide direct benefits to the elderly people with respect to their overall health”.
  • EE is defined as “the degree of ease associated with the use of any system”.
  • Social influence affects the Behavioural Intention of the elderly users to use the smart homes for healthcare purpose in a positive way.
  • FC is defined as “the degree to which an individual believes that an organizational and technical infrastructure exists to support the use of the system.”

All these constructs help understand the understanding of elder people towards technology and according to the study major changes can be made so that elder people become open to the emerging technological advancements. Understanding these constructs a better environment is created for elder people and their home and the facilities can be included as per their requirements which helps them live a comfortable life and they do not have to stress about their health issues.

There are many other things kept in mind while dealing with health of elder people. Various applications and services are made for better living of elderly people. It has to be made sure that the applications and services are used properly and no misuse of data is done which is provided to these applications. Some applications which monitors the health of people taking amount of vital signs and sensor data such as blood pressure (BP), body temperature, electrocardiograms (ECG) and oxygen saturations forms a grid of data and forwards it to static and mobile electronic devices such and mobile, laptops and other medical terminals. Then the patients health profile is monitored and visualized and if any help or support is needed to any patient, caregivers can monitor them from any location and respond them accordingly. This becomes a convenient topology for elders and they can get help whenever and wherever needed and sometimes critical situations can be managed with such monitoring and utilization of technology in all aspects.

Internet of Things Healthcare applications

All these applications discussed here are a part of IoT innovations and they lead to various healthcare solutions. Not only these applications but there are also various services used and other wearable devices used be people to monitor their health. Some major applications helpful for elder people are as follows.

  • Glucose Level Sensing: In this method, sensors from patients are linked through IPv6 connectivity to relevant healthcare providers. The data is transmitted and the collected somatic data on blood glucose collector, a mobile phone or computer, and a background processor.
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring: For monitoring the blood pressure of patients a combination of KIT blood pressure meter and an NFC-enabled KIT mobile phone is used for BP monitoring based on IoT. The collected data can then be transmitted to any mobile computing device and monitored accordingly.
  • Body Temperature Monitoring: Body temperature monitoring is an essential part of healthcare services because body temperature is decisive vital sign in maintenance of homeostasis. Various modules are used to keep a trak of persons body temperature based in IoT and collected data is used as an when required.
  • Wheelchair Management: Researchers have worked very hard to build a smart wheelchair for elderly and disabled people. The wheelchair is enabled with a WBANs integrated with sensors and these sensors are managed and tailored by IoT requirements. This wheelchairs use peer-to-peer communication to transfer data and do other functionalities provided on it. This invention shows that these small changes in basic things can make a huge difference in lives of people and can make life easier and more convenient for people in need of it.

Technology in all aspects has proved to be a boon to the human world but as it is said every coin has two sides. With the advantages of technology there are some basic and some typical problems that needs to be taken care of while using technology in any aspects. As we know each and every module and constructs we discussed earlier included taking a lot of personal information and personal data of patients and their health, so first and foremost is the safety of people’s data. Everyone wants their data to be safe and dont want it to be misused in any manner. Apart from security of data and people there are other factors also. They are discussed below

  • Confidentiality
  • Integrity
  • Authentication
  • Availability
  • Data freshness
  • Non Repudiation
  • Authorization
  • Resiliency
  • Self Healing.

Also during my reading I came across one more product which can be very much useful for elderly people if used properly and in a proper manner and that product is “Smart Clothing”. Smart clothing integrates a variety of physiological sensors into flexible textile industry, it can capture a variety of physiological indications and has advantages comfortable for elderly. Thus by using this emerging wearable clothing products we can build up a new healthcare system where low power wireless communication can be done and machine learning techniques can be applied to get personalised healthcare services based on physiological information monitoring. This clothing will not affect the daily work and chores of people and elderly people might not even realize that their health is been monitored by the regular clothes they are wearing and thus in any emergency situation the family of elder can be informed and they can do the next necessary steps. Keeping in mind the concerns and problems of elderly people this product might turn useful due to its smart technology implemented in such a small portion of one’s daily life.

Conclusion

According to my readings of the references mentioned below the Elder in-home care is in its early stage of diffusion. The articles mentioned are basically study of behaviour of elderly people towards technology and the technological changes in healthcare. Smart homes designed for them are convenient and useful in all aspects, but the intentions and understanding of elder people towards technology need to be changed. Their traditional understanding somewhere comes in a way of their technology acceptance. The model specified here to validate their acceptance towards technology is exclusively for elder people and it validates the mindset of elderly people in every manner. The main aspect to keep in mind while implementing this model is that it should be tested across the globe so that we can get proper empirical results and the results are self explanatory. The more the people involved in this study, the more people will get to know about the features of the applications and products and the smart homes and will be attracted towards it. If a small group is targeted then it might not give us proper results. Elder people should be encouraged by their loved ones too to use technology in their day to day life for their betterment and for their healthy lifestyle. The products and services we talked about in the second section of the report are already used by people of 21st century and it has proven beneficial for them to keep a track of their healthy lifestyle in their busy schedules. Products specially designed for elder people should be used by them as they are the one who can provide with proper feedback about the products and if any changes or difficulty arises in use of the products it can be taken care of in the future advancements.

The smart clothing mentioned above is totally a new technology that has came into use. A lot of study and research has been done in making and development if that product. Elder people should be encouraged to use that and awareness about it benefits needs to be provided to elder people as on to build that type of trust with the product. Inventions in smart clothing are done day by day and efforts are done to make its use as convenient as possible and as comfortable as possible. There are many limitations to this invention but benefits are more. The main disadvantages or the limitations of using technology is security of its customers. Security is part and parcel of Internet of things. A lot of personal and professional data of people and professionals go into the applications and systems. It needs to be made sure that the data of people is kept safe and secure. Proper protocols should be used while developing these applications and products and layers of security should be provided so that all the data is not affected at once. Keeping layers of security provided additional security to data and problem in a single layer can be beneficial compared to the whole data being lost or stolen and used for inappropriate purposes. Data Security and internet security should be the main aspects while working with Internet of Things.

Thus in Conclusion to this report, internet of Things in Elder in-Home care has advanced and emerged compared to development in the last few years but work need to be done in the understanding of elder people towards technology. If that is improved the scope of elder in-home care will increase gradually. the current findings can be extended by involving more and more people and investigating it in the moderating effects such as gender, religion, etc and understanding their point of view.

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