Feasibility testing of a home-based sensor system to monitor mobility and daily activities in Korean American older adults.

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AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to test feasibility of a home-based sensor system that is designed to assess mobility and daily activity patterns among Korean American older adults (KAOAs; n = 6) and explore sensor technology acceptance among participants.

BACKGROUND: Home-based sensors have the potential to support older adults' desire to remain at home as long as possible. Despite a growing interest in using home-based sensors for older adults, there have been no documented attempts to apply this type of technology to a group of ethnic minority older adults.

DESIGN: The study employed descriptive, quantitative and qualitative approaches.

METHODS: The system was deployed for 2 months in four homes of KAOAs. Study procedures included (i) sensor-based data collection, (ii) self-report mobility instruments, (iii) activity logs and (iv) interviews. To explore changes in activity patterns, line graphs and sequence plots were applied to data obtained from a set of sensors. General linear models (GLMs) were used for motion in each space of the home to examine how much variability of activities is explained by several time variables.

RESULTS: Sensor data had natural fluctuation over time. Different 24-hr patterns were observed across homes. The GLM estimates showed that effect sizes of the time variables vary across individuals. A hydro sensor deployed in one participant's bathroom inferred various water usage activities. Overall, sensors were acceptable for all participants, despite some privacy concerns.

CONCLUSIONS: Study findings demonstrate that sensor technology applications could be successfully used longitudinally in a minority population of older adults that is not often targeted as an end-user group for the use of innovative technologies.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: The use of home-based sensors provides nurses with a useful tool to detect deviations from normal patterns and to achieve proactive care for some groups of older adults.

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Int J Older People Nurs