Background: An ongoing challenge for smart homes research for aging-in-place is how to make sense of the large amounts of data from in-home sensors to facilitate real-time monitoring and develop reliable alerts. Objective: The objective of our study was to explore the usefulness of a routine-based approach for making sense of smart home data for the elderly. Methods: Maximum variation sampling was used to select three cases for an in-depth mixed methods exploration of the daily routines of three elderly participants in a smart home trial using 180 days of power use and motion sensor data and longitudinal interview data. Results: Sensor data accurately matched self-reported routines. By comparing daily movement data with personal routines, it was possible to identify changes in routine that signaled illness, recovery from bereavement, and gradual deterioration of sleep quality and daily movement. Interview and sensor data also identified changes in routine with variations in temperature and daylight hours. Conclusions: The findings demonstrated that a routine-based approach makes interpreting sensor data easy, intuitive, and transparent. They highlighted the importance of understanding and accounting for individual differences in preferences for routinization and the influence of the cyclical nature of daily routines, social or cultural rhythms, and seasonal changes in temperature and daylight hours when interpreting information based on sensor data. This research has demonstrated the usefulness of a routine-based approach for making sense of smart home data, which has furthered the understanding of the challenges that need to be addressed in order to make real-time monitoring and effective alerts a reality.
- Activities of daily living
- Remote sensing technology