Special Issue "Assistive Technologies in Elder Care and Assistance"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Care Sciences & Services".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Mirko Di Rosa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Unit of Geriatric Pharmacoepidemiology and Biostatistics, IRCCS INRCA, Ancona, Italy
Interests: data analysis; long term care; clinical trials; health technology assessment; gerontechnology; public services
Dr. Roberta Bevilacqua
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Scientific Direction, IRCCS INRCA, Ancona, Italy
Interests: technology acceptance; usability; human computer interaction; human robot interaction; social robotics; user centered design; clinical trials; robotic rehabilitation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The dramatic change in the population distribution brings several long-term societal implications, such as loss of independence, multimorbidity, and need of daily care and assistance.

Research on technological innovation has made significant efforts in designing and implementing solutions to improve older people’s independence and provide relief for caregivers.

Nevertheless, the adoption of gerontechnological products is still low, due to a lack of strategies to improve acceptability and usability, the absence of clear personalized features, and the difficulty of demonstrating the efficacy of complex systems (e.g., social robots and virtual agents in general) through evidence-based methods. A closer interaction between healthcare and technology researchers is mandatory in order to ensure that these new systems address the unsolved needs of the older population.

This Special Issue aims to provide an opportunity for researchers to submit their contributions to the design and evaluation of new technologies for monitoring and supporting human well-being in several respects: physical, cognitive, emotional, affective, and social. Within this domain, we welcome original research manuscripts including new significant technical contributions to social robotics, virtual agents and virtual reality, AI and machine and deep learning, human–computer and human–robot interaction for assisted living, and applications to support assisted-living scenarios. Given the lack of publicly available data specific to this topic, contributions also reporting realistic benchmarks related to the elderly are very welcome.

Dr. Mirko Di Rosa
Dr. Roberta Bevilacqua
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • long-term care
  • family caregivers
  • elder care
  • social robotics
  • assistive technology
  • virtual agents
  • virtual reality
  • machine learning
  • artificial intelligence

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
A Qualitative Study toward Technologies for Active and Healthy Aging: A Thematic Analysis of Perspectives among Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary End Users
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7489; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18147489 - 14 Jul 2021
Viewed by 339
Abstract
It is expected that, by 2050, people aged over 60 in 65 nations will constitute 30% of the total population. Healthy aging is at the top of the world political agenda as a possible means for hindering the collapse of care systems. How [...] Read more.
It is expected that, by 2050, people aged over 60 in 65 nations will constitute 30% of the total population. Healthy aging is at the top of the world political agenda as a possible means for hindering the collapse of care systems. How can ICT/sensing technology meet older people’s needs for active and healthy aging? This qualitative study carried out in Italy and Romania in 2020 involved 30 participants: older adults, caregivers, and stakeholders. Based on a user-centered design approach, this study aimed to understand which requirements of ICT/sensing technologies could match people’s needs of active and healthy aging. Findings highlighted that ICT/sensing technology needs to focus on six major themes: (1) learnability, (2) security, (3) independence, empowerment, and coaching values, (4) social isolation, (5) impact of habit, culture, and education variables, and (6) personalized solutions. These themes are consistent with the Active Aging framework and the factors that influence perceived usefulness and potential benefits among older adults. Consequently, this study shows how well-known, but still unresolved, issues affect the field of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to promote active and healthy aging. This suggests that the reinforcement of the public health system, especially considering the pandemic effect, requires a concrete and formidable effort from an interdisciplinary research network. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assistive Technologies in Elder Care and Assistance)
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Article
Effect of the Information Support Robot on the Daily Activity of Older People Living Alone in Actual Living Environment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2498; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18052498 - 03 Mar 2021
Viewed by 801
Abstract
Information support robots (ISRs) have the potential to assist older people living alone to have an independent life. However, the effects of ISRs on the daily activity, especially the sleep patterns, of older people have not been clarified; moreover, it is unclear whether [...] Read more.
Information support robots (ISRs) have the potential to assist older people living alone to have an independent life. However, the effects of ISRs on the daily activity, especially the sleep patterns, of older people have not been clarified; moreover, it is unclear whether the effects of ISRs depend on the levels of cognitive function. To investigate these effects, we introduced an ISR into the actual living environment and then quantified induced changes according to the levels of cognitive function. Older people who maintained their cognitive function demonstrated the following behavioral changes after using the ISR: faster wake-up times, reduced sleep duration, and increased amount of activity in the daytime (p < 0.05, r = 0.77; p < 0.05, r = 0.89, and p < 0.1, r = 0.70, respectively). The results suggest that the ISR is beneficial in supporting the independence of older people living alone since living alone is associated with disturbed sleep patterns and low physical activity. The impact of the ISR on daily activity was more remarkable in the subjects with high cognitive function than in those with low cognitive function. These findings suggest that cognitive function is useful information in the ISR adaptation process. The present study has more solid external validity than that of a controlled environment study since it was done in a personal residential space. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assistive Technologies in Elder Care and Assistance)
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