PURPOSE: The early detection of a decline in daily functioning of independently living older people can aid health care professionals in providing preventive interventions. To monitor daily activity patterns and, thereby detect a decline in daily functioning, new technologies, such as sensors can be placed in the home environment. The purpose of this qualitative study was to determine the perspectives of older people regarding the use of sensor monitoring in their daily lives.
DESIGN AND METHODS: We conducted indepth, semistructured interviews with 11 persons between 68 and 93 years who had a sensor monitoring system installed in their home. The data were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.
RESULTS: The interviewed older persons positively valued sensor monitoring and indicated that the technology served as a strategy to enable independent living. The participants perceived that the system contributed to their sense of safety as an important premise for independent living. Some of the participants stated that it helped them to remain active. The potential privacy violation was not an issue for the participants. The participants considered that health care professionals' continuous access to their sensor data and use of the data for their safety outweighed the privacy concerns.
IMPLICATIONS: These results provide new evidence that older persons experience sensor monitoring as an opportunity or strategy that contributes to independent living and that does not disturb their natural way of living. Based on this study, the development of new strategies to provide older people with access to their sensor data must be further explored.