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Sensors (Basel). 2018 Jun 25;18(7). pii: E2027. doi: 10.3390/s18072027.

Ambient Sensors for Elderly Care and Independent Living: A Survey.

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Department of Informatics, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway.
Department of Informatics, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway.
Department of Informatics, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway.


Elderly care at home is a matter of great concern if the elderly live alone, since unforeseen circumstances might occur that affect their well-being. Technologies that assist the elderly in independent living are essential for enhancing care in a cost-effective and reliable manner. Elderly care applications often demand real-time observation of the environment and the resident’s activities using an event-driven system. As an emerging area of research and development, it is necessary to explore the approaches of the elderly care system in the literature to identify current practices for future research directions. Therefore, this work is aimed at a comprehensive survey of non-wearable (i.e., ambient) sensors for various elderly care systems. This research work is an effort to obtain insight into different types of ambient-sensor-based elderly monitoring technologies in the home. With the aim of adopting these technologies, research works, and their outcomes are reported. Publications have been included in this survey if they reported mostly ambient sensor-based monitoring technologies that detect elderly events (e.g., activities of daily living and falls) with the aim of facilitating independent living. Mostly, different types of non-contact sensor technologies were identified, such as motion, pressure, video, object contact, and sound sensors. Besides, multicomponent technologies (i.e., combinations of ambient sensors with wearable sensors) and smart technologies were identified. In addition to room-mounted ambient sensors, sensors in robot-based elderly care works are also reported. Research that is related to the use of elderly behavior monitoring technologies is widespread, but it is still in its infancy and consists mostly of limited-scale studies. Elderly behavior monitoring technology is a promising field, especially for long-term elderly care. However, monitoring technologies should be taken to the next level with more detailed studies that evaluate and demonstrate their potential to contribute to prolonging the independent living of elderly people.


ambient sensors; elderly; survey

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