The desire to maintain an independent lifestyle is one shared by an increasing number of older adults. Adult children, spouses, siblings, and other relatives, also known as family caregivers, play an integral role in helping their loved ones maintain independence. Remote monitoring technologies (RMTs) such as wearable sensors, mobile emergency devices, smartphone apps, and webcams can be used to monitor, sense, record, and communicate a person’s daily activities. However, understanding is limited of the family caregiver’s needs and perceptions of RMTs used in a home-based setting. The purpose was to explore how family caregivers perceive RMTs and their use for monitoring and supporting their care recipients who choose to live independently. We used a survey to capture some basic characteristics of family caregivers, what they know about RMTs, and to recruit interview participants. We conducted semi-structured interviews with four participants who shared the commonality of caring for a relative with dementia. We reported the survey data using descriptive statistics and we applied interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to analyze and report results from the interviews. Four themes emerged including the unique relationships that exist in family care, the risk-benefit conundrum that accompanies benefits and tradeoffs of RMT use, human-technology interaction and usability, and the importance of creating tailored solutions to facilitate RMT adoption and use. Our findings provide insight into factors impacting adoption and use.


Remote Monitoring Technology, Family Caregivers, Aging, Dementia, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

Author Bio(s)

Martha M. Snyder, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department Computing in the College of Computing and Engineering at Nova Southeastern University. She has 25+ years combined experience in learning design and computing technology, user-centered design, and project management. Her research interests include non-technical aspects of cyber defense such as cyber awareness, education and training; knowledge management and workplace learning; linking health and wellness interventions with technology application, and privacy and technology use among older adults. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: smithmt@nova.edu.

Laurie P. Dringus, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Computing in the College of Engineering and Computing at Nova Southeastern University. She has 25+ years in research, teaching, and practice in human-computer interaction (HCI). Her background in information systems (IS) and psychology enables her to study the impacts of the use of technology in various contexts. Her research blends HCI, IS, and computer-mediated communication (CMC), focusing on understanding the complex nature of human interaction in technology. Her interest in this study focuses on usability and human-centered design of RMTs. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: laurie@nova.edu.

Manon Maitland Schladen, Ph.D. is a senior research associate at the MedStar Health Research Institute and an assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine at the Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC. She is a 2018-2020 Craig H. Neilsen psychosocial research fellow studying the experience of wearable robotic exoskeletons among people with spinal cord injury. Manon is also an investigator on the recently funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Patient-centered, Home-based Technologies to Assess and Treat Motor Impairment in Individuals with Neurologic Injury where she studies how to design and improve technologies to help parents/caregivers detect motor delay in infants in the home, children with cerebral palsy increase compliance with home exercise through game-based robotic therapies, and people with stroke use robotics for hand therapy and to assist in activity. Manon received her doctorate in computing technology in education from Nova Southeastern University. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: manon.schladen@georgetown.edu.

Ronald J. Chenail, Ph.D. is Interim University Provost and Executive VP for Academic Affairs, Professor of Family Therapy, and Director of the Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Research at Nova Southeastern University. He is also Editor-in-Chief of The Qualitative Report and the Journal of Divorce and Remarriage. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: ron@nova.edu.

Elizabeth (Liz) Oviawe, Ph.D. Ed.S., M.S.B.I., M.M.I.S., M.Sc, earned her Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Education; three Masters degrees including Computer Science, Management Information Systems and Biomedical Informatics. She holds a degree as an Educational Specialist and completed her Ph.D. degree in Computing Technology in Education. She has professional certifications in the administration of Microsoft applications and NextGen electronic health records. She currently serves as the Director of the Division of Institutional Technology and has Faculty Instructor and Adjunct appointment at Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: oviawe@nova.edu.


Funding provided from Nova Southeastern University's President's Faculty Research & Development Grant 2018

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