A Systematic Approach and Design Guidelines for the Development of Smart Bathrooms Considering the Senior Population
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Industrial and Graphic Design
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Around the world, populations are aging, and the life expectancy of the senior population is also increasing. At the same time, a large portion of the elderly prefer to stay at home, which is known as aging in place. However, inevitably, the elderly are suffering physical, sensory and cognitive limitations, which result in difficulties in their mobility, self-care and household activities. Among these difficulties, bathroom activities, such as bathing, showering and toileting, may be the most troublesome for the elderly who are aging in place. In other words, the elderly need assistance, from assistive products or persons, to accomplish bathroom activities. However, assistive products, particularly for the elderly in their bathrooms, are still limited and mainly include products such as grab bars, which cannot meet all the needs of the elderly. Thanks to advantages in automation and communication, smart technology is one of the most promising solutions for aging in place. In a smart home, the elderly will be able to maintain their autonomy under the assistance from smart products, and can live independently as long as possible with the help of smart technology. However, it is undeniable that the elderly frequently have the lowest acceptance of new technology and products. In order to instruct designers to design a smart bathroom that (1) fits the elderly’s needs, (2) is willing to be adopted by the elderly and (3) gives full play of the advantages of smart home technology, an approach and design guidelines will be proposed.