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Autonomous Ageing at home in the digital age

A mixed method evaluation of assistive apps and wearables

At a glance



Most olderadults wish to age in their own homes and familiar environments. "Aging inplace" refers to the ability of living safely and autonomously in one'sfamiliar surroundings, regardless of individual capabilities. Apps andwearables can support "aging in place" and healthy ageing byproviding tools and resources to manage physical and cognitive health, safetyand overall well-being at home. Despite their potential, apps and wearables areslowly being accepted and used by older adults. Therefore, the expectedbenefits, needs, and attitudes of older adults, caregivers, healthcareprofessionals, and other relevant stakeholders need to be clarified. Inaddition, to effectively promote these devices, information on the quality of appsand wearables and recommendations for their use are required.

The overallobjective of this project is to provide an overview and clear recommendationsfor the use and development of widely applicable apps and wearables to supporthealthy aging and autonomous living in old age. The recommendations will bebased on the expected benefits, needs, and attitudes from the perspective ofolder adults, caregivers, and healthcare professionals, as well as anassessment of the quality of existing apps and wearables.


The project uses a mixed-method research design and consists ofthree complementary work packages:

  1. The expected benefits, needs and potential barriers andfacilitators will be elicited based on a) qualitative focus group discussionswith older, community-dwelling adults, family carers or relatives of olderadults, health professionals, and general practitioners; and b) expertinterviews with experts and specialists from informatics, law, ethics, healthinsurance, economy etc.
  2. Based on a scoping research, an overview of the apps andwearables available in Switzerland will be compiled. The quality will beassessed using an existing criteria catalogue, developed and tested at the ZHAWSchool of Health Sciences. In addition, we will evaluate the extent to whichthe apps and wearables meet the expected benefits and needs identified in workpackage 1.
  3. A synthesis and recommendations will be developed based on theresults and disseminated.


The resultsare expected by early 2025. In addition to contributions to scientific journalsand at conferences, we plan to disseminate the findings into practice throughvarious channels (e.g., LinkedIn) and platforms (e.g., website). Our goal is toreach older adults, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and policymakers.