Aging creates needs for assistive support across all activities of daily living (meal preparation, dressing, social participation, stove monitoring, etc.). These needs are mostly addressed by a silo-based approach that requires a new assistive service to be acquired for every activity to be supported. In practice, these services manifest their silo-based nature in their user interactions, and more specifically, in the heterogeneity of their notification system. This heterogeneity incurs a cognitive cost that prevents scaling up assistive services and compromises adoption by older adults.
This paper presents an approach to scaling up the combination of assistive services by proposing a unifying notification system. To do so, (1) we propose a decomposition of assistive services to expose their needs in notification; (2) we introduce a notification framework, allowing heterogeneous assistive services to homogeneously notify users; (3) we present how this notification framework is carried out in practice for an assisted living platform. We successfully applied our approach to a range of existing and new assistive services. We used our notification framework to implement an assistive platform that combines a variety of assistive services. This platform has been deployed and used 24/7 at the home of 15 older adults for up to 6 months. This study provides empirical evidence of the effectiveness and learnability of the notification system of our platform, irrespective of the cognitive and sensory resources of the user. Additional results show that our assisted living platform achieved high user acceptance and satisfaction.
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