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1. The reality of the situation we face now is that Asian American 2nd and 3rd generational children are adapting to American culture and American views on aging, which typically involve sending older adults to elderly homes or assistive care, etc. So culturally, we are perceiving many many Asian older adults at a frustrating loss because of cultural expectations falling through. It'd be important to assess how the current American culture perceives the younger generation's role in helping older adults, and to what extent we should pursue encouraging more youth involvement versus creating products such as automated smart home systems which can allow older adults to live more independently.

2. Khuyen Bui Gia , to your point of predictive analytics, there are already groups of researchers that have looked into this point, and there are definitely ways to make this possible. I've learned about research being conducted at USC by a PhD candidate Yi-an Chen in Biokinesiology (http://pt.usc.edu/Research/Research_Laboratories/Motor_Behavior_and_Neurorehabilitation/People/MBNL_Profiles/Chen,_Yi-an/). She's done work in predicting an older adult's likelihood of developing Parkinson's disease based on their gait, or their walking style. How does she collect the data about their walking? A Kinect! In the home! IEEE also has published works on health monitoring with the Kinect (http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/6315918/). In that paper's introduction, they even specifically point out that gait is a predictor of falling, and that “It is not the fall itself but the complications cause by the falls that leads to death. Falls account for over 80% of all injury-related admissions to hospital of people over 65 years. Falls are also the leading cause of unintentional injury death in these individuals and responsible for appreciable morbidity. According to statistics, 70% of accidental deaths in persons over 75 [3].” So in this way, I think that there are definitely ways to visually detect how likely an older adult will fall, amongst other health concerns, in a smart home.

3. In whatever solution we finally come up with, it certainly is important to cultivate the relationship between older adult and any family members they have, through technology such as a smart home, so that the help they receive is not just automated. Related to your comment Rodney Lobo I'd even try and relate this to how smart homes could interact with one another, similar to the notion that Augmented Reality (AR) could make drivers more empathetic (https://www.newscientist.com/article/2122561-augmented-reality-lets-cars-communicate-to-reduce-road-rage/). What if homes could communicate with each other about how a neighbor is doing? I know that in my family, we have a great relationship with our neighbors and we often help bring our elderly neighbors to their hospital appointments. But not all neighbors have this existing relationship, so what if smart homes could help neighbors be more empathetic and involved in making each other’s lives healthier, happier, and safer?

Lots of food for thought here, but happy to be discussing all these ideas with you all!

Kate Rushton Khuyen Bui Gia Rodney Lobo 

Continuing this conversation in a new comment-chain!

Khuyen Bui Gia , to your point about 2-generational vs. 3-generational families impact on older adult falling rates, I don't know what the stats are but that's such a great point to bring up and to keep in mind for the design of such a smart home. Its users / notifiers could be both older adults and their families, helping them keep in touch as much as possible.

I took an introductory gerontology class and it was really interesting learning about how different racial communities access healthcare resources differently or even learn about them all because of the way they live. There's also a difference in what role these older adults their children to have in their later lives.

Asians and Asian Americans expect their children and/or grandchildren to care for them as they grow older. They also tend to avoid visiting hospitals as much as possible since needing medical care is seen as a weakness in that culture. This can be dangerous for older adults who refuse to voluntarily alert their doctor(s) of their troubles walking or other health symptoms. Hispanic communities on the other hand may not access healthcare information because of language barriers--medical information not being dispersed to communities in Spanish--and having such large families with many children to take care. A busy household makes it more difficult for aging Hispanic older adults to take time away from their family responsibilities to get medical attention when they need it. This is just a generalized trend that gerontologists have perceived. What has been said however is that Hispanic families tend to live in clusters of neighborhoods with similar demographics, making everyday life easier than maybe Asian Americans who don't live in concentrated Asian neighborhoods as they age. One has the advantage of having a community support group and common markets and stores that all share similar culture. I have a few things to say about all of these: