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Professor Sarah Pink is the director of Monash's Emerging Technologies Lab. Source: Supplied.

New film asks if smart home tech enriches older people’s lives?

During the first year of COVID-19, researchers installed smart home technologies into the households of older people to observe how digital devices impacted their lives.

Smart Homes for Seniors, directed by Professor Sarah Pink, captured this journey through the eyes of 11 of the study's participants from their homes in regional NSW.

The documentary film follows the group as they and their pets learn to live with smart lights and kettles, digital voice assistants and robotic vacuum cleaners.

Pink says that there were many joyous ways that each individual chose to use their technologies, whether it be to play their favourite music or to communicate with their loved ones.

“Home isn’t just a house or an apartment, home is a feeling and home is about who you have around you,” she told Aged Care Insite.

“As we start to see more new and more intelligent digital technologies become part of the home, home is also bound up in that relationship that you create and encounter with these new things.”

The film was recently screened for international audiences and was selected for the 2021 Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles.

The 30-minute documentary was the final result of the Intelligent Home Solutions Project.

The research brought provider McLean Care into a partnership with specialist researchers from Monash University’s Emerging Technologies Research Lab, and Deakin University’s CADET Virtual Reality Training and Simulation Research Lab.

Pink, who is the director of Monash's Emerging Technologies Research Lab, says that we need to "completely re-think the way we design technologies".

“I think we need to think about seniors and their independence in a range of different ways."

“One of those is about respecting their expertise and knowledge and ability to advise and care for others, and to think how smart home technologies can assist them in continuing those roles.”

Pink joined Aged Care Insite to chat about Smart Homes for Seniors.

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