Assess User Needs for Home-Based Activities

Principal Investigator: 
Brad Fain, Ph.D
Team: 
Elena Remillard M.S., Sarah Farmer B.S., & Cara Fausset Ph.D.

Little is known about the unique challenges older adults with long-term disabilities experience in the home. For these individuals, the addition of "normal" age-related declines on top of a long-term disability, are likely to create complex challenges in carrying out Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as bathing, toileting, and transferring. The difficulties and barriers this population face are best documented by direct observation in the home. In this project, we conducted in-home interviews with older adults with long-term disabilities to explore these activity challenges in-depth. By exploring how and why routines for specific ADLs changed overtime, we identified common activity challenges, persisting un-met needs, as well as the solutions being used to address those challenges (e.g., assistive technologies, home modifications).

In addition to the rich qualitative data collected in this in-home study, our team captured photos that document environmental barriers and adaptations among people aging with disability. Collectively, these findings were used to develop educational personas that demonstrate design challenges to support people aging with disability. Each data-driven persona contains a scenario based on a real observation that is supplemented with creative narratives and photos to provide further context to support a design exercise for students.

 
Accessible ramp with railing as entrance to home   Adjustable bed for transfer and positioning support   Bathroom with assistive technologies: grab bars, bath cushion, raised toilet seat
 
  
Select Publications: 
Remillard, E. T., Fausset, C. B., Fain, W. B. (2017). Aging with mobility impairment: Maintaining activities of daily living via selection, optimization, and compensation. The Gerontologist.
 
Sanath, A. A., Mahajan, H., Gonzalez, E. T., Sanford, J. A., & Fain, W. B. (2016). Analysis of the effect of a rear wall grab bar configuration on the fall risk associated with toilet transfer in older adults with mobility impairment. In Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America (RESNA) Annual Conference 2016. Available on RESNA.org
 
Gonzalez, E., Fausset, C. B., Foster, A., Cha, G. & Fain, W. B. (2015). Moving in, out and around the home: solutions from older adults with long-term mobility impairment. In Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America (RESNA) Annual Conference 2015. Available on RESNA.org
 
Fain, W. B., & Farmer, S. (2017). Development of personas for designing for individuals with mobility impairments (TechSAge-TR-1703). Atlanta, GA: Georgia Institute of Technology, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technologies to Support Successful Aging with Disability.
 
Fain, W. B., & Farmer, S. (2017). Challenges in the home for adults aging with mobility impairments (TechSAge-TR-1702). Atlanta, GA: Georgia Institute of Technology, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technologies to Support Successful Aging with Disability.
 
Fain, W. B., & Farmer, S. (2017). Medication adherence for older adults with disabilities (TechSAge-TR-1701). Atlanta, GA: Georgia Institute of Technology, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technologies to Support Successful Aging with Disability.