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Sustainable Technology and Elderly Life

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainability in Geographic Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 December 2021) | Viewed by 21857

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Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Computer Science and Engineering Department, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 28911 Leganés, Madrid, Spain
Interests: accessible technology; human-machine interaction; advanced databases; data integration and big data; data extraction

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Guest Editor
Computer Science and Engineering Department, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 28911 Leganés, Madrid, Spain
Interests: big data; knowledge information system; web design; e-learning

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Guest Editor
Library and Information Science Department, Universidad Complutense, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: natural language processing (NLP); knowledge organization systems; information retrieval; digital literacy; e-learning

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Guest Editor
Department of Telematic Engineering, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 28911 Leganés, Madrid, Spain
Interests: e-learning; simulation; mixed reality; accessibility and usability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nowadays, managing the ageing population in a sustainable world is a major challenge. The world population is getting older, due to increasing life expectancy, but also a lower fertility rate. In 2000, the global average age was 25.6. In 2020, it is 30.5. Other areas have a more marked evolution; southern Europe has, in 2020, an average age of 45.9, which is predicted to become 51.3 by 2050. In Japan, the averge age in 2020 is 48.5, and this is predicted to become 53.3 by 2050. According to the WHO, the number of people aged over 60 will increase from the current 600 million in 2020 to over two billion in 2050.

Social and personal challenges arise. Social challenges are related to the maintenance of health care, pensions or social security systems, for example. Personal challenges are related to older people’s feeling of loneliness or social isolation, for instance, when they are living alone.

The use of sustainable technology has been shown to be very useful in later life (wearable devices for health, sensors to track the senior’s activity, socially assistive robots in residential homes, etc.). Moreover, as we are currently immersed in the worldwide pandemic known as COVID-19, special care is required when it comes to the elderly. However, many elderly people are reluctant to use it, due to fears related to technology, lack of resources and access, low interest, lack of familiarity or security concerns.  Fortunately, this trend is changing, and many people over 60 (also called “silvers”) are demanding more apps for leisure and free time.

In this Special Issue, to be published in Sustainability, we want to provide a forum that collects current proposals that address these challenges, and to aspire to a future where healthy ageing with sustainable technology is possible.

Sustainability is an international open access journal that provides an advanced forum for research findings in areas related to sustainability and sustainable development.

In particular, the main topics in this Special Issue should cover, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Sustainable and accessible technology for elderly life
  • Model-driven technologies for elderly people
  • Senior friendly interfaces in robotics, wearables devices and/or computers
  • eHealth, eEducation and/or eCare for elderly life
  • Sensor technologies for elderly life
  • Sustainable technology for the social needs of elderly people
  • Data science and/or artificial intelligence IA applications to process data collected by sensors aiming to improve healthy ageing in elderly life
  • Leisure apps and long-life e-learning platforms for seniors
  • Applications that support the evolution of technologies for seniors, that cover topics such as standards, interoperability and re-use

This Special Issue aims to collect contributions to cover the research gaps in sustainable technology for elderly life, providing a reference resource to the scientific community working in this area.

Research papers, concept papers, communications, comprehensive reviews and empirical applications are welcome to submit to this special cause issue.

Prof. Dr. Ana Iglesias
Prof. Dr. Jorge Morato
Prof. Dr. Sonia Sanchez-Cuadrado
Prof. Dr. Carmen Fernández-Panadero
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainable technology
  • technology and elderly life
  • accessible technology

Published Papers (6 papers)

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14 pages, 3920 KiB  
Article
Empirical Study of Virtual Reality to Promote Intergenerational Communication: Taiwan Traditional Glove Puppetry as Example
by Wen-Huei Chou, Yi-Chun Li, Ya-Fang Chen, Mieko Ohsuga and Tsuyoshi Inoue
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3213; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063213 - 9 Mar 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2394
Abstract
Based on glove puppetry, a traditional cultural pursuit of Taiwan, this study designed a virtual reality (VR) intergenerational game to bring together the elderly and young participants. In the game, a system of cooperation and sharing was constructed which would lead to an [...] Read more.
Based on glove puppetry, a traditional cultural pursuit of Taiwan, this study designed a virtual reality (VR) intergenerational game to bring together the elderly and young participants. In the game, a system of cooperation and sharing was constructed which would lead to an exchange between experience and knowledge of traditional culture and digital technology and result in intergenerational interaction and communication learning. Through interviews with eight subjects after the empirical study, this study explored the operation and experience of this game, the perception of interaction and dialogue, and the cultural heritage and learning. According to the research findings, VR game cultural elements and technology learning positively influence intergenerational relations and communication. Key factors of VR intergenerational games include the following: (1) the game content must be attractive for the elderly; (2) the operating procedure of the game and affordance of the interface for the elderly must be simplified; and (3) the game must establish a sense of achievement for players. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Technology and Elderly Life)
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18 pages, 1354 KiB  
Article
Digital Health and Care Study on Elderly Monitoring
by Maksym Gaiduk, Ralf Seepold, Natividad Martínez Madrid and Juan Antonio Ortega
Sustainability 2021, 13(23), 13376; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313376 - 2 Dec 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2597
Abstract
Sustainable technologies are being increasingly used in various areas of human life. While they have a multitude of benefits, they are especially useful in health monitoring, especially for certain groups of people, such as the elderly. However, there are still several issues that [...] Read more.
Sustainable technologies are being increasingly used in various areas of human life. While they have a multitude of benefits, they are especially useful in health monitoring, especially for certain groups of people, such as the elderly. However, there are still several issues that need to be addressed before its use becomes widespread. This work aims to clarify the aspects that are of great importance for increasing the acceptance of the use of this type of technology in the elderly. In addition, we aim to clarify whether the technologies that are already available are able to ensure acceptable accuracy and whether they could replace some of the manual approaches that are currently being used. A two-week study with people 65 years of age and over was conducted to address the questions posed here, and the results were evaluated. It was demonstrated that simplicity of use and automatic functioning play a crucial role. It was also concluded that technology cannot yet completely replace traditional methods such as questionnaires in some areas. Although the technologies that were tested were classified as being “easy to use”, the elderly population in the current study indicated that they were not sure that they would use these technologies regularly in the long term because the added value is not always clear, among other issues. Therefore, awareness-raising must take place in parallel with the development of technologies and services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Technology and Elderly Life)
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16 pages, 644 KiB  
Article
The Role of Socially Assistive Robots in the Care of Older People: To Assist in Cognitive Training, to Remind or to Accompany?
by Sylwia Łukasik, Sławomir Tobis, Julia Suwalska, Dorota Łojko, Maria Napierała, Marek Proch, Agnieszka Neumann-Podczaska and Aleksandra Suwalska
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10394; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810394 - 17 Sep 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3132
Abstract
The rapid development of new technologies has caused interest in the use of socially assistive robots in the care of older people. These devices can be used not only to monitor states of health and assist in everyday activities but also to counteract [...] Read more.
The rapid development of new technologies has caused interest in the use of socially assistive robots in the care of older people. These devices can be used not only to monitor states of health and assist in everyday activities but also to counteract the deterioration of cognitive functioning. The aim of the study was to investigate the attitudes and preferences of Polish respondents towards interventions aimed at the preservation/improvement of cognitive functions delivered by a socially assistive robot. A total of 166 individuals entered the study. Respondents completed the User’s Needs, Requirements and Attitudes Questionnaire; items connected to cognitive and physical activity and social interventions were analyzed. Perceptions and attitudes were compared by gender and age groups (older adults ≥ 60 years old and younger adults 20–59). Women showed a more positive attitude towards robots than men and had a significantly higher perception of the role of the robots in reminding about medications (p = 0.033) as well as meal times and drinks (p = 0.018). There were no significant differences between age groups. Respondents highly valued both the traditional role of the robot—a reminding function—as well as the cognitive interventions and guided physical exercises provided by it. Our findings point to the acceptance of the use of socially assistive robots in the prevention of cognitive deterioration in older people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Technology and Elderly Life)
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13 pages, 290 KiB  
Article
Exergames to Prevent the Secondary Functional Deterioration of Older Adults during Hospitalization and Isolation Periods during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Ana Isabel Corregidor-Sánchez, Begoña Polonio-López, José Luis Martin-Conty, Marta Rodríguez-Hernández, Laura Mordillo-Mateos, Santiago Schez-Sobrino and Juan José Criado-Álvarez
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7932; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147932 - 15 Jul 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3467
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic is having an intense impact on the functional capacity of older adults, making them more vulnerable to frailty and dependency. The development of preventive and rehabilitative measures which counteract the consequences of confinement or hospitalization is an urgent need. Exergaming [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having an intense impact on the functional capacity of older adults, making them more vulnerable to frailty and dependency. The development of preventive and rehabilitative measures which counteract the consequences of confinement or hospitalization is an urgent need. Exergaming can promote physical activity, prevent falls, and maintain functional and cognitive capacity. However, although the use of exergames in health programs for the elderly is promising, their widespread use should not be considered without the supervision of a social health professional. Therefore, the objective of this work was to evaluate and analyze three video game consoles (Nintendo Wii®, Xbox-Kinect® and Play Station 4®) and 26 commercial exergames with the aim of identifying their usefulness for the prevention of functional deterioration. Three occupational therapists analyzed the data independently, and subsequently agreed on the results. The examination of the commercial consoles met three criteria: components, interaction channels and the type of the exergame. Each exergame was analyzed taking into account its ability to train postural control, balance, upper limb functionality and cognitive function. The results of the evaluation showed that exergames contain game activities that can be part of the rehabilitative treatment aimed at the prevention of the functional impairment of older people affected by COVID. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Technology and Elderly Life)
17 pages, 3976 KiB  
Article
A Platform Based on Personalized Exergames and Natural User Interfaces to Promote Remote Physical Activity and Improve Healthy Aging in Elderly People
by Cristian Gómez-Portes, David Vallejo, Ana-Isabel Corregidor-Sánchez, Marta Rodríguez-Hernández, José L. Martín-Conty, Santiago Schez-Sobrino and Begoña Polonio-López
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7578; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147578 - 7 Jul 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2598
Abstract
In recent years, there has been a significant growth in the number of research works focused on improving the lifestyle and health of elderly people by means of technology. Telerehabilitation and the promotion of physical activity at home have been two of the [...] Read more.
In recent years, there has been a significant growth in the number of research works focused on improving the lifestyle and health of elderly people by means of technology. Telerehabilitation and the promotion of physical activity at home have been two of the fields that have attracted more attention, especially currently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, elderly people are sometimes reluctant to use technology at home, mainly due to fear of technology and lack of familiarity. In this context, this article presents a low-cost platform that relies on exergames and natural user interfaces to promote physical activity at home and improve the quality of life in elderly people. The underlying system is easy to use and accessible, offering a number of interaction mechanisms that guide users through the execution of routines and exercises. A relevant feature of the proposal is the ability to customize the exergames, making it possible for the therapist to adapt them according to the user’s needs. Motivation is also addressed within the developed platform to maintain the user’s engagement level as time passes by. An empirical experiment is conducted to measure the usability and motivational aspects of the proposal, which was evaluated by 17 users between 62 and 89 years of age. The obtained results showed that the proposal was well received, considering that most of the users were not experienced at all with exergame-based systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Technology and Elderly Life)
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35 pages, 6165 KiB  
Systematic Review
Sustainable Technologies for Older Adults
by Jorge Morato, Sonia Sanchez-Cuadrado, Ana Iglesias, Adrián Campillo and Carmen Fernández-Panadero
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8465; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158465 - 29 Jul 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 5422
Abstract
The exponential evolution of technology and the growth of the elderly population are two phenomena that will inevitably interact with increasing frequency in the future. This paper analyses scientific literature as a means of furthering progress in sustainable technology for senior living. We [...] Read more.
The exponential evolution of technology and the growth of the elderly population are two phenomena that will inevitably interact with increasing frequency in the future. This paper analyses scientific literature as a means of furthering progress in sustainable technology for senior living. We carried out a bibliometric analysis of papers published in this area and compiled by the Web of Science (WOS) and Scopus, examining the main participants and advances in the field from 2000 to the first quarter of 2021. The study describes some interesting research projects addressing three different aspects of older adults’ daily lives—health, daily activities and wellbeing—and policies to promote healthy aging and improve the sustainability of the healthcare system. It also looks at lines of research into transversal characteristics of technology. Our analysis showed that publications mentioning sustainability technologies for older adults have been growing progressively since the 2000s, but that the big increase in the number of research works in this area took place during the period 2016–2021. These more recent works show a tendency to study those factors that improve healthy aging, ensure the social inclusion of the elderly through technology and prolong the time in which they can live independent lives thanks to smart environments. Current research gaps in the literature are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Technology and Elderly Life)
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