The objective of this project is to design and validate an indoor location system aimed at monitoring the elderly in their own homes.
Senior Monitoring is an indoor location system based on Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE technology. It is easy to use and non-intrusive. It only requires the installation of Bluetooth beacons in different rooms. These beacons can detect the presence of other Bluetooth devices, such as smart watches or activity bracelets worn by the elderly person. In this way, the system allows to know where the person is in the home at any given moment. The design and technology used guarantees long-lasting autonomous use, avoiding the need for the person to frequently charge the watch or bracelet battery. Initially the project had been developed using wifi signals but finally it has been decided to introduce Bluetooth so that this tool can be used in uncrowded areas, villages and small towns.
The location system devices allow data to be collected in real time. These data serve as a basis for the creation of behavioural models of elderly people in their own homes using artificial intelligence techniques. These models make it possible to establish what a person's usual behaviour pattern is. From the model, statistical techniques are applied to detect possible discrepancies and anomalies in behaviour.
According to the scientific literature, a change in behavioural patterns may indicate the appearance of early stages of cognitive impairment in older people. These data allow researchers to associate changes in behaviour with other physical and mental health variables.
Pilot test at the UJI University for the Elderly
A pilot study was carried out with elderly volunteers and students at the University for the Elderly of the Universitat Jaume I in Castellón de La Plana. The experimental phase lasted three weeks, during which the elderly used the device to monitor their behaviour at home. They received support from the research team periodically, both in person and through a WhatsApp group.
The results obtained so far indicate that the users of the monitoring device have positively valued the ease of its configuration. Also, the fact that it is not necessary to install any other type of device in the homes for the correct functioning of the system. The data collected during the experimental phase have shown an acceptable accuracy in terms of estimating the location of elderly people in their own homes. This level of accuracy will allow the creation of behavioural patterns from the collected data.