The Human Element: Social Leveraging of User Engagement with Assisted Living Technology

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Research into user engagement with assisted living technology (ALT) has investigated design issues including usability, functionality and aesthetics; looked at user attitude and acceptance research; and examined social factors including the need to create ALT which appropriately supports the relationship between users and service providers. Based on an empirical case study of older persons’ independent living services offered by a large UK housing provider, we propose that there is a further, key dimension of ALT user engagement: social leveraging. We show how user engagement with key ALT including personal pendant alarms, pull cords and intercoms is shaped and supported in important ways by the ongoing social interaction of residents and skilled staff at independent living schemes. We discuss implications of social leveraging for reconsidering the importance of human resource as part of independent living services, during a time of transition to new technological models, and in light of current funding and organizational priorities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-454
Number of pages16
JournalInteracting with Computers
Issue number3
Early online date21 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • collaborative and social computing
  • concept analysis
  • assistive technology
  • user studies
  • Elderly people
  • concepts
  • assistive technologies
  • elderly/seniors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)

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