The Thai population is increasingly becoming an aging society. Key issues requiring attention to improve the quality of life in an aging society are health, housing, the environment and socio-economic issues. Housing, the environment and activities for the elderly are important and many projects have been developed for the elderly, such as home care service and homes for the aging. Smart Home projects developed as prototypes for the homes of the elderly include technology and other innovations to help improve quality of life.
However, such projects that move elders to new, better designed aging-friendly homes may not be suitable for the needs of older people who do not wish to relocate to a new environment, community or housing. This is consistent with findings from articles and research that describe “ageing in place” or, “the ability to live in their home and environment in the first place”. Therefore, it is essential for a multidisciplinary team to create a standardised model for assessing and improving homes, and specific activities for their existing occupants.
The objective of the Smart Home, Smart Living Project is to explore and develop a model of home improvement and individualised activities researched and developed by a multidisciplinary team of physicians, architects, technology specialists, and designers who visit sites together to co-develop specific home improvements and related activities.
The team has visited the homes of fifteen elders who live in Chiang Mai city. The physician evaluated their personal health issues, physical and occupational therapists evaluated their activities, while the architects, creative designers and technologists explored ways to improve their homes and the environment relevant to each case. We designed and recommended activities, living environments, home improvement solutions and the technology essential for each home.