Sensor monitoring to measure and support daily functioning for independently living older people: a systematic review and road map for further development

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013 Dec;61(12):2219-2227. doi: 10.1111/jgs.12563.


Objectives: To study sensor monitoring (use of a sensor network placed in the home environment to observe individuals' daily functioning (activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living)) as a method to measure and support daily functioning for older people living independently at home.

Design: Systematic review.

Setting: Participants' homes.

Participants: Community-dwelling individuals aged 65 and older.

Measurements: A systematic search in PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, INSPEC, and The Cochrane Library was performed for articles published between 2000 and October 2012. All study designs, studies that described the use of wireless sensor monitoring to measure or support daily functioning for independently living older people, studies that included community-dwelling individuals aged 65 and older, and studies that focused on daily functioning as a primary outcome measure were included.

Results: Seventeen articles met the inclusion criteria. Nine studies used sensor monitoring solely as a method for measuring daily functioning and detecting changes in daily functioning. These studies focused on the technical investigation of the sensor monitoring method used. The other studies investigated clinical applications in daily practice. The sensor data could enable healthcare professionals to detect alert conditions and periods of decline and could enable earlier intervention, although limited evidence of the effect of interventions was found in these studies because of a lack of high methodological quality.

Conclusion: Studies on the effectiveness of sensor monitoring to support people in daily functioning remain scarce. A road map for further development is proposed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Humans
  • Independent Living*
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory / methods*
  • Wireless Technology*