HomeAssist 500 -- Populational Study

Project duration: 2015-2017


HomeAssist is an assisted living platform developed by the Phoenix research group at Inria. This platform has been applied to the domain of assisted living for the past two years. From the start, computer scientists and researchers in Ageing and Occupational Therapy have conducted this research effort in close collaboration with the stakeholders of aging in place. An initial set of applications has been developed, relying on a basic set of entities (sensors, actuators and web services). HomeAssist has been deployed in the homes of 24 older adults (matched with 24 control counterparts not equipped) and is currently being assessed. Although ongoing, the preliminary results of this field study show that the platform is well adopted (highly accepted and usable) by the older adults and their families or caregivers. Additionally, benefits from HomeAssist intervention have been demonstrated in terms of well-being, autonomy as well as quality of life (psychological health).

A Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) of HomeAssist

This RTC will be conducted with older adults, ranging from autonomous to mildly cognitively impaired  (e.g., cognitive or physical frailty) Alzheimer disease (AD) in its early stage). The RCT is considered as the gold standard of a true experimental design. Furthermore, it provides strong evidence for causal relationships, as well as the ability to generalize the results to people outside the study's sample. The study design will thus be a single-blinded RCT. It will include up to 500 participants, matched with non-equipped participants. The HomeAssist intervention will involve monitoring as well as compensation services to support independent living in place. The duration of the HomeAssist intervention is of 12 months. This duration is based on results from previous pilot studies (Reijnders et al., 2013).

Expected Impact on Elderly Care

Prolonging ageing in place

Our 12-month field study of a large group of participants, combined with a control group, will give a statistical basis to assess the efficacy of our platform to prolong ageing in place for a range of older adults, including participants with mild cognitive impairment. Functional status and nursing needs will be assessed through statistical analyses over the duration of the field study. Subjective and objective measures will be done using such tools as the Multilevel Assessment Instrument or Lawton Scale and the Time-Based IADL. These traditional assessments will be completed by longitudinal in situ actimetric data recorded at home via HomeAssist, for measuring the actual IADL performance.

Secondary criteria of technology efficacy will also be studied, including general cognitive status, memory and executive functioning.

Improving well-being

Socialization activities have proven to be a key factor in well-being. To promote socialization activities, our platform offers a variety of services ranging from the main tablet, running a digital picture frame connected to online albums, to a simplified email client, allowing responses to be voice-recorded, instead of typed on a keyboard. Our platform also supports autonomous realization of daily tasks, which is known to be related to older adult well-being. Additionally, to improve well-being, applications support self-regulation and self-determination in helping the users to conform to their own daily routines via sensor-based activity monitoring and assistive supports (e.g., activity reminders or prompters). Specific assessment tools will be used to measure the well-being and the self-efficacy of the participants over the duration of the study.

Improving the efficiency of the caregiving environment

The actions of the caregiving environment are often limited or impeded by the lack of a proxy at the older adult's home. Such a proxy is needed for a number of actions, including mutualizing the planning of care services, gathering information on older adult activities, reminding of activities and appointments, monitoring potentially unsafe activities and situations. Our online catalog already offers applications materializing a caregiving proxy; the HomeAssist project will expand this catalog with an emphasis on older adults with cognitive impairment. Questionnaires will be administered to caregivers to assess the reassurance impact of our platform in their daily delivery of services (e.g., feeling of burden assessment, Psychological health of caregivers).

Technology Transfer

An outcome of the HomeAssist-500 project is the validation of the DiaSuiteBox technology as a platform for assisted living. The project will provide a solid basis for the creation of a startup to market the technology. In particular, the following factors will be key measures of the readiness and potential of DiaSuiteBox: diversity of users participating in our field study, range of applications developed, variety of devices utilized, deployment in 500 homes for a period of 12 months. The questionnaires administered to the participants will be valuable information for elaborating marketing strategies for the DiaSuiteBox technology. Inria, which owns the intellectual property of DiaSuiteBox, is committed to providing the Inria Phoenix group with support to turn this technology into a marketable product.



External Collaborators

  • Hélène Amieva, Epidemiology and Neuropsychology of Brain Aging, ISPED, University of Bordeaux
  • Valérie Berga, Epidemiology and Neuropsychology of Brain Aging, ISPED, University of Bordeaux
  • Laetitia Ruffier, Epidemiology and Neuropsychology of Brain Aging, ISPED, University of Bordeaux
  • Nathalie Bier, CRIUGM, University of Montreal, Canada


  • CARSAT, public pension fund
  • European Regional Development Funds (ERDF)
  • Aquitaine Province
  • Réunica, Retirement Mutual Company
  • Conseil Département de Gironde
  • RPDAD / UDCCAS Gironde
  • CNSA