Smart Homes and Intelligent Neighbours to Enable Seniors


In Singapore, the number of citizens aged 65 and above is expected to increase rapidly from 440,000 in 2015 to around 900,000 in 2030. In tandem with the increasing ageing population, there is a worrying upward trend of elderly who are staying alone. The Department of Statistics (DOS) in Singapore has estimated that the number of elderly living alone will increase from 35,000 in 2012 to 83,000 in 2030; these numbers exclude the elderly who are left alone at home for most parts of the day when their family members are working.

Project SHINESeniors is a SMU-initiated effort to enable elderly Singaporeans to age-in-place, whereby the elderly can stay within the comfort of their homes and familiarity of their neighborhoods, and with minimal disruptions to their lives and activities. Through multi-disciplinary Research and Development (R&D) efforts, spanning across both technology and social behavioral sciences, SHINESeniors aims to enhance community care to support sustainable ageing-in-place. This is achieved by providing sensor-enabled homes and personalized home care for senior Singaporeans.

With a sensor-enabled home, the physical environment (such as air quality, noise level, temperature and humidity) and daily living patterns of the elderly (such as his/her mobility patterns at home, medication adherence and sleep quality) can be monitored in an unobtrusive manner, without infringing the privacy and comfort of the elderly. Through sense-making and visualization of the real-time sensor data, anomalies in the living patterns of an elderly can be detected quickly. These unusual living patterns may include prolonged non-activity or prolonged dwell time in a particular area in the home, and thus requires prompt response by the respective caregivers.

By observing and analyzing each elderly’s living patterns over time, changes in an elderly’s well-being can also be detected before the elderly’s condition deteriorates. Community caregivers can then be activated to provide personalized care and intervention, in a timely manner - especially in emergency situations such as falls or calls for help.


SHINESeniors serves as a demonstration of a large-scale, end-to-end elderly home-and-community-care in Singapore, through the dual integration of wireless sensor networks and a home care platform. The connected smart home provides reliable sensing and data delivery mechanisms, interoperates with existing devices and wireless radio technologies, and is intended to be vendor-neutral.

SMU is currently partnering with A*STAR, GoodLife! - which is a voluntary welfare organization that provides community care services, Eastern Health Alliance (EHA) and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), as part of project SHINESeniors. Currently, the project is in the second year of its three year span. SMU is also working in close collaboration with various government agencies such as the Ministry of Health (MOH), Housing and Development Board (HDB), and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in Singapore.

Project SHINESeniors is based on research/work supported by the Singapore Ministry of National Development and National Research Foundation under L2 NIC Award No. L2NICCFP1-2013-5. 

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