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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The Story Of Uncle Aw

The population is ageing everywhere, including Singapore. The number of elderly citizens aged 65 above in Singapore is expected to double from 440,000 in 2015, to 900,000 by 2030. Along with this “Silver Tsunami” is the upward trend of the number of elderly who are living alone – which is estimated to increase from 35,000 in 2012 to 83,000 by 2030. Elderly who are staying alone are at higher risk of social isolation and tend to have poor access to healthcare.  Watch the video of Uncle Aw, one of our elderly participants in the SHINESeniors research programme led by SMU-TCS iCity Lab, who will share with you a part of his life story.  So how can technology be used to help our seniors live independently in the community whilst respecting their privacy?

The Story Of Volunteer Xia Jia

Recent years have witnessed the emergence of ageing-in-place, an ageing paradigm that is harmonious with the aspirations of elderly to age gracefully, safely and comfortably in the community that they live in, and have access to a range of aged care facilities and services that will facilitate active ageing-in-place.  To support the needs and wants of the elderly and to enable them to age-in-place, government initiated schemes and elderly-care resources at all levels - individual, community and city – need to be in place. However, the old-age support in Singapore will reduce to 2:1 by 2030.  There is a persistent shortage of available care service providers and volunteer resources from the community. Watch the story of Xia Jie, a senior  So how can technology be used to support community care providers in providing personalised care for seniors who are living alone? 

Holistic Solutions

The multidimensional nature of the ageing problem calls for a comprehensive approach to ensure that various aspects of the elderly’s life are considered in the design of technological solutions and the formulation of care and intervention processes. This will ensure that the dignity and quality of life of the elderly is maintained, while improving the efficacy and effectiveness of the aged care ecosystem. We therefore envisage a holistic and personalized care model, whereby the needs and aspirations of elderly are given utmost attention, enabled by technologies that understands and respect the uniqueness of every individual elderly.  The SHINESeniors project helps streamline community care services using technology. This has resulted in better care delivery and personalisation. Our project seeks to improve the well-being and happiness of senior Singaporeans. 



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Last updated on 14 May 2019 .