How Smart TV technology can help with senior home care?

Revolutionary transformation in our aging experience

Yuneui (Yunnie) Choi
6 min readAug 26, 2018

TV is an important component of Senior’s independent life

Today’s Senior are more independently, proactively and live longer than before. Also my grandmother Panju was really active senior before she diagnosed with dementia. She went to the church, swim every morning, exercise a lot, enjoy cooking, gardening, having a talk with her friends and enjoy watching TV.

In the article ‘TV for seniors’ highlighted some advantages of age-in-place without making any changes. 1. Being less expensive 2. Retain freedom and dignity. 3. Enable them to remain in contact with friends, neighbours and family member. Also, as a result, they can improve their quality of life. (Independa, Inc., 2015)

Also, active participation in media consumption is an important part of the lives of the elderly. Recent studies showed that music, films and tv are key components to their well-being. (Chotiner, 2016) And Most of the senior citizens rely on television for entertainment, access the weather, stay on top of the news and be alerted of any emergencies. (Waxman, 2017)

Here are some experience about using smart TV as a senior citizen.

“TV is an important window to the world and a basis for shared experience for seniors…We found that the primary gratifications the aging audience sought from media, including TV, were a sense of being more involved in the world, entertainment, acquiring information and passing time.” — Kathaleen Reid

Digital generation is not just kids anymore.

Slowly but surely, digital consumers are taking over the coveted media demographics. These means remains opportunities for adults (65+) are shifting to the digital generation. Then, which digital product is most familiar with senior citizens? In the report ‘Adults’ media use and attitudes’ by Ofcom asked elderly people to say, out of all the devices they use, which single device they would miss the most if it were taken away.

Mobile phones are the most-missed media device among all adults, particularly younger adults, but TV is still most missed among the over-55s.

Currently, over 65+people highly loved TV set compared to other media devices. Then, how about Smart TV? Based on the research, by 2019, more than 50% of TV households in Japan, the US, the UK, France and Germany will have Smart TVs, according to IHS.(Correspondent, 2016)

Also, the age group of Smart TV owners’ percentages is quite similar, and they take advantage of the internet connection of their TV. In a nutshell, the penetration of Smart TV is increasing, and also adults can use its features very well.

The Use of Smart TV as a Key Element of Home care

And Independa article also said about an opportunity of Smart TV as home care. Because, most of the older adults are facing some health problems, but, studies have shown they recover much more quickly at home than in nursing facilities. Here is the point that thinks about future home care, we can make it easier and more reliable with technologies. (Independa, Inc., 2015)

What if define TV as the central element of the care service for the older adults at their own homes?

When we think about our common living room, TV is always at the centre of the living room. This device is the favourite device among older adults, simple-to-use device and they don’t need to be trained to use it. (, n.d.)

Here’s the strength of using Smart TV for Home caring
1. Smart TV is easy to be connected with other digital devices such as Smartphone and Tablets. Also, other secondary peripherals like Play station, Wii and Kinect for certain services.
2. It can suggest an easy way of keeping in touch with their friends, family, caregivers and other people around them. (for non-smartphone users)
3. Smart TV can be remotely controlled by caregivers or family members.
4. Users don’t need to buy a new product, they can just install the system in the original TV.

Independa’ is one example of a Smart TV platform designed for caring elderly people. This service’s key digital element is TV and it can support caregivers by assisting them in making remote care monitoring. (Independa, Inc., 2015) It provides useful functions to senior users and their caregiver for remote caring such as medicine reminder, photo sharing, set alerts, view wellness dashboard, video chat, call button and messages.

Meet Independa’s New SmartTV and iOS Application, Angela at CES 2015

Easy way for a simple to use TV

Smart TV’s remote controller has many functions and buttons. This will make elderly users feel difficult and uncomfortable to use. Mostly, they use one red button to turn-on and turn-off the TV and use volume buttons and channel buttons. Other buttons are not usually used by elders.

Smart TV’s Remote Controller

Smarter TV Experience: Samsung’s ‘One Remote’ control and Voice Recognition
Its remote control is a simple interface with one home button that controls all functions and it also can be controlled by voice recognition. I think these functions can be applied when we use the TV as a key element of elderly home care. Especially, most of the seniors will welcome one-home-button interface, definitely.

The One Smart Remote You’ll (Probably) Ever Need /
This video show the power of ‘One Remote’ control

However, in the article ‘Samsung opts for smarter smart TV experience’ by Cho Mu-Hyun, noticed that most of elderly never use voice command. They wish their TVs would know what they are saying better. (Mu-Hyun, 2017) And it can be improved when voice recognition can understand and conduct various commands of users. Current technology allows customers to say more intuitive commands, such as ‘sports channel’ and ‘recommend me a similar movie to Titanic’. When seniors feel more comfortable with voice recognition, they can use their Smart TV easier and wider.

And here are guidelines for senior-friendly remotes. (Chotiner, 2016)
1. Universal remotes can control some different media channels including TVs and cable boxes, disk players and DVRs.
2. Voice commands allow poor hand-eye coordination to control the devices they want to use easily.
3. Provide a logical and easily understood layout and reduce the complexity.
4. Provide convenient access to essential design features such as captions, sign language, text size and colours.

Independa, Inc. (2015). TV for Seniors: Revolutionary technology transforms aging. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Aug. 2018]. (2016). [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Aug. 2018].

Chotiner, M. (2016). Easy-for-elders smart entertainment system controls. [online] McKnight’s. Available at: [Accessed 25 Aug. 2018].

Waxman, D. (2017). Are we Cord Cutting TV Away from Seniors with Dementia?. [online] RecallCue Connected Day Clock For Dementia. Available at: [Accessed 25 Aug. 2018]. (n.d.). The Project | SENIOR-TV. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2018].

Mu-Hyun, C. (2017). Samsung opts for smarter smart TV experience | ZDNet. [online] ZDNet. Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2018].

Correspondent, B. (2016). Strong smart TV growth in Japan, US and Europe. [online] Broadband TV News. Available at: [Accessed 26 Aug. 2018].



Yuneui (Yunnie) Choi

I’m a service experience designer who loves innovative technology, human-centred goodness and collaborative work. Currently based in Seoul, South Korea.