Background: The University College of Southeast Norway has an on-going project to develop a smart house welfare system to allow older adults and people with disabilities to remain in their homes for as long as they wish in safe, dignified, living conditions.
Objectives: This article reviews reported ethical challenges to implementing smart houses for older adults.
Methods: A systematic literature review identified twenty-four articles in English, French, Spanish, and Norwegian, which were analyzed and synthesized using Hofmann's question list to investigate the reported ethical challenges.
Results: Smart houses offer a promising way to improve access to home care for older adults and people with disabilities. However, important ethical challenges arise when implementing smart houses, including cost-effectiveness, privacy, autonomy, informed consent, dignity, safety, and trust.
Conclusions: The identified ethical challenges are important to consider when developing smart house systems. Due to the limitations of smart house technology, designers and users should be mindful that smart houses can achieve a safer and more dignified life-style but cannot solve all the challenges related to ageing, disabilities, and disease. At some point, smart houses can no longer help persons as they develop needs that smart houses cannot meet.