Technology is increasingly being used to help people live for as long as possible in their own home.
The expanding tech research programme aims to improve care for the increasing numbers of people living with dementia.
Recent Tech Developments
- The Care Research and Technology Centre lauched.
- A project to use self-driving car tech (Lidar) to help look after people at home.
- A smartphone app to remind people with dementia how to carry out everyday tasks.
- An experiment to personalise live radio.
The aim is that sensors around the house or on the body to track signals such as heartbeat, blood pressure and body temperature, gait, brain activity and sleep.
Using AI (artificial intelligence) this information can alert familiy or carers of any risks or changes. For example illness or fall risk. Catching illness early can avoid hospital stays.
Memory and cognitive function are also being researched and monitored. This can then be used to intervene early to assist them if they are showing signs of being agitated.
Dementia also causes problems with sleep. Motion sensors in beds and sheets can track problems. Sensors can also alert if a cooker is left on or if there is liquid on the floor.
Light detection and ranging – Lidar – uses safe low-power laser pulses to build up a three-dimensional scan of objects and people moving around a room. This information can be used to spot deviations in diet, toilet habits, sleep or mobility. It could also activate an alarm if there is an emergency, such as a fall.
Sensors in the home can be better because people with dementia either forget to wear them, or just don’t want to. It also avoids privacy concerns that cameras present.
Monitoring consumption of electricity and water can alert carers if there is an unusual deviation from the normal pattern.
The Alzheimer’s Society is looking for new ways to improve the lives of people with dementia. It helps start-ups with funding from its crowdsourcing programme.
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