Technology in the care of people with dementia


The populations in the majority of the countries in the world are ageing. Since old age is the most common risk factor for dementia, the proportion of people diagnosed with dementia will rise the up-coming years. Dementia is a syndrome characterized by progressive decline in cortical functions, which over time diminishes several functions such as memory, orientation, thinking, comprehension, calculation, language and judgement.

The use of technology in its different forms is rapidly increasing worldwide, and has the potential to be an effective way of delivering care and support for people living with dementia. In recent years, robots, the internet and multi-media devices start to be an integrated part of dementia care. This report aims at highlight the significance of relations and support through different forms of technology delivered by carers in order for people with dementia to sustain a sense of agency and self throughout the process of the disease. To give an overview of the area of technology resources in the care of dementia databases and web pages have been sought for recent research and examples of ′best practice‵.

The overview presents briefly following, partly overlapping, areas of technology in dementia; 1) Assistive technology, 2) Social robots, 3) Multi-Media, and 4) Prompting. In the first area we find for example tracking technology, which means that the person with dementia is wearing a device that notify its position; easy-to-use videophones; aids that reminds about upcoming activities and social contacts; and simple remote controls. The second area deals with social robots, which are mainly addressing the needs of people living in care homes and these robots come in different form, i.e. animal-like or more human-like robots. The third area gives examples of different multi-media devices usually delivered via a tablet that have the potential for supporting the delivery of for example reminiscence therapy or enable people living with dementia to experience art. Finally, the fourth area is about prompting self-care tasks, which can be delivered via robots that provide stepwise prompting to execute activities in the home.

Because of the expected increase in the number people living with dementia, the unlikelihood of a cure in the near future, and the rising cost of care, there is a growing need for effective carer interventions to adequately support the person living with dementia.

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