It is estimated that by 2030, the number of people living with dementia will be about 75 million. Often, dementia patients are physically healthy and have a lifestyle which is not different from others. They have similar needs in respect to health and well-being and are capable of carrying out daily tasks. The problem arises when, because of the decline in their brain health, they forget to initiate or engage in these activities. This places an additional responsibility on care professionals and informal carers to remind their patients to perform basic, yet vital tasks, such as taking medicine, eating on time or socialising.
An eHealth system, titled eWare, promises to solve this problem by combining sensor systems with social robotics. It works by integrating a sensor network that monitors the daily activities of the person with dementia with a social robot that will then provide context-relevant messages. The messages can, for example, remind people with dementia to perform the activities that they want and need to perform, but forgot due to memory decline.
The eWare system is based on two eHealth solutions already existing on the market. Life-style monitoring and Passive Infrared sensors (PIR) which are featured in door contact sensors to monitor the activities of older people living alone at home. The combination of the two solutions to provide suggestions and feedback that are specific to daily activities can help improve the quality of life for people with dementia and alleviate the stress on their caregivers.
The project titled, “Social Robot and Sensor Network in Support of Activity of Daily Living for People with Dementia” is a collaboration between Vilans and Università Politecnica delle Marche (UNIVPM), Istituto Nazionale di Riposo e Cura per Anziani (INRCA), Tinybots, Sensara, JEF, and Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
The next step is to develop an eWare II to further enhance the system and support eWare to go to market. eWare needs approximately EUR 300.000 to finalise the combined system.