A variety of emerging technologies have the potential to help people with dementia maintain their social circle and family contacts. “Technology has the potential to help preserve independence, or at least maintain it, for many, many more years than is currently possible,” says Duke University’s Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy. “Ultimately we want nursing [communities] to disappear. We want people to live peacefully in their own home.” Products currently available include remote-home-surveillance systems that enable basic monitoring of persons using a mobile phone. For example, wrist-worn motion detectors and global-positioning system devices can help track a person’s in-home activities, and could potentially help with detecting falls or pinpoint a person who wanders out and becomes lost. Meanwhile, University of Montreal Professor Nathalie Bier’s team is designing smart homes by outfitting residences with off-the-shelf Z-wave wireless sensors in nearly invisible locations. Bier’s group also is working on a smart pillbox that can reveal whether someone is taking their medication. “It’s really trying to provide the right service for the right person at the right time,” Bier says. Tablet computers are another product of interest, with Bier’s team conducting experiments which suggest people with dementia can use tablets to adhere to schedules and orient themselves to the correct date. | Read More