Helping people with mild dementia to navigate their day
The challenging aim of our three-year STREP project, which commenced in September 2006, is to breakthrough with research that addresses the needs of those with dementia, particularly those with mild dementia in Europe. At about 2% of the elderly population, this comes to around 1,900,000 people. In order to achieve our aim, this means helping people navigate through their day. This entails cognitive reinforcement and may be expressed as the social objectives of our research for the needs of people with dementia, helping people to remember, maintain social contact, perform daily life activities and enhance their feelings of safety.
There are few studies where people with dementia themselves describe their needs, but those carried out indicate the most frequently identified unmet needs are in the areas of information (on treatment, care and support, appointments), memory problems, and communication and psychological distress. A key strength of our consortium lies in the strong participative involvement of world-class medical/clinical experts with significant track records in working closely with people with dementia, to relate these needs.
On the other hand, the aim of the project is to develop solutions that help ageing people with early dementia to experience greater autonomy and feelings of empowerment, and to enjoy an enhanced quality of life.
While there is some research and development in cognitive prosthetics, there are very few relevant tools, solutions or technologies specifically for people with mild dementia. It is important to note that there exists no one solution in the market or research laboratories that proffers a solution in line with the scientific and technological objectives set out by this consortium- objectives which have been developed from academic studies that involve users and carers. However, if we split the state of the art into the four areas of remotely configurable reminding functionality; communication and interaction functionality; supportive technology for performing daily life activities; and anomaly detection, then there are solutions and tools that address to a greater or lesser extent each one of these areas.