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Summary

People with dementia tend to become inactive. Especially after changing to a different environment this becomes apparent. This inactiveness is one of the sources of rapid deterioration of their cognitive condition which then turns into a negative spiral. Walking, exercising and daily routines are a way to break this spiral. But they mean also a risk of getting lost, falling and feeling uncertain what to do next. Our project takes telecare for dementia to the next level. It will ask people to make choices for the day, help them to achieve the goals and alert their partner or (professional) carer only to what's left to do. While they are doing their daily program it keeps them safeguarded in their own house or garden and monitors them even outside these perimeters. If signs of their behaviour indicate a change in their condition it will alert the medical staff to this changes so early interventions can prevent relapses.

The whole system is designed to keep the person with dementia in control of their own life and choices and support their partner or informal carer and also their professional carers in choosing their part in the care for the patient.

The exiting part of this idea is that it requires no new hardware. It is all about adding new functions to and making better use of existing technology. The main leap is to not look at home automation and telecare from a restrictive point of view, but as a tool, to give a person with dementia control and choice over their daily life. To give an informal carer (mostly the partner) choice in how to support his loved one and what tasks to leave to others.

It will require programming of sensors and interfaces to the needs of the project. The stimulating AV materials must be designed and produced. Different sensor technologies have to be combined to detect, identify and measure the quality, intensity and direction of movements. Care programmes must be rewritten in the form of a list, a menu, to choose from on a daily basis. Then carefully designed pilots must be carried out to test the effectiveness of the different interventions but also of the system as a whole. This software can then be sold together with already existing techniques.

Because we are building systems to be put in peoples homes as well as in care facilities the market is very extensive and rapid growing in the near future. We are looking at 18 months of development, 18 months of field testing in several pilots in different countries. After that the time to market will be less than three years.