Dementia is a disease that will greatly affect the elderly and those who provide services to them in the years to come. It is expected that the number of people with dementia will double by 2050. To meet this future, innovative technological solutions are now being researched that can help meet this challenge.
The eWARE project is approved and funded by the European organization AAL (Active Assisted Living) program, of which the Research Council is a member. Through eWARE, we have developed a welfare technology solution where we combine sensors for lifestyle monitoring and calendar functionality in interaction with a robot. The solution includes users with dementia, their relatives and care staff in the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland and Norway.
The sensor solution detects abnormal or unwanted behavior and starts a dialogue between user and robot where relevant, or alerts relatives or caregivers where this is helpful to the user.
The solution can, for example, help the user to remember meals, medicines and when to visit. It can also detect if the user goes to the toilet more / less than usual and if the sleep pattern changes. This may give indications that a disease or disorder is developing so that preventive measures can be implemented.
The project has tested the technological solution and researched the interaction between user, robot, relatives and health personnel to ensure the greatest possible perceived benefit.
The next steps are to pursue our goal of marketing the solution on the European market.
The primary target groups in eWare are people with dementia in the mild to middle stage of dementia living alone at home, and their (in)formal carers. The secondary end-users will be care organisations directly being in contact with a primary end-user, such as municipalites, care organisations and their representatives. Representatives of these institutions in the end-user organization countries (The Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, and Norway) will be involved in providing feedback along development and trial stages. The tertiary end-users consist of branche organizations for home care, client organizations, insurance companies, and regional and national governments.
eWARE addresses the following most pressing problems for informal carers: overburdening and a lack of communication with professional carers. With respect to overburdening it is validated in practice that the communication between informal and professional carer improves when they both use the lifestyle monitoring as an instrument for getting an insight in therecent activity or behavior status of the person with dementia. The developments in eWARE will provide usable results, not only for the (commercial) partners involved, but also for the other developers & distributors of lifestyle monitoring, as well as for developers & distributors of technology for the wellbeing of people with dementia in general.
eWARE will enhance and integrate lifestyle monitoring and robotics to support wellbeing and dignity of people with dementia and their informal carers and supports large scale implementation of AAL technologies and services. The testing of the eWARE eco-system will take place in four countries, including The Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, and Norway, with a total of 300 end-users of which 100 persons with dementia, 100 informal carers, and at least 100 district nurses. In addition,eWARE has significant involvement of industry and other business partners to successfully develop and market eWARE.
AAL-Active and Assisted Living Research and Development Programme