DayGuide introduces a novel, ICT-based system for supporting older adults in their activities of daily
living, enabling them to live as independently as possible for as long as possible.
Persons with cognitive impairment experience various challenges that complicate their independent functioning in daily life. Cognitive deficits manifest themselves in the early phases most of all in the form of occasional “memory lapses”. As the impairment progresses the frequency of these incidenc-es increases. They start to influence daily functioning and significant mistakes occur. The person may for example forget to lock the door when leaving the house, she/he may forget to turn off the stove, or forget names and telephone numbers. Additionally, persons become anxious about forgetting, thus increasing the deficit and setting off a downward spiral. In such a situation, the person may lose self-esteem and become depressed and hopeless. The situation of the person with cognitive deficit also influences an entire family system upsetting spouses and child caregivers. Since the person’s ability to perform a task is still intact and only remembering to do it is impaired, a reminding system may effectively prevent the loss of functioning of persons with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and begin-ning dementia. As the person her-/himself does perform a task independently, the caregiver should not take over a function too early which would further promote functional loss.
Therefore, providing a reminding system could lead to increased independent functioning for a longer period of time, increase the feeling of competence, support self-esteem and prevent depression. Con-sidering the long duration especially of these early phases of MCI and dementia could contribute sig-nificantly to the goal of preventing early institutionalization, thus saving substantial cost.
A great deal of the above mentioned problems could be alleviated by specific information, reminders or access to communication means at the right place, in the right way and at the right time. The infor-mation and communication technologies used by DayGuide will provide such guidance. Thereby, in-dependent living is enabled without substantial external support.
Concretely, DayGuide services include the following major functions:
A Novel service: Location-specific, dedicated reminders and guidance
Guidance is provided at selected locations inside the home via messages displayed on a smartphone worn by the person, displayed on a tablet or other PC screens, and/or expressed via voice output if needed by the individual. Messages are automatically triggered by Bluetooth beacons fixed at these locations. The presence of the person near such points like entrance door, stove, refrigerator, win-dow, bed or bathroom is detected by the Bluetooth receiver in the mobile. Thereby, messages related to place, time and other conditions are appropriately generated. The system can be individually con-figured, according to the specific needs of the person. Examples of such messages are reminders (e.g., entrance door: “please lock the door and take the key with you”), information (e.g., about dates or events stored in the diary) or guidance (e.g., on cooking, dressing, shopping). Messages can also be changed or even ad hoc activated by a system manager (e.g. one family member) for the person. To make the messages meaningful, a logic engine running on the smartphone decides upon applica-bility of the various pre-set messages, depending on time of the day, date, events and appointments stored in the diary, outside weather conditions, and any other condition or requirement to be consid-ered.
B Safe social platform
The value of the DayGuide services is further enhanced by integrating it in a service platform that many persons are used to utilise. Therefore, a Web-based social platform complements the DayGuide services to provide the persons with media access within a secure, closed network that we call “family”. It includes calendar, story albums and other serious games, and chat within the family. A special tool allows for requesting and organising external assistance: The person can post a require-ment via her/his terminal. DayGuide sends SMS messages to the family members asking for their comment and response. Based on the feedback, the process management tool decides and organis-es assistance. The person´s doctors and/or social workers can be family members, proving the per-son with direct access to psychological and medical consultation.
For singles, the DayGuide portal is operated by a manager who can be a family member or caregiver. The DayGuide family manager disposes all messages on the guiding terminal(s) and administers the network participants. The DayGuide system can also be beneficial for couples where one person has cognitive disabilities, but the partner does not. In such a case, this partner can be the manager.