Progressive intellectual deterioration can be considered the hallmark of dementia. In most instances, prevention strategies remain unclear and treatment methods are based around social and personal support as pharmacological modalities produce only modest effects. In the general context of European healthcare systems lack of capacity to effectively support rapidly aging populations and address in an effective manner conditions like dementia are the key challenges. Smart and well-implemented ICT solutions can improve wellbeing and mitigate physical, psychological and economical risks. The current healthcare model of removing older adults from their homes and placing them into long-term care facilities is neither financially sustainable nor is it desirable. Older adults have a strong preference for aging-in-place compared to other forms of care, such as nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Additionally, people suffering from dementia benefit from aging in environments to which they are accustomed as familiar environments can provide memory and task cues.
Family members and other informal caregivers are being increasingly depended upon long-term health-care needs of older adults with dementia. The constant pressure to meet their relative's needs for assistance and support can result in debilitating levels of stress for the caregiver. From a caregiver's perspective, decreasing the number of interactions required to complete an activity of daily living (ADL) has a direct positive impact on caregiver burden. Even small decreases in caregiver burden have been found to alleviate the prevalence of depressive symptoms in caregivers of individuals with dementia.
Most patients with dementia receive care within primary care systems and have challenging medical and psychiatric issues. Dementia is characterized by a complex interaction of cognitive, functional, behavioural and psychological symptoms that decrease the quality of life for both the patient and the caregiver. Therefore, successful management needs to be composed of interventions for both.
Although there is a vast range of companies and associations along the EU as well as ICT solutions that offer some kind of support to people with dementia, personalised content is scarce. Major ICT support for coping with behavioural and psychological changes in dementia is relatively disregarded as yet, while support for social contact can be effectively realised through new technologies.
The objective of Many-me Project is to develop a social interactive care system based on ICT assistive technology and user – centred services in order to offer dementia patients and carers innovative solutions and support to cope with the disease and live an active and meaningful life for as long as possible.
1. To offer patients in early stages of dementia a friendly and enjoyable environment supported by ICT solutions, empowering them to self-manage their condition by engaging and learning from people in a similar situation, make friends and attend support groups, test and adopt routines or techniques that help memory and cognition, undertake enjoyable activities, receive tailored medical advice as well as information which responds to their needs.
2. To provide people in the middle stages of dementia with a personalised care plan built around assistive ICT technology and involving in critical points their entire community (informal and professional carers, family, community) in order to provide a responsive system that offers them support when and if necessary to increase their safety, autonomy, and participation in social life.
3. To introduce informal carers to tailored education, information and technological support, through a Centralized Knowledge and Learning Platform and
4. To offer an innovative smart service for remote assistance, allowing carers to reduce overburden and stress and play an effective role in a resilient support network for the patients with dementia.
5. To protect the person with dementia that gets lost outside of his home and help him to go back home safely.
6. To offer professional carers a collaborative ICT system, connecting them with the informal carers and between each other, to allow a close monitoring of patient status and response to treatment, alert over changes in patient condition and potential problems, build trust and offer clear indication of carers roles and responsibilities, including contact points and procedures informal carers need to know in order to resolve specific issues.
7. To start from the pre-existing knowledge and experience at European level for the development, design, and testing of a holistic approach targeting all three layers of care services (patient to patient, patient to caregiver, caregiver to caregiver) which will result in identification of “What Works” models for patients with dementia and provide a scalable ICT solution with a clear root to market.