Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) are increasing in incidence globally. According to Statistics Canada, about 76,000 Canadians are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease each year. Additionally, New Brunswick’s population is aging at an unprecedented rate; by 2041, seniors are projected to comprise nearly a quarter of the Canadian population (Elections Canada, 2020). As our population ages, there is a clear need for more comprehensive and accessible resources specific to older adults and their caregivers. The goal of this project is to enable individuals experiencing memory loss or living with ADRD to more safely and comfortably age in place in their home and community, and to reduce feelings of stress and burden for their caregivers through the use of passive monitoring technology (PassiveAware). Access to advanced warning systems may contribute to more efficient care delivery, avoidance of crisis situations, assist in future care planning, and delay the older adults’ transition to long-term care.
What is PassiveAware Technology?
PassiveAware is a form of assistive technology that passively monitors rather than actively monitoring through devices such as cameras or audio recording. Data will be collected using non-intrusive sensor tags associated with everyday objects. Each tag will be installed on different objects to indirectly measure activities of daily living (e.g. the opening of the refrigerator door, front door, bathroom door, medicine cabinet). Caregivers will have access to a mobile and web version of PassiveAware that provides notifications for temperature, humidity, and movement from each tag. Caregivers will also receive a weekly summary of the sensor information associated with the activities of daily living. For example, if a tag was installed on a medicine cabinet, the caregiver will be able to see if medication is being accessed at appropriate times and frequency.
It is anticipated that the use of PassiveAware monitoring technology will improve the caregiving experience by reducing feelings of stress and burden. Notifications about changes in behaviour could be indicative of potential crisis situations or disease progression, and provide the caregiver with more consistent information about the person they are caring for. Ultimately, it is expected that PassiveAware will enable proactive planning and reduce the number of crisis situations, allowing the older adult to age comfortably and safely in their own home and community.
A variety of measures will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention and platform, including self report questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, as well as quantitative data from the sensors.
This project is funded by the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project. The Healthy Seniors Pilot Project is a $75 million three year agreement between the Government of New Brunswick and the Public Health Agency of Canada, jointly led by the Government of New Brunswick’s Department of Social Development and the Department of Health through the Aging Secretariat.