How does ICT4Life extend elderly people’s autonomy?

//How does ICT4Life extend elderly people’s autonomy?
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ICT4Life project main ambition is to increase the quality of life and the autonomy of individuals with early or intermediate stage cognitive impairment by developing a range of ICT-based services. These services are intended to cover several specific needs of people affected by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as other forms of dementia.

Therefore, two questions arise:

  1. What specific needs are going to be covered and how?
  2. How will ICT4Life system reach such ambition?

The answer to these questions requires a complete review of the activities performed as part of the project.

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Figure 1. Example of a cognitive game in SmartTV

1 ) ICT4Life focus on end-users’ needs

The tools currently being developed by the ICT4Life Consortium have been designed to respond to specific needs of the end-users targeted (patients, caregivers and health professionals). These include: the need for fluid communication flows between patients and the people supporting them, exercises that would maintain and increase the patients’ cognitive skills, storing and analysing relevant health data and detecting dangerous or abnormal situations at the patient’s home. Starting from a preliminary hypothesis, the following servic  es have been designed to respond to any of the needs described above:

  • The Internet Support Palette is being developed to provide stimulus to patients via social interaction. This service includes the set of tools to allow continuous communication between patients, encouraging them to participate and share experiences.
  • Cognitive games (Figure 1) play an important role as stimulus to maintain and increase cognitive skills in patients by customizing the diverse games to the patients levels therefore strengthen their abilities.
  • ICT4Life platform stores the relevant information in the Electronic Health Record (EHR), as well as provides recommendations to ICT4Life stakeholders.
  • Low-Level Subsystem provide the required tools to detect physical behaviours that require immediate action/notification to involved partners.

Patients, caregivers and health professionals will help ICT4Life team to take the most of these services as described in the following session.

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Figure 2. ICT4Life mobile app

2) Practical approach to achieve ICT4Life objectives

Currently, multi-disciplinary teams are testing the technologies with end-users in Madrid (lead by APM), Paris (lead by E-Senior) and Pécs (lead by University of Pécs), as showed in this video. In these experiments, several components such as ICT4Life smartphone app (Figure 2), SmartTV app and Low-Level multi-sensor components are being used by real-patients. Further details on the Low-Level multi-sensor components can be found in our previous post called: “Use of sensors for new integrated care services.” [3].

The feedback received in this round of testing sessions will help to debug some functionalities as well as modify/create/delete some others.

The main ICT4Life modules under test are:

  1. The smartphone main functionalities (Figure 2), including:
    • Warning notification services (check/arrange dates..)
    • Training for different actors (patients, caregivers…)
    • Social interaction
  2. the SmartTV application, providing:
    • Cognitive stimulus through memory games: Bingo, Guess Who…
    • Warning notification service
  3. the Low-level subsystem (Figure 3), including:
    • The deployment of the entire set of ICT4Life sensors for active monitoring
    • The detection of Abnormal Events associated to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

Related information of early tests performed can be found in our previous post: ”Mock-ups: a first step towards ICT4Life system”[2].

Of course, some important aspects in terms of privacy and potential legal issues are considered by the ICT4Life consortium. These aspects were carefully analysed and information is being continuously reported in the ICT4Life Research Book.

Finally, the set of sensors that has been developed in Madrid at APM is twofold. On the one hand, volunteers are testing the tools and providing useful feedback in terms of usability, functionalities and even aesthetic aspects. On the other hand, data gathered is being provided to the rest of partners in order to training machine-learning algorithms in the detection of Abnormal Events. Further details on the Abnormal behaviour detection process can be found on our previous blog post called “Abnormal Behaviour Detection in Ambient Assisted Living”[1].

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Figure 3. Low-Level subsystem deployed at Asociación Parkinson Madrid APM

As a conclusion, ICT4Life team is making important steps forward in the detection of both physical and behavioural events for warning and fast response as well as in empowering the cognitive activity of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients. The input provided by patients’, caregivers and health professionals during the testing session is being of particular importance to achieve ICT4Life project objectives.

 

[1] Abnormal Behavior Detection in Ambient Assisted Living.
Online http://www.ict4life.eu/?p=1916&lang=es

[2] Mock-ups: a first step towards ICT4Life system.
Online http://www.ict4life.eu/?p=1696&lang=es

[3] Use of sensors for new integrated care services.
Online http://www.ict4life.eu/?p=1778&lang=es

Authors:

Gustavo Hernández

Alberto Belmonte Hernández

Grupo de Aplicación de Telecomunicaciones Visuales (@Gatv_ETSIT)
Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Telecomunicación.
Universidad Politecnica de Madrid

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