Scenario

Maria is 83 years old. She lives with her 54-year-old daughter Giovanna, after becoming a widow a few years ago. Maria suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and has a Mini Mental State score of 14.

Maria is partially independent in Activities of Daily Living (ADL) (including eating, dressing, personal hygiene and using the toilet), but she depends on help for most of the Instrumental ADLs, such as preparing meals, housework, managing medication, using the phone etc.

Maria often wakes up during the night and wanders around the house without a purpose. A couple of times she even left home wearing only pajamas. In order avoid similar incidents, and to watch over and try to keep Maria safe, her daughter now sleeps in the same room with her.

Often during the day she engages in activities without a clear purpose (such as playing with the water tap and leaving the water running). She rarely cooks, but once she used a plastic box instead of a frying pan on the stove. This started a small fire in the house which, luckily, was extinguished by Giovanna, who is clearly over-burdened by this situation. Giovanna used to work as an economist, but after her father died, she moved into her mother’s house, to take care of her, and she lost her job. She cannot get a good night’s sleep and leaves the apartment only for grocery shopping and to clean the stairs of the building where she and Maria live.

During the night, she is forced to sleep with her mother to avoid unnoticed departures of the latter. She shows clear signs of anxiety, stress and anger towards her mother.

The technological solutions provided by Home4Dem will allow Giovanna to reduce her burden of caring. It can monitor adverse events such as water leakages, smoke and fire, absence from the bed, sudden change in her mother’s daily routine and unnoticed departures from the house.

With the self-learning algorithms included in the system, Maria and the platform will interact. The feedback system will promote her autonomy by preventing complications related to disease progression, e.g. by providing Maria and Giovanna medication reminders, monitoring Maria’s activity level and providing nutritional and lifestyle advice. Giovanna will have the chance to leave the apartment for longer periods of time in order to take care of other things, such as shopping, going to the doctor, or even starting a new part-time job.

Giovanna, on her side, will be able to sleep better at night, knowing that her mother is safe. She will receive notification only in case of concrete risks. Compliance with drug therapy, level of food intake and regularity of sleep will be monitored, as they represent the most common factors leading to the onset of behavioral disorders for people with dementia.

The professionals engaged in caring for Maria will be able to promptly monitor her health condition, thus intervening appropriately to counteract any disease-related symptoms.

This scenario, to a great extent, is based on a real life situation experience by a caregiver-person with dementia dyad included in the Up-Tech study in Italy.